Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill Friday that protects police from seizing the private property of citizens. Martinez signed just before the noon deadline that would have pocket vetoed the legislation.
Civil asset forfeiture is a practice where police can seize a private citizen’s property and keep it even if the person is not convict or charged with a crime. He must then go through the laborious and often futile process of trying to reclaim his property — whether it’s a vehicle, cash, or even a home.
The new law makes two important changes:
1. Currently, when police seize property they can keep it even if you are innocent. Under the new law, police can still take property from you for a short period but would need a conviction or a guilty plea in order to keep it.
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