4.21.853 Drugs—Forfeiture, 21 U.S.C. § 853 See Statute

In light of your verdict that [defendant] is guilty of the [drug crime], you must now also decide whether [he/she] should surrender to the government [his/her] ownership interest in certain property as a penalty for committing that crime. We call this “forfeiture.”

On this charge, federal law provides that the government is entitled to forfeiture, if it proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the property in question was proceeds of the crime or derived from proceeds of the crime.

Note that this is a different standard of proof than you have used for the [drug crime] charges. A “preponderance of the evidence” means an amount of evidence that persuades you that something is more likely true than not true. It is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Proceeds” are any property that [defendant] obtained, directly or indirectly, as the result of the crime.

If the government proves that property was acquired by [defendant] during the period of the [drug crime] or within a reasonable time after such period and there was no likely source other than the [drug crime] for the property, you may presume that the property is proceeds or traceable to the proceeds of the [drug crime]. You may presume this even if the government has presented no direct evidence to trace the property to drug proceeds, but you are not required to make this presumption. [Defendant] may present evidence to rebut this presumption, but [he/she] is not required to present any evidence.

While deliberating, you may consider any evidence admitted during the trial. However, you must not reexamine your previous determination regarding [defendant]’s guilt of the [drug crime]. All of my previous instructions concerning consideration of the evidence, the credibility of witnesses, your duty to deliberate together and to base your verdict solely on the evidence without prejudice, bias or sympathy, and the requirement of unanimity apply here as well.

On the verdict form, I have listed the various items that the government claims [defendant] should forfeit. You must indicate which, if any, [defendant] shall forfeit.

Do not concern yourselves with claims that others may have to the property. That is for the judge to determine later.

Comment(s)

(1) This forfeiture instruction can be used for most drug offenses. 21 U.S.C. § 853(a).