United States v. Batato

Brief of Amici Curiae for the Cato Institute, Institute for Justice, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Claimants-Appellants.

Brief filed: 07/08/2015


United States v. Batato

4th Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 15-1360

Prior Decision

Case below 2015 WL 140747 (E.D. Va., Mar. 25, 2015) (No. 14-CV-00969).


Section 2466 unconstitutionally and dangerously strips due process rights from claimants whom the government has haled into court. The right to be heard is a “root requirement” of due process that cannot be denied by statute. Due process requires the right to defend against government-initiated forfeiture proceedings. Courts must pay special attention to situations where, as here, the government is the beneficiary of the denial of due process rights. There are no valid countervailing considerations that justify stripping claimants of due process rights in a forfeiture proceeding. 

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Ilya Shapiro, Cato Institute, Washington, DC; Thomas K. Maher, NACDL, Durham, NC.