Pete Ricketts, the governor of Nebraska, signed a bill on Tuesday that abolishes civil forfeiture within the state. Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement authorities to take and keep property without filing legal charges or securing any criminal convictions. The bill, LB 1106, passed the unicameral legislature by a vote of 38 to 8.
Civil forfeiture has been a big problem for the citizens of Nebraska, there have been several cases where the victims were completely innocent. For example, there was a Peruvian pastor who had $14,000 seized during a traffic stop. He only could recover his cash with the help of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). A more outrageous instance for the case is a decorated Air Force veteran, who had taken more than $63,000 from his savings by a federal appellate court, even though he was never charged with a single crime.
The newly signed law now requires a criminal conviction to forfeit property. The accused must be convicted of an offense involving illegal drugs, child pornography material or illegal gambling to lose their cash, vehicles, firearms or real estate property. Nebraska joins nine other states that require a criminal conviction as a