Civil asset forfeiture laws are changing in Indiana thanks to two new of rulings, reports the Indianapolis Star.
Earlier this week, U.S District Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson handed down a verdict in a case that will prevent police from maintaining possession of seized vehicles for an extended period of time while deciding whether to move forward with official forfeiture protocol.
The judge determined that the state’s forfeiture law, which gives police 180 days to file a forfeiture claim, is a violation of both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
“The Court concludes that the statutory provisions allowing for the seizure and retention of vehicles without providing an opportunity for an individual to challenge the pre-forfeiture deprivation are unconstitutional,” the verdict reads.
Law enforcement agencies all across the United States lean on civil asset forfeiture laws to steal valuable property from people “suspected” of committing a crime. It is relatively common, especially in states, like Indiana, where marijuana remains prohibited by law, for police to take ownership of vehicles without definitive evidence that the items were…