ACLU of North Dakota supports reforming civil forfeiture laws through House Bill 1286

March 25, 2019 12:45 pm

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ACLU of North Dakota
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The ACLU of North Dakota continues to support House Bill 1286, legislation that would substantially overhaul civil forfeiture, one of the greatest threats to private property rights in North Dakota. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear this bill Tuesday morning.

Law enforcement’s retention of forfeiture proceeds violates two key constitutional principles: due process and separation of powers. By passing House Bill 1286 and requiring a conviction before forfeiture, the legislature can rectify serious flaws in state law and establish significant safeguards for innocent North Dakotans.

“Today, ordinary citizens who have never been convicted of a crime are becoming ensnared in this system that is unfairly stacked in favor of the government,” said Heather Smith, executive director for the ACLU of North Dakota. “House Bill 1286 would strengthen due process for property owners facing civil forfeiture, raising the standard of proof from probable cause to clear and convincing evidence, allowing owners to challenge ‘unconstitutionally excessive’ forfeitures.”

In addition to the ACLU of North Dakota, organizations like the Institute for Justice, Americans for Prosperity, Young Americans and the Hazlitt Policy Center also support House Bill 1286.

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