Defending Asset Forfeiture Bill SB 1342

ASSET FORFEITURE BILL

Many people have raised concerns about SB 1342, the asset forfeiture bill I introduced:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=1342

Here is a link to one of the articles that criticizes the bill:

http://ij.org/petty-misdemeanors-would-trigger-asset-forfeiture-in-new-hawaii-bill

The idea for the bill formed for a variety of reasons, such as hearing from frustrated constituents who call DLNR to complain about hunters shooting bullets near their neighborhoods and people stealing truckloads of sand. DLNR is sometimes unable to respond since they have suffered funding cuts and reductions in hours for their enforcement officers.

In addition, I met a DLNR DOCARE officer who shared that DLNR lost some of its ability to forfeit assets due to a court ruling. The officer said this has made their job even harder since asset forfeiture is sometimes the only effective way to stop law breakers.

Here is further information about asset forfeiture from DLNR:

 
From: Jason K Redulla/DLNR/StateHiUS
Date: 02/21/2013 10:25 AM
Subject: Tribune-Herald Forfeiture articleThe use of asset forfeiture by Law Enforcement is not a tool used indiscriminately against all violators. Historically, DLNR-DOCARE has only used asset forfeiture against incessant or the most egregious violators. When asset forfeiture is used, the case is not looked at from the perspective of how the Department would benefit financially, but from the perspective of ceasing the illegal activity by depriving the violator of the tools and proceeds used in the commission of the crime.

It should be noted that the asset forfeiture process provides due process that government must follow, in order to insure that the forfeiture of the petitioned items is proper. This process also allows for owners and other persons with interest in the property to explain any mitigating circumstances.

In short, the asset forfeiture process provides appropriate due process for all parties involved, and remains an effective tool in preventing and deterring criminal activity.

Jason K. Redulla
Acting Enforcement Supervisor
State of Hawaii Dept of Land and Natural Resources
Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement
Division Administration Office
Work Phone: (808) 587-0074
“REPORT WILDLIFE AND RESOURCE VIOLATIONS-CALL 643-DLNR”

Although SB 1342 is “dead” for this year, it is technically still alive until next session, which runs from Jan-May 2014. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject. My contact information is below:
Aloha ,

Senator Maile Shimabukuro
District 21

(Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Ma`ili, Wai`anae, Makaha, Makua)
State Capitol, Room 222
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
808-586-7793 phone
808-586-7797 facsimile
maileshimabukuro@yahoo.com

Facebook: Like or Friend Me

Twitter: @SenMaile
Blog: http://21maile.com

3 Responses

  1. SB 1342 is a REALLY bad idea. It gives the police a license and an incentive to steal. How do you define misdemeanor and how do you define what asset can be seized for each misdemeanor?

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  2. SB 1342 is the wrong way to deal with the issues you mentioned. The correct action is to make such issues such as stealing sand, or firing weapons near neighborhoods more severe crimes, possibly even felonies, with correctly scaling punishments for repeat offenders.
    The big issue here is that by granting the state a path around the 4th and 8th amendments in cases as minor as a petty misdemeanor is a BIG problem. You are seriously threatening people with the loss of their HOME, their CAR, etc… for literally swearing in public or playing their stereo too loud (Disorderly Conduct), having an argument (Harassment), or even staying in a park after sunset.
    You mentioned that asset forfeiture is not a tool used “indiscriminately”; while this might be true, it’s not codified in this law what “indiscriminately” means. So the populace will be at the whim of the good nature of whoever is in office at the time. YOU promise that this law wouldn’t be used in such a manner, however, YOU won’t be in office forever, and this law will give your descendant the power steal people’s property.
    The “Due Process” of asset forfeiture in Hawaii makes a mockery of the very IDEA of due process. One of this nation’s founding principles is that no one should be deprived of property without due process. Implying that due process, i.e. sustained criminal charges, should PRECEDE any deprivation of property or rights, not the other way around. Under asset forfeiture laws the accused is punished first and guilt is assumed; the accused then bears the burden of proving his innocence. Also, the accused, must post a bond of 10% of the value of the property, at least $2,500 (imagine what 10% of a home is worth) IN CASH in no more than 30 days, to even be ALLOWED to contest the forfeiture.

    Remember laws should be just as written, not as we assume they will be applied; because the just application of an unjust law cannot be assured.

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  3. Depriving people of their property should not be easy or at the whim of petty officials that have all the discretion.

    Existing forfeiture laws are bad enough.

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