published Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Lawmakers in Georgia push to change civil forfeiture laws

ATLANTA — Lawmakers in Georgia and several other states are trying to make it harder for police to seize money and property, and requiring more transparency when they do.

Stiff resistance from elected sheriffs caused a senior Republican lawmaker in Georgia to withdraw a bill that would have required more proof before law enforcement officials could seize people’s property without convicting them of a crime. It also would have penalized law enforcement agencies that did not follow financial disclosure rules.

The effort is backed by the Institute For Justice, a libertarian group that opposes allowing police to seize property unless the owner has been convicted of a crime.

Tennessee this year passed a law giving people more rights in forfeiture cases. Other measures have been debated in Minnesota, Michigan and Texas.

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