Trenton, NJ – Today, the New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee voted to approve a package of bills (A4970, A3442, A4969 and AR222) that will reform New Jersey’s civil asset forfeiture laws. Civil asset forfeiture laws allow the government to seize cash, cars, real estate or other property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, regardless of whether the person is convicted, or in some cases, even if charges are never filed against the property owner.
Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, issued the following statement after today’s hearing:
“We’re thrilled by today’s vote in support of civil asset forfeiture law reforms that will better protect New Jersey residents. Civil asset forfeiture – also known as “policing for profit” – laws have long been in need of change. Most notably, today’s vote will advance legislation that will mandate transparent reporting requirements and enhance protections for property owners during asset forfeiture proceedings.”
“Civil asset forfeiture laws create perverse incentives that can cause law enforcement to over-enforce crimes that carry the possibility of forfeiture, most predominantly drug offenses, to the neglect of other public safety objectives. Moreover, the harms caused by these laws disproportionately impact low-income individuals, who often choose not to challenge the seizure of their property because it is too onerous and expensive to do so.”
“We look forward to continuing our work with the Legislature to ensure that New Jersey reforms its unjust civil asset forfeiture laws.”
Click here for more background on the New Solutions Campaign’s work to reform civil asset forfeiture laws in New Jersey.