Friday, July 14, 2017

Illinois legislature passes asset forfeiture reform

Illinois Legislature Passes Asset Forfeiture Reform - Hit & Run : - C.J. Ciaramella:

June 27, 2017 - "The Illinois legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill Friday tightening the state's civil asset forfeiture laws and shifting the burden of proof onto the government to show why it should be allowed to keep seized property.

"The vote came on the heels of an investigative report from Reason earlier this month showing lower-income neighborhoods of Chicago were hit hardest by asset forfeiture. Reason's report, analyzing more than 23,000 property seizures over the last five years, was cited by Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx in a letter to the Chicago Tribune Saturday urging Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the bill into law....

"The bill, approved unanimously in the state senate and with only one dissenting vote in the house, would raise the standard of evidence for forfeitures from probable cause to a preponderance of evidence and bar seizures under $500 in many drug cases.

"It would also abolish a requirement of residents challenging seizures that they pay a 10 percent bond on the estimated value of their property to file a petition, and expedite hearings for owners claiming innocence....

"Overall, civil liberties groups are pleased with the bill. 'The main thing is shifting the burden of proof clearly onto the state and relieving property owners of having to prove their innocence,' Ben Ruddell, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Illinois, says."

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