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Right on Crime | April 28, 2016
Nebraska is the most recent state to require a criminal conviction before law enforcement can forfeit someone’s property. A thorough explanation of civil asset forfeiture, as well as specifics of the bill can be found here.
Right on Crime signatory Brad Cates, a former New Mexico legislature who supported similar legislation in New Mexico last year and who is the former director of the Director of Office of Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering, Criminal Division, at the US Department of Jusitce offered his take:
“In the short one year since New Mexico led the way by abolishing civil asset forfeiture, eight other states have followed suit. With polls indicating that almost 80% of Americans disapprove of law enforcement “taking peoples things” without a criminal conviction, can expect to see another 15 or 20 states take action this year…
As officers of the courts, prosecutors and police are held to a high standard to avoid even an appearance of impropriety. When the same people who take your stuff without an arrest or conviction, then in turn keep the goodies to augment their own office budget, the process just doesn’t pass the smell test.”
Nebraska becomes the 10th state to require a criminal conviction prior to allowing the state to forfeit an individual’s property suspected of being involved in a crime.