Progress on Asset Forfeiture

Fix Forfeiture in the States

  • Maryland’s legislature passed asset forfeiture reforms that removed possession as a reason forfeiture can be initiated, improved the notice and receipt requirements when property is seized, limited equitable sharing, and expanded reporting requirements. USJAN worked with state Sen. Michael Hough on this legislation and we expect Gov. Hogan to sign this bill shortly.
  • USJAN secured the support of the Michigan Association of Police Organizations and built a state-based coalition to pass reforms HB 4499, 4500, 4503, 4504, 4505, 4506, and 4507 that improve transparency, reporting and oversight for forfeited property. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the measures into law in October 2015.

Other State Asset Forfeiture Reform Activity in 2016

  • Florida’s legislature unanimously passed, and the Governor signed into law, legislation that requires an arrest before a forfeiture can become final, proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the property is connected to criminal activity, and dramatically expands reporting into the use of forfeiture proceeds.
  • Legislation was signed into law in Wyoming to make modest reforms to forfeiture practices, including better oversight, attorneys’ fees practices, and protections for third party owners.
  • Virginia’s governor signed a bill that raises the evidentiary requirement prior to forfeiture to clear and convincing evidence.