Nebraska bans civil forfeiture without a criminal conviction


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Good news: A Nebraska law passed and signed in April has banned the police from confiscating any private property prior to a criminal conviction.

Now that the Nebraska bill has been signed into law, innocent property owners will have some rather significant new protections, the most significant of which is the requirement for a criminal conviction. Believe it or not, under civil forfeiture laws, no convictions need to be obtained—nor even any charge filed—to permanently forfeit property. Nebraska’s decision to require a conviction essentially eliminates civil forfeiture in the state.

The state may still forfeit property, but only after obtaining a conviction on drug, child pornography, or illegal gambling charges, and then only after demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that the property in question was used or intended to be used in the commission of the crime, or that it represented the illicit “fruits” of the criminal activity.

The law was passed back in April but I missed the story. Hat tip to reader Tim Vogel for letting me know.

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