North Dakota House passes forfeiture reform bill HB1286 amid US Supreme Court opinion

Civil asset forfeiture reform passed out of the North Dakota House on Wednesday, Feb. 20, but a U.S. Supreme Court opinion has added a layer to its Senate path.

House members approved House Bill 1286 in a 57-33 vote. Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, introduced the bill to the House Judiciary Committee in January to eliminate the “perverse incentive” of “policing for profit.” Forfeiture proceedings apply to property suspected of criminal involvement.

The bill reforms several aspects of current law. It requires a conviction and annual reporting of seized and forfeited property. The bill also raises the standard of proof to clear and convincing evidence and provides for interjurisdictional prosecution.