Heartland Institute Experts React to Passage of
New Hampshire Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform
The New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate on Wednesday approved Senate Bill 522, a measure requiring a criminal conviction or guilty plea before government law enforcement agencies can take the property of individuals accused of crimes. Senate Bill 522 also increases the burden of proof required to confiscate private property and requires the state’s attorney general to keep records on how government law enforcement agencies use proceeds from forfeited property.
The following statements from policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.
“With the approval of SB 522 by both houses of the New Hampshire legislature, state lawmakers have shown that they are taking seriously the concerns of their voters and demonstrating a dedication to the principles upon which America was founded. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ is not just something we hear uttered on cop dramas; it’s a cornerstone of our nation’s rule of law.
“Law enforcement agencies should be required to prove that a crime has been committed before seizing individuals’ private property, and the police serving and protecting the people should not be effectively acting like the robbers they are supposed to be catching.”
“New Hampshire legislators should be applauded for their efforts to protect personal property rights. Requiring a conviction or guilty plea before personal assets are seized ensures individual due process while leaving seizures available to law enforcement when a crime is committed.
“Assets should be seized only for criminal reasons, and law enforcement should not have incentives to seize any more property than is necessary and justified. The new efforts to improve transparency are especially important if they keep law enforcement officials accountable and prevent the issue of unfair seizures from fading away over time.”
The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.