Washington State House Passes Bill to Reform Asset Forfeiture Laws; First Step to Address Federal Loophole

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Feb 15, 2018) –  On Tuesday, the Washington House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would improve the state’s asset forfeiture laws and set the stage to close a loophole that allows state and local police to circumvent more strict state forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the feds.

Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) and Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) introduced House Bill 2718 (HB2718) on Jan. 12. The legislation would take several steps to reform Washington’s asset forfeiture laws. While the state could still seize assets without a criminal conviction, HB2718 would increase protection for property owners and place the burden of proof squarely on prosecutors. HB2718 would make several changes to current asset forfeiture law, explicitly providing that the burden of proof is on the seizing agency; allowing prevailing claimants to recover attorneys’ fees, expenses, and damages for loss of use of property; requiring that, when ordered to return property, the seizing agency return it in the same or substantially similar condition as when seized; and making all seizing agencies subject to detailed reporting requirements.

The House passed HB2718 by a 95-3 vote.

As Shea pointed out during committee testimony, three states have …

Read more at The Tenth Amendment Center
(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)

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