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Montana politics, elections and legislative news.

Limits On Asset Forfeiture On Thursday's Legislative Agenda

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol

Thursday, the Montana Senate will hear a bill that would ensure that police can’t take a suspect’s legal assets, like cars or money, until police can prove that the items were part of a crime.

House Bill 463’s sponsor, Democratic Representative Kelly McCarthy says it’s wrong to require innocent people to have to fight police in court to get their items back.

“And then it’s up to the owner of the inanimate object to prove that that object is actually innocent. And in this process, there is not a presumption of innocence. You are not afforded an attorney … you don’t have the right to counsel, and the burden of proof is on you."

McCarthy says this bill would also prevent police from raiding and taking items from state-authorized medical marijuana operations without first charging those operations with a crime.

It passed the House in February, 92-7.

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