SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation supported by state Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr., D-Elwood, to reform the state’s justice system and correct a broken system that allowed law enforcement to confiscate money, bank accounts, vehicles and property of innocent citizens.
“There have been several high-profile cases where innocent people have had their property seized by local authorities, and that’s simply unfair,” Walsh said. “This bipartisan reform will better protect the innocent, while also giving our law enforcement officers the flexibility they need to keep our communities safe.”
As Donald Trump’s Justice Department is unilaterally reversing federal reforms intended to protect personal property from unlawful seizure, Walsh stood with Democrats and Republicans to pass a new state law which will help innocent individuals who have had property confiscated during a police investigation reclaim what is legally theirs. Walsh’s 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 new law requires the State Police to establish and maintain a searchable public database that includes specified information about property seized and forfeited under state law.
“This law is another example of Democrats and Republicans in Illinois coming together to do what’s right, even as Donald Trump pushes a divisive changes in an attempt to take our country, our state and our community backwards,” Walsh said. “Trump wants to pretend he’s tough on crime when really he’s just making our system less fair. We need to do the opposite here in Illinois; we need to be smart on crime and make our justice system fairer for all. This is an important step in that direction.”