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IJ Statement on Civil Forfeiture Reform in New Mexico

Following breaking news that New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed a bill essentially eliminating the state’s civil forfeiture laws, Scott Bullock, Senior Attorney in charge of the Institute for Justice’s civil forfeiture initiative, issued the following statement:

“This is the first time in decades that a state legislature has taken the bold but necessary step to put an end to the perverse financial incentive in civil forfeiture laws. Thankfully, Governor Martinez and the New Mexico legislature recognized that no one should lose their property without being first convicted of a crime.”

Reform efforts started late last year when The New York Times drew national attention to videos uncovered by the Institute for Justice demonstrating that state civil forfeiture laws were being aggressively used by law enforcement authorities to take property and profit from those takings. In those videos, a Las Cruces City Attorney explains that his civil forfeiture filings were “masterpieces of deception.”

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