CALUMET CITY, Ill. – Law enforcement will no longer be able to take an individual’s property without just cause under new civil asset forfeiture guidelines recently signed into law and supported by state Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City.
“This measure is a great step forward for protecting individuals from arbitrary seizures of their property,” Jones said. “By creating a system that is more transparent and laying out clear legal standards in favor of property owners, we will hold our law enforcement system accountable and will respect the rights of residents in our community.”
House Bill 303, which creates the Seizure and Forfeiture Reporting Act, requires the Illinois State Police to establish and maintain a searchable public database that includes specific information about property seized and forfeited under state law. Civil asset forfeiture occurs when law enforcement believes an individual is using an item, such as a car or cash, in the process of a crime. The Jones-backed measure reverses current law, which placed the burden of proof on the individual, not law enforcement.
“There have been too many cases across the country in which law enforcement officials have abused their power,” Jones said. “With these new standards in Illinois, we can prevent the potential for similar abuse here in our state.”
House Bill 303 will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.