Civil Asset Forfeiture

The 66th legislative Assembly created new requirements for civil asset forfeiture proceedings. The Office of Attorney General is required to obtain certain information about civil asset forfeiture cases and compile an annual report.

Prosecuting Attorney Requirements

Case information is submitted as each case is completed. The following is required for each forfeiture case:

  • A completed Civil Asset Forfeiture Case Report form (Part 1); and
  • A copy of the court’s judgment in the associated criminal case – which must include the following information (required in the findings):
  1. Case No & district court where case filed (caption)
  2. Who filed a claim or counterclaim for the seized property, if any;
  3. Date the forfeiture order was issued;
  4. Whether a forfeiture settlement agreement was reached
  5. Date and final disposition of property
  6. Estimated value of forfeited property
  7. Estimate of total costs accrued by the law enforcement agency for storage and disposal of the forfeited property
  8. Amount of attorney fees awarded to owners of seized and forfeited property.

Political Subdivision Requirements

Proceeds from forfeited funds are intended to further the public purpose of reducing criminal activity and aiding the efforts of criminal justice within that jurisdiction. Any political subdivision with an established asset forfeiture fund must establish eligibility requirements for requesting forfeited funds. Any requesting law enforcement agency, in order to be eligible for forfeited funds, must be geographically located within the jurisdiction of the political subdivision that legally possesses the requested forfeited funds.

The eligibility criteria for the application of forfeited funds, by a law enforcement agency located in the jurisdiction of the political subdivision, must be based in the confirmation that the request itself is rooted in the support and furtherance of the requesting agencies’ overall law enforcement mission.  The governing entity will has full authority and may deny requests that do not meet this level of confirmation. 

More information coming soon.

Law Enforcement Agency Requirements

When a law enforcement agency disposes of forfeited property, the agency must:

The forfeited property or proceeds from the sale of forfeited property must be deposited in a political subdivision’s civil asset forfeiture fund. If the political subdivision does not have a civil asset forfeiture fund, any forfeited property and proceeds from the sale of forfeited property must be deposited in the attorney general's asset forfeiture fund.

A political subdivision that has a civil asset forfeiture fund must establish an application process, including eligibility criteria, to accept and process applications from law enforcement agencies within the political subdivision's jurisdiction for an appropriation from the civil asset forfeiture fund.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Fund Application Process

The application process must consist of a written request from a law enforcement agency within the political subdivision's jurisdiction.  The requesting law enforcement agency must submit the written request to the governing entity that has spending authority over the respective agency (“governing entity”).

The written request must include at least the following minimum criteria:

  1. Name of the requesting law enforcement agency,
  2. Address and location of the requesting law enforcement agency,
  3. Name of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the requesting law enforcement agency,
  4. Direct contact information for the requesting  law enforcement agency
  5. Requested dollar amount from asset forfeiture fund,
  6. Reason for request, including details of how the requested funds will be used.
    1. Letter of support from the Chief Executive Officer of the requesting law enforcement agency on agency letterhead with an original signature.

Note: The governing entity may require the agency to provide additional information before approving the request.

If asset forfeiture funds are granted, the requesting law enforcement agency shall follow the procurement procedures of their individual agencies.  The requesting agency must provide written confirmation when the requested funds have been spent, including any documents that the governing entity requires to prove the funds were expended in the manner requested.

Record keeping requirements

Each requesting law enforcement agency shall maintain the records of the request process, including all documents pertaining to the request, approval, procurement, receipt, and inventory of property purchased with asset forfeiture funds. These records must be made available for review upon request by the governing entity or the Office of Attorney General.

Annual Reports

By November 1st of each year, the Office of Attorney General shall publish an annual report summarizing the civil asset forfeiture activity in the state for the preceding fiscal year, and shall include information about the type, approximate value, and disposition of any civilly forfeited property, and amount of proceeds received.  The report must include a disaggregated information by agency.

The first report will be issued on November 1, 2020, covering the period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.