Home Virginia Politics Innocent Until PROVEN Guilty? Virginia Senate Finance Committee Kills Asset Forfeiture Bill.

Innocent Until PROVEN Guilty? Virginia Senate Finance Committee Kills Asset Forfeiture Bill.


Hat tip to Coy Barefoot on this one, which occurred earlier this week. Coy writes the following (bolding added by me for emphasis):

Members of the Virginia Senate Finance Committee killed a bill that would have made it illegal for police to seize your property UNLESS you’ve been found guilty of committing a crime. That’s right, currently it’s LEGAL. It’s called “civil forfeiture” – which is quite Orwellian- it’s more properly described as government theft. The police can seize your property if you’re simply suspected of committing a crime, not even proven guilty- and then good luck getting it back. Conservatives are split on the issue: some, following their own principles, see this as government power run amok- while others see it as a way of empowering law enforcement (police make BIG BIG profits off of taking the privately owned property of citizens). Anyway, here in Virginia at least, right now “civil forfeiture” is alive and well.

The bill, HB 1287, passed the House of Delegates by an overwhelming, 92-6 vote. It then was reported from the Senate Courts of Justice committee on an 11-2 vote. Last but not least, it was “passed by indefinitely,” on a 9-5 vote, in the Senate Finance committee. Huh? Can anyone explain to me how it’s possibly constitutional for the government to seize your property when you’re still “innocent until PROVEN guilty” of a crime? I really don’t get it.

P.S. This article explains: “Police and prosecutors opposed the bill, while several conservative and liberal groups backed it. A letter in support of the bill on Monday was signed by Claire Guthrie Gastanaga of the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and two officials with the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm.”


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