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Reforms to Civil Asset Forfeiture Approved by Iowa Legislators

Posted: Friday, April 21st, 2017 at 5:58 am
Author: KNIA/KRLS News - Nathan Sage

Recently legislation was approved that would impose limits on the state’s civil forfeiture laws, which allow law enforcement officers to seize cash and property from people who have not been charged with a crime.

Senate File 446 prohibits forfeiture of seized property valued less than $5000 without a criminal conviction and for property valued above $5000 the standard of proof required for asset forfeiture is increased from “preponderance of evidence” to “clear and convincing.” Representative Greg Heartsill tells KNIA/KRLS News, though the bill is not perfect it shows consensus across the political spectrum to the changes the state is making to the asset forfeiture laws. Heartsill adds “As someone who is a strong advocate for our men and women in law enforcement, I want to be clear that the intent of this legislation is NOT to cast a negative light on our law enforcement agencies that conduct their duties with the utmost professionalism. To be clear, I look for any opportunity to provide law enforcement with the constitutional tools that are necessary to perform their duties with an emphasis on efficacy and safety.” The bill was approved by a 95-1 vote and will now head to Governor Terry Branstad for final approval.