A bill introduced in the North Dakota House would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking a person’s property without a criminal conviction in most situations. Passage of the bill would also effectively close a federal loophole that allows police to circumvent more strict state forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the feds.
A coalition of 12 Republicans, including Senate President Pro Tempore and Majority Caucus Leader David Hogue, introduced House Bill 1286 (HB1286) on Jan. 3. Under the proposed law, the state could not proceed with asset forfeiture until the owner of the property has been convicted of or pled guilty to a criminal offense in most cases. HB1286 would also raise the standard of proof necessary in forfeiture cases to “clear and convincing evidence.”