This is a bipartisan attempt to fix forfeiture of property seized by law enforcement without proper due process. This is a good bill, and I would speak out in support of it if I were able to attend.
SB358 provides that property is subject to forfeiture only if the underlying crime provides for such forfeiture, and there is: (1) proof of a criminal conviction; (2) a plea agreement; or (3) an agreement by the parties. It requires the State to establish that seized property is forfeitable by clear and convincing evidence.
Property forfeiture has been used by some law enforcement in Nevada as slush funds for their departments. Constitutional protections for citizens have been non-existent. This bill provides for protective procedures involving the courts and the Attorney General. It requires detailed reports by law enforcement.
Do a search on asset forfeiture abuses by law enforcement in Nevada and you will be amazed!
I remember asset seizure and forfeiture becoming popular with law enforcement on the legal theory emerging in the Clinton years that assets somehow, however loosely or totally unconnected to a crime or a criminal or just a suspect can still be “arrested” because, as non-persons, assets don’t have civil rights and can be disposed of without a “trial” totally as the authorities wish.
The civil counterpart was an extension from “smog check 2,” according to which your old car or other items in your driveway or in any way visible from the street can be confiscated without compensation in the name of nuisance abatement.