By Bob Unruh
(Photo courtesy Pixabay)
The issue of rules that allow law-enforcement agencies to confiscate cash or other property during an investigation has drawn attention recently.
Such confiscations are often allowed even if no criminal charges are ever filed, and those losing the property must go to court to get their property.
For lawmakers in one state, however, those laws have gone too far.
The Institute for Justice is reporting lawmakers in Wyoming have banned the practice by officers of “badgering” drivers stopped on traffic infractions to sign pre-written waivers transferring title to property, including cash.
The bill, “Roadside waiver of property rights prohibited,” was signed recently by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.
It states plainly, “A law enforcement officer may not request, require, or in any manner induce any person to execute a document purporting to waive, for purpose of forfeiture under this section, the person’s interest in or rights to property seized.”
It also states any such document “is null and void.”
And finally, it allows confiscation “after a hearing and a finding of probable cause as required” by the law.
IJ said that previously, “during traffic stops, officers have badgered drivers into signing pre-written waivers that not only waive their rights to their property, but also waive their right to the limited protections offered by the state’s civil forfeiture laws.”
Wyoming’s bill, sponsored by Rep. Charles Pelkey, puts the state in the company of just two others, Texas and Virginia, that have similar bans.
“Due process doesn’t happen on the side of a road and we’re pleased to see Wyoming ban this abusive tactic,” said Institute for Justice attorney Dan Alban. “But the state’s civil forfeiture laws remained unchanged, and Click to see the original article