Maryland Bill (SB764) would end Federal Asset Forfeiture Program

A bill introduced in the Maryland Senate would close a loophole allowing state and local police to circumvent stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the feds.

Sen. William Smith (D) introduced Senate Bill 764 (SB764) on Feb. 4. The legislation would withdraw Maryland from a federal program that allows state and local police to get around more strict state asset forfeiture laws. This is particularly important in light of a policy directive issued in July 2017 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In 2016, Gov. Larry Hogan signed significant reforms to Maryland’s asset forfeiture process into law that also included detailed reporting requirements. But the reforms left open a loophole that created an avenue for police to bypass the more stringent state requirements.