Gov. Jerry Brown: Please sign SB 443
The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill sits on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk; write and encourage him to sign SB 443 into law By NYABINGI KUTI A long hard effort by over 300 organizations, including the LA Reintegration Council,
The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill sits on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk; write and encourage him to sign SB 443 into law
By NYABINGI KUTI
A long hard effort by over 300 organizations, including the LA Reintegration Council, Justice Not Jails, Drug Policy Alliance, and NAACP, have succeeded in helping to pass SB 443. Sen. Holly Mitchell’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill has made it through both chambers of the state legislature.
The Compton Herald has been an advocate for SB 443 and has been influential in its passing.
Under federal law, the federal government may permanently confiscate a person’s property without ever charging that person with a crime, much less seek a conviction. By using federal law to confiscate people’s property, California law enforcement agencies are able to bypass the state’s more robust safeguards, including requiring a conviction and satisfying higher evidentiary standards prior to forfeiture. Over the past decade, the vast majority of assets seized by California law enforcement agencies were steered into the federal system. Most victims of this abuse are low-income people of color, not rich and powerful drug kingpins.
SB 443 will reign in abuses, and reestablish the most basic tenets of Constitutional law and values, requiring that in most cases, except those where the property is $40,000 or more in cash or other exceptions apply, a defendant be convicted of an underlying crime before law enforcement may permanently keep cash or property.
Now it’s up to Gov. Jerry Brown to add his signature to SB 443. It is very important for him to hear from Southern California community leaders and government representatives. Time is of the essence. The governor has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto legislation, and the clock is ticking.
We have a letter template that makes it easy to write your own letter. The governor’s email address and fax number are shown on the template. So that we can track letters, however, we also ask that you send a copy to Elise Gyore (firstname.lastname@example.org) who works for Sen. Mitchell and to Jessica Farris at the ACLU (email@example.com).
Nyabingi Kuti director of the Los Angeles Reintegration Council.