Opinion Columns & Blogs

Follow Nebraska’s lead on civil asset forfeiture

Kansas should follow the lead of Nebraska, which this week restricted civil asset forfeiture to certain crimes, and only after a conviction has occurred. Kansas received a D-minus grade from a national group last year regarding asset forfeiture, which is the practice of law enforcement officers seizing property they suspect was involved in a crime. The problem is that these forfeitures can occur even when no charges are filed, and it can be difficult for an innocent person to get the property back. One recent example from Oklahoma: Law enforcement seized $53,000 in cash from a Burmese Christian rock band, a church in Omaha and an orphanage in Thailand after a traffic stop over a broken taillight. The money was returned this week after national media began reporting on the case. – Phillip Brownlee