Washington, D.C. – Today, Governor Terry Branstad sided with Iowa property owners by signing civil asset forfeiture reforms into law. Branstad strengthened property protections for Iowans by signing legislation requiring the government to 1) secure a criminal conviction for forfeiture of property below $5,000 and 2) present greater evidence for forfeitures above that amount. The legislation also shifts the burden of proof in the forfeiture proceeding from the property owner to the government. The U.S. Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the criminal justice system in Iowa and across the country, applauded the step forward.
Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “Civil asset forfeiture reform passed the legislature with near unanimous support, a true testament to the strong bipartisan coalition behind strengthening property rights. By signing this legislation, Governor Branstad takes Iowa one step closer to ensuring the government cannot take a person’s property without appropriate due process of law. This bill would never have made it to the Governor’s desk without the commitment of Senator Charles Schneider and Representative Greg Heartsill, and we look forward to working with them and all Iowa lawmakers toward stronger protections for Iowa property owners in the future.”