It’s a little over a week into 2017 and Ohio is already leading the way on civil asset forfeiture reform. On January 4th, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed legislation that would require a criminal conviction before civil asset forfeiture laws could be used by law enforcement to confiscate the property of regular Americans. This makes Ohio the 12th state to adopt this type of legislation.2016 was a mixed year for reforming forfeiture laws. At the very end of 2015, the federal government announced that it would be putting its “Equitable Sharing Program” on hiatus, after federal omnibus legislation cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the program. In this program, state and local law enforcement agencies partner with the federal government to seize property from citizens without any criminal conviction. States are incentivized by the promise of Washington sharing up to 80 percent of the seized cash and other goods with them.
Ohio Leads the Way for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform in 2017