New Mexico legislature passes sweeping bill to rein in forfeiture abuses

Later On

At last, some good news about civil asset forfeiture—and the sort of change in laws that every state should do. Radley Balko writes in the Washington Post:

Yesterday, we were pretty hard on New Mexico here at The Watch. Today, a little due praise is in order. The state Senate has just passed a sweeping bill that would virtually eliminate the practice of civil asset forfeiture and on this issue leave New Mexico as the most Fifth Amendment-friendly state in the country.

The bill would basically require a criminal conviction before police can take property associated with a crime. “Civil” asset forfeiture, by definition, allows law enforcement to seize and keep property without a criminal conviction. It often puts the onus on the property owner to “prove” that he or she obtained the property legitimately, or that it wasn’t used for criminal activity.

The bill was supported by…

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