On this Constitution Monday it seems only fitting that we discuss civil asset forfeiture. Numerous states are being proactive in protecting the property rights of people who have not committed a crime.
According to an article published by FreedomWorks, “In most states, law enforcement does not need to arrest, formally charge, or even convict some before taking permanent possession of their property. Some states, though, have established a criminal conviction as a prerequisite to forfeiture. Those states include New Mexico and Montana, both of which, just last year, passed this essential property rights protection for innocent owners. While a criminal conviction would not be required in Florida under SB 1044, the evidentiary standard it sets -- `proof beyond a reasonable doubt’ – is the same the government needs to secure a conviction.”
Besides action in Florida, Montana, and New Mexico to force the government to stop taking private property of innocent people, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Virginia, and Wyoming are also involved determining what they should do, passing bills, and having them signed by governors. Where does your state stand on civil asset forfeiture?