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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Law - "Minnesota Now Requires A Criminal Conviction Before People Can Lose Their Property To Forfeiture"

From Forbes, an op/ed by contributor Nick Sililla that begins:

In a big win for property rights and due process, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill yesterday to curb an abusive—and little known—police practice called civil forfeiture. Unlike criminal forfeiture, under civil forfeiture someone does not have to be convicted of a crime, or even charged with one, to permanently lose his or her cash, car or home.

The newly signed legislation, SF 874, corrects that injustice. Now the government can only take property if it obtains a criminal conviction or its equivalent, like if a property owner pleads guilty to a crime or becomes an informant. The bill also shifts the burden of proof onto the government, where it rightfully belongs. Previously, if owners wanted to get their property back, they had to prove their property was not the instrument or proceeds of the charged drug crime. In other words, owners had to prove a negative in civil court. Being acquitted of the drug charge in criminal court did not matter to the forfeiture case in civil court.

H/T to The Volokh Conspiracy, which has this post by Ilya Somin headed "Minnesota adopts law curbing asset forfeiture abuse."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 11, 2014 05:36 PM
Posted to General Law Related