OKLAHOMA CITY — A group of Oklahoma prosecutors say a proposal to change the state’s civil asset forfeiture process would hinder drug enforcement efforts in the state.
The bill filed by Republican state Sen. Kyle Loveless of Oklahoma City would require a conviction, with some exceptions, for law enforcement to seize property and cash suspected of being used in a crime. The current process doesn’t require a conviction.
The Oklahoma District Attorneys Association sent a letter to lawmakers on Tuesday, Jan. 5 outlining its concerns. The group said an estimated $5 million to $10 million per year of drug enforcement efforts in Oklahoma are funded by forfeited proceeds of drug dealers, drug traffickers and others.
The Tulsa World reports that a coalition supporting the legislation sent a letter Wednesday, Jan. 6 saying, “the pendulum has swung too far from due process.”