Over to You, Governor Branstad: Legislature Approves Steps To Protect Innocent Citizens From Unjust Property Forfeitures

Syrita Bowen Iowa, News, Uncategorized

The U.S. Justice Action Network, the largest bipartisan organization working to reform the justice system in Iowa and across the country, applauded the Iowa legislature for approving reforms to the civil asset forfeiture process by sending SF 446 to the governor’s desk for final signature

The legislation requires a criminal conviction for property valued below $5,000, indexed to inflation. It will also require greater evidence for forfeitures above that amount and shifts the burden of proof from the property owner to the government in a forfeiture proceeding. 

Support for reforms to the civil asset forfeiture process continues to grow across the country, with Ohio recently passing one of the most aggressive bills in the country.

Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network: “The current civil asset forfeiture process in Iowa erodes property rights by allowing the government to take a person’s property even when that person has never been convicted of a crime. This bill safeguards innocent owners from becoming entangled in a flawed process, while ensuring law enforcement has the tools they need to tackle crime. We applaud the the Iowa House and Senate passing SF 446, and urge Governor Branstad to sign this legislation as soon as possible.”