Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Forfeiture changes signed into law

Published (3/9/2012)
By Mike Cook
Share on: 

A number of changes to the state’s forfeiture provisions that were proposed by a working group of key stakeholders has become law.

Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center), who sponsors the law with Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville), said The Institute for Justice and associations representing law enforcement, public defenders and county attorneys all agreed to the changes.

Among its provisions, the law, effective Aug. 1, 2012, will:

• require a law enforcement officer to provide a forfeiture receipt when seizing an off-highway vehicle;

• make it mandatory, instead of permissive, for officers to secure seized property and prevent waste;

• prohibit employees of law enforcement agencies or the prosecuting authority and their relatives from purchasing forfeited items seized by the agency;

• amend the conciliation court jurisdiction law to increase the monetary limit to $15,000 of certain claims the court may hear; and

• allow the owner of a seized vehicle — unless it’s being held for investigatory purposes — to regain the item pending the forfeiture’s outcome by posting a bond or giving security equal to the property value. Law enforcement can currently veto this.

The provision that created the most controversy in committee calls for the striking of Hmong, Somali and Spanish from the list of languages required in printing the forfeiture notification. Instead, the notification must only be printed in English and printing in other languages could be done at an agency’s discretion.

Opponents said the change might not ensure that people’s rights are protected, it will put an extra burden on a non-English speaking property owner and it could potentially create lawsuits about due process.

In addition to mandate relief, proponents said it does not prohibit a local law enforcement agency from printing the notification in multiple languages, especially languages that reflect the diversity of a geographic area. They also note that agencies would likely do the right thing to protect themselves from potential litigation.

HF1535/ SF1240*/CH128

Session Weekly More...

Session Weekly Home

Related Stories

Keeping the courts adequately funded
Public safety finance law doesn’t gut Human Rights Department
(view full story) Published 8/11/2011

Governor vetoes public safety bill
At about $1.8 billion in spending, no cuts to courts were proposed
(view full story) Published 7/15/2011

DNA - It’s all in the family
Familial DNA could help solve criminal cases, but at what cost?
(view full story) Published 4/8/2011

Creating a ‘Safe Harbor’
Wide-ranging support for bill to decriminalize juveniles exploited by prostitution
(view full story) Published 4/1/2011

Two omnibus bills merged into one
DFL legislators oppose cuts to Department of Human Rights, Civil Legal Services
(view full story) Published 4/1/2011

Safety versus savings
Home fire sprinklers would be costly, but can save lives
(view full story) Published 3/4/2011

Minnesota Index: State corrections
Figures and statistics on Minnesota's correctional system
(view full story) Published 2/25/2011

How young is too young?
Committee debates age for youth being charged as an adult in certain cases
(view full story) Published 2/18/2011