I am proud to report a bill that I originally sponsored protecting the constitutional rights of Iowans by giving them due process as it pertains to their personal property passed the senate this week.
Senate File 446 enhances property rights protections by shifting the burden of proof on law enforcement and prosecutors when it comes to civil asset forfeitures. Under current law, when someone is suspected of committing an aggravated misdemeanor or felony, civil asset forfeiture may occur despite if the charged individual is convicted of the alleged crime.
Presently, there is not a cap on the value of the property. The bill passed out of the Iowa Senate says asset forfeiture on less than $5,000 is prohibited unless the alleged crime leading to the forfeiture results in a conviction, the property owner is deceased, the property owner is unable to be located or the property owner has not claimed the property or expressed interest in the property.
SF 446 also requires law enforcement to keep specific records on seized assets in regard to the amount of property acquired: the date property was acquired; the disposition of the property; date of disposition; and detailed financial records concerning any property sold the name of anyone who received the property. This bill passed unanimously and now heads to the House for consideration.