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Kansas earns a D- for its civil forfeiture laws:

  • Low bar to forfeit and no conviction required
  • Poor protections for innocent third-party property owners
  • 100% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement

State Forfeiture Laws

Kansas has some of the worst civil forfeiture laws in the country, earning a D-. State law requires only a preponderance of the evidence in order to establish a connection between property and a crime, thus making the property forfeitable. Individuals bringing an innocent owner claim bear the burden of proving that they were not involved in any criminal activity to have their seized property returned. Furthermore, Kansas law enforcement agencies keep 100 percent of forfeiture proceeds. Although the Kansas attorney general has ruled that forfeiture funds may only be used for special law enforcement projects and not to meet normal operating expenses, this still provides considerable incentive to seize.

Each Kansas law enforcement agency must deposit its forfeiture proceeds into a special law enforcement trust fund maintained by its budgetary authority—such as a city council or the state Legislature—and make annual reports to that authority. Unfortunately, state law does not require that these reports be standardized or filed with a central entity, meaning that obtaining an accurate picture of all forfeiture activity in the Sunflower State would require submitting a Kansas Open Records Act request to every law enforcement agency or budgetary authority in the state and then compiling those records. This process does not hold law enforcement agencies accountable, nor does it provide the public with any understanding of forfeiture activity in the state.

Show State Law Sources
Standard of proof

Preponderance of the evidence.

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-4113(g).

Innocent owner burden

Owner.

Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 60-4112(g)–(h), 60-4113(g)–(h).

Profit incentive

100 percent.

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-4117(c)–(d); cf. Kan. Att’y. Gen. Op. No. 2007-15, 2007 Kan. AG LEXIS 16, at *7 –8, 2007 WL 2021740 (July 6, 2007) (determining that forfeiture proceeds may be applied to special law enforcement projects, but cannot be used as a regular funding source).

Reporting requirements

Seizing agencies are required to submit forfeiture reports to their budgetary authorities.

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-4117(d)(1)–(2).

State Forfeiture Data

No data readily available. While law enforcement agencies are required to make reports to their budgetary authorities, there is no requirement that those reports be centralized or made easily accessible to the public.

Kansas ranks 38th for federal forfeiture, with nearly $52 million in Department of Justice equitable sharing proceeds from 2000 to 2013.

Federal Equitable Sharing

Having received nearly $52 million in Department of Justice equitable sharing proceeds between calendar years 2000 and 2013, Kansas law enforcement agencies earn their state a ranking of 38th. Fifty-eight percent of DOJ equitable sharing proceeds came from adoptions—the forfeiture procedure curtailed by former Attorney General Holder. The remainder came from joint task forces and investigations, the type of equitable sharing largely unaffected by the 2015 policy change. Kansas agencies also received $1.4 million from the Treasury Department’s equitable sharing program between fiscal years 2000 and 2013.

View Local Law Enforcement Data
YearDOJ
(calendar years)
Treasury
(fiscal years)
2000 $1,784,838 $49,000
2001 $3,320,756 $0
2002 $1,124,709 $12,000
2003 $2,641,185 $0
2004 $4,824,653 $0
2005 $2,993,941 $26,000
2006 $1,756,466 $9,000
2007 $2,219,680 $17,000
2008 $3,195,155 $192,000
2009 $4,764,920 $21,000
2010 $5,523,251 $293,000
2011 $5,800,667 $88,000
2012 $7,254,484 $357,000
2013 $4,769,390 $375,000
Total $51,974,095 $1,439,000
Average Per Year $3,712,435 $102,786

DOJ Equitable Sharing,
Adoptive vs. Joint, 2000-2013

Adoptions
Joint Task Forces and Investigations
Seizures
Proceeds

DOJ Equitable Sharing Proceeds, 2000-2013

Sources: Institute for Justice analysis of DOJ forfeiture data obtained by FOIA; Treasury Forfeiture Fund Accountability Reports. Data include civil and criminal forfeitures. Because DOJ figures represent calendar years and Treasury figures cover fiscal years, they cannot be added.

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