ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Having collaborated with various state agencies, and after reviewing various case studies, state Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, voted in favor of House Bill 303, which creates the Seizure and Forfeiture Reporting Act.
“Civil asset forfeiture in Illinois has needed reform for years, as we’ve seen in high profile cases right here in the Quad Cities,” Halpin said. “With this legislation, innocent property owners can more effectively protect that property from seizure, while granting law enforcement officers the flexibility to prevent criminals from profiting off their crimes.”
House Bill 303 is the product of extensive negotiations among the ACLU, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois State’s Attorney Association, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Sheriffs Association, and the Illinois Drug Enforcement Officers Association. The bill requires the Illinois State Police (“ISP”) to establish and maintain a searchable public database that includes specified information about property seized and forfeited under State law. The Illinois State Police has the authority and oversight over all law enforcement agencies receiving forfeited funds from the Department of State Police.
Halpin emphasized the need for this legislation, particularly given the experience of 70-year-old Judy Wiese of Moline, whose only vehicle was seized by police after her grandson was caught driving it on a revoked license. Because she was unable to afford an attorney, Miss Wiese struggled to get her car back under past Illinois forfeiture laws.
“Our police officers need the ability to deprive criminals of their profits, while protecting property owners in our community,” Halpin said. “Thanks to the extensive work by multiple agencies, innocent property owners can now have their day in court under a fair and transparent process.”
For more information, please contact Halpin’s full-time constituent service office at 309-558-3612 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.