A bill introduced in the West Virginia House would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction. But the legislation leaves a loophole in place allowing police to circumvent stricter state laws by passing cases off to the feds.
Del. Stephen Wilson (R-Berkeley) introduced House Bill 2563 (HB2563) on Jan. 8. The legislation would require the state to prove that the owner of seized property has been convicted of a crime and that the seized property was substantially related to that crime before the state could take title to the seized property.
The Institute for Justice calls West Virginia’s asset forfeiture laws some of the worst in the country.