Asset Forfeiture Reform Legislation Advances Through State Legislatures
In 2016, a number of states have successfully passed legislation impacting their civil asset forfeiture laws, including Nebraska which eliminated civil forfeiture in the state. Here’s a brief summary of legislation that has been signed into law:
- Florida: The Florida legislature unanimously passed SB 1044. SB 1044 now requires law enforcement to make an arrest before property believed to be connected to a crime can be seized. It also requires the government to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” before property can be forfeited to the state. The coalition that pushed for reform included (but not limited to) the Florida Sheriff’s Association, Association of Police Chiefs and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
- Maryland: HB 336 makes several reforms to Maryland’s civil forfeiture process, including raising the burden of proof to “clear and convincing;” implementing reporting requirements; requiring a criminal conviction to forfeit an owner’s principal family home; repealing a provision allowing for money to be forfeited in related to drug possession; requiring that property owners be given a receipt when their property is seized; directing 20 percent of forfeiture proceeds from the General Fund to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to fund drug treatment and educations programs; and banning the transfer of seized cash to the federal government unless the amount seized is greater than $50,000 or if the transfer follows a federal warrant.
- Nebraska: LB 1106 bans civil forfeiture and now requires a criminal conviction to forfeit property. It also enacts new reporting requirements for seizures and forfeiture.
- Tennessee: SB 2144/HB 2176 requires the Department of Safety to report annually on information regarding forfeitures from the prior year.
- Virginia: SB 457 raises the government’s burden of proof to “clear and convincing” in proving that the property is subject to forfeiture in a civil forfeiture case. HB 771/SB 423 expands reporting requirements and makes the report available to the public, as well as, adds a provision where the court may stay a forfeiture proceeding that is related to any warrant.
- Wyoming: SF 46 makes the following reforms: (1) requires a hearing to be scheduled within 30 days of a seizure at which a judge would determine whether there is probably cause for the state to proceed with the forfeiture; (2) the Attorney General’s office is required to notify third-party owners; (3) if a judge believes that the forfeiture is disproportionate to the offense, they can stop the forfeiture or reduce the amount being taken; and (4) innocent property owners are able to obtain attorney’s fees, costs and damages from the state.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
NACDL 2024 Annual Pass - All CLE Institute Programs
NACDL's 2024 Annual Pass gives you full access to the recordings of every CLE Institue live training seminar held in 2024! That means every CLE speech, presentation and training - along with all accompanying written materials - is yours for over 50% off! With this exclusive pass, you gain unlimited access to a treasure-trove of recent NACDL Trial Skills training that will help you win more cases!
A Defender's Guide to Federal Evidence - 2nd Edition
This brand-new 2nd Edition 2024 Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The updated 2024 Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The 2nd Edition Guide contains multiple new and updated user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems.
Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection - 40+ Hours of Content!
NACDL's "Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection" is the definitive aggregation of our 4 highest-rated and most current Sex Cases CLE trainings (2019, 2021, 2022 & 2023 ed.) and contains our most comprehensive and up-to-date assembly of sex cases trainings that NACDL has ever put together! Containing 49 separate trial skills trainings, thousands of pages of written materials and over 40+ hours of practical and pragmatic content, this collection guides you through the most intimidating sexual assault criminal trial topics.