Rhode Island is only one of 10 states where probable cause is all that is necessary for assets to be confiscated in a civil proceeding, which means that law enforcement in RI can confiscate the property of any person suspected of having committed certain offenses, whether or not that person is ever convicted or even charged with a crime. H 5357, H 5721 and S 229, introduced by Representatives Brian Newberry and Moira Walsh and Senator Harold Metts, would have ensured judicial oversight in the process of asset seizure by law enforcement, and would have provided for the ability of Rhode Island residents to retain their belongings without the burdens that a civil forfeiture process places upon them. We testified in support of these important pieces of legislation, but they all died in committee.
Asset Forfeiture (H 5357, H 5721, S 229)
Died in Committee
H 5357, H 5721, S 229