COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 21, 2017) – A bill prefiled in the South Carolina House would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws to minimize the policing for profit motive and would partially close a loophole that allows state and local police to circumvent more strict state forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the feds.
Rep. Cezar McKnight (D-Williamsburg) prefiled House Bill 4518 (H.4518) for the 2018 legislative session. The bill would require proceeds from asset forfeitures to go into the general fund for disbursement to certain school districts. It would also prohibit the transfer of seized assets from state law enforcement agencies to federal agencies without a court order.
According to the Institute for Justice, law enforcement agencies in South Carolina get to keep up to 95 percent of forfeiture proceeds, with 75 percent going to police agencies and 20 percent to prosecutors. This creates a powerful incentive for police to pursue forfeiture in what has come to be known as “policing for profit.” Passage of H.4518 would eliminate this incentive.
Passing this legislation would also take the first step toward closing a loophole that allows state and local police to get around more strict state asset …
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