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New Mexico Restricts Civil Forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture, the practice by which police officers may seize property or money found on a suspect that is arrested, or a citizen if those items were suspected to be the product of criminal activity, has drawn the ire of many citizens and news outlets across the country.

Seemingly in response to this criticism, the state of New Mexico has put the issue up for reconsideration. As reported in the Daily Caller, House Bill 560 has cleared that New Mexican legislature with resounding support across party lines in both the State House and State Senate, leaving Governor Susana Martinez to sign the bill into law.

While this isn’t a complete cessation to the practice, powers granted to the police in this practice have been reduced. Future civil asset forfeitures will require a conviction of a suspect in order to property to be seized, and all monetary proceeds will then be deposited into a fund to be distributed as opposed to independent agencies and departments. This restriction also comes with a clause that keeps local law enforcement from invoking federal powers and bypass state restrictions. In the case of owners who are unaware their property has been used in the course of a crime, they must be made aware of the criminal act in which it was used before anything can be seized.

The passing of this bill echoes sentiments felt around the country stated youtube.com, and many states are in the process of drafting their own bills in order to address the same concerns of their constituents.

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