Bipartisan civil asset forfeiture bill wins unanimous Senate support

By Betsy Z. Russell

The Idaho Senate has voted unanimously – 35-0 – in favor of bipartisan legislation reforming Idaho’s civil forfeiture laws. HB 202 earlier passed the House on a 58-10 vote, but was amended in the Senate, so it still needs to go back to the House for concurrence in the amendments.

Among other changes, HB 202a would no longer allow civil forfeiture of the vehicle of a person who merely possessed a controlled substance, without using the vehicle in connection with trafficking offenses or obtaining it with drug-trafficking proceeds; property that’s merely in proximity to illegal drugs couldn’t be seized simply for that reason; simply possessing cash couldn’t be grounds for forfeiture; and courts must determine whether a property seizure is proportionate to the crime alleged, as case law currently requires. The bill also absolves innocent owners from having to pay the state’s costs associated with an attempted seizure; and requires record-keeping.

“The bill represents a broad consensus on common-sense reform that does not weaken our ability to go after drug traffickers and profits of their criminal activity,” Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, told the Senate.

Republished from The Spokesman-Review.

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