Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: January 20, 2016
Sen. Loveless discusses his asset forfeiture reforms at a press
conference Wednesday at the state Capitol.
Loveless introduces comprehensive forfeiture
D. Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) Thursday unveiled the details
of his legislative efforts to reform Oklahoma’s civil asset
In May, Loveless introduced Senate Bill 838, the Personal Asset
Protection Act. The bill has been the subject of intense debate
during the interim.
“I have heard a lot of concern from district attorneys and
from some in the law enforcement community about my fight to protect
private property rights and due process. This new language is an
attempt to address some of those concerns while not compromising
my goals for reform,” said Loveless.
The bill package includes three stand-alone bills and one omnibus
“The new language still requires a criminal conviction before
the government can forfeit property, but it provides for five exemptions
to this requirement including the death of the owner or the owner
was given immunity as part of a plea agreement,” said Loveless.
“The government currently has the ability to forfeit personal
property without proving a crime was committed in a court of law.
My legislation corrects that but leaves the authorities with some
Another major difference in the legislation involves where the
forfeited proceeds are deposited. The original version sent the
funds to the state’s General Revenue Fund.
“My intention is to remove the direct profit incentive of
forfeiture. An agency shouldn't be able to grow its budget based
on how much property it takes. At the same time, the state’s
General Revenue Fund shouldn’t rely on that either,”
said Loveless. “I want to create a new fund that would be
run by a citizen oversight board with funds being used to address
our state’s continued drug crisis.”
The 15-person board would issue grants from the fund to drug treatment
facilities, drug courts and law enforcement agencies.
“This updated proposal to reform civil asset forfeiture laws
shows Senator Loveless’ willingness to listen to all sides
and work hard to bring people together,” said Trent England,
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the Oklahoma Council
of Public Affairs. “While many would like to see
even more reforms and a few seem bent on opposing any changes at
all, Senate Bill 838 is a healthy middle ground where reasonable
people can agree and move ahead.”
Loveless’ reform efforts have garnered support from a wide
range of organizations over the last several months including the
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and the Oklahoma Policy Institute.
"We've already seen too many examples of civil asset forfeiture
being abused in Oklahoma and around the nation,” said Gene
Perry, Director of Policy for the Oklahoma Policy Institute. “Reforms
to ensure due process will help to restore trust in our justice
system and make sure law enforcement has the right incentives for
keeping us safe.”
Other supporters include the ACLU of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City
branch of the NAACP and the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association.
"The latest version of the Personal Asset Protection Act contains
reforms that can better protect the civil rights of Oklahomans and
provide for a better system for Oklahoma law enforcement,”
said Brady Henderson, Legal Director of the ALCU of Oklahoma. “For
the first time in our state, it provides a way for innocent victims
of a wrongful government seizure to recover a portion of their costs
in court. Likewise, it remedies a serious conflict of interest and
lack of transparency that stands in the way of citizens' ability
to trust those charged with protecting our communities.”
The legislative session begins February 1.
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