Idaho House Mulls Reforming Civil Asset Forfeiture Rules

Feb 28, 2017

Civil asset forfeiture is used by law enforcement to seize items that may be linked to drug crimes.
Credit Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

A bipartisan bill to reform civil asset forfeiture rules is making its way through the Statehouse. Civil asset forfeiture is typically used by law enforcement to seize property in drug cases to keep profits from those illicit transactions out of the hands of drug dealers.

The bill is cosponsored by Democrat Ilana Rubel and Republican Steve Harris. According to the Twin Falls Times News, their bill would require law enforcement to prove a connection between seized property and drugs. Police would no longer be able to take property or valuables just because they were in close physical proximity to contraband substances.

In other states, mere proximity as grounds for seizing items has been cited as an abuse of civil asset forfeiture rules.

The proposed Idaho law would require police get a judge’s approval if they want to confiscate a vehicle. In order to hold onto a car or truck, proof of trafficking instead of the lesser accusation of possession would be necessary. It would also let some people hold onto their property as their case is pending.

For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX91

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio