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Idaho

Idaho

Idaho earns a D- for its civil forfeiture laws:

Standard of Proof

Low bar to forfeit: Prosecutors must prove by preponderance of the evidence that property is connected to a crime.

Innocent Owner Burden

Poor protections for the innocent: Third-party owners must prove their own innocence to recover seized property.

Financial Incentive

Large profit incentive: Up to 100% of forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement.

Recent Reforms

  • (2018) HB 447: Adopted new transparency requirements; allowed owners to continue using property during pending forfeiture actions; banned vehicle forfeitures for minor drug possession; allowed courts to reject or reduce forfeitures they deem excessive or disproportionate.

Recommendations

  • End civil forfeiture
  • Direct all forfeiture proceeds to a non-law enforcement fund
  • Strengthen protections for innocent third-party owners
  • Close the equitable sharing loophole
  • Strengthen transparency and accountability requirements

State and Federal Forfeiture Revenues, 2000-2019

In 2018, Idaho law enforcement agencies forfeited more than $227,000 under state law. Between 2000 and 2019, they generated an additional $12.4 million from federal equitable sharing, for a total of at least $12.6 million in forfeiture revenue. Idaho ranks 5th for its participation in the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program. The state does not prevent state and local agencies from using equitable sharing to circumvent state forfeiture law.

At least $12.6 million in state and federal forfeiture revenue
2000–2019

Year Idaho Forfeiture Revenues Dept. of Justice Equitable Sharing Proceeds Treasury Equitable Sharing Proceeds Total
2000 Unknown $25,770 $0 $25,770
2001 Unknown $60,688 $25,000 $85,688
2002 Unknown $481,322 $2,000 $483,322
2003 Unknown $193,361 $1,000 $194,361
2004 Unknown $1,568,537 $0 $1,568,537
2005 Unknown $299,441 $746,000 $1,045,441
2006 Unknown $228,848 $31,000 $259,848
2007 Unknown $343,308 $132,000 $475,308
2008 Unknown $175,352 $28,000 $203,352
2009 Unknown $275,038 $440,000 $715,038
2010 Unknown $195,311 $170,000 $365,311
2011 Unknown $211,315 $563,000 $774,315
2012 Unknown $531,842 $152,000 $683,842
2013 Unknown $777,955 $229,000 $1,006,955
2014 Unknown $799,491 $131,000 $930,491
2015 Unknown $522,218 $67,000 $589,218
2016 Unknown $574,090 $304,000 $878,090
2017 Unknown $130,645 $139,000 $269,645
2018 $227,375 $409,982 $81,000 $718,357
2019 Unavailable $1,372,757 $1,000 $1,373,757
Totals $227,375 $9,177,271 $3,242,000 $12,646,646

All revenue figures include both civil and criminal forfeitures. Revenues are not adjusted for inflation.

Idaho's Forfeiture Transparency and Accountability Report Card

Tracking Seized Property

C+

Accounting for Forfeiture Fund Spending

F

Statewide Forfeiture Reports

F

Accessibility of Forfeiture Records

D

Penalties for Failure to File a Report

F

Financial Audits of Forfeiture Accounts

F

For full transparency and accountability grades, visit www.ij.org/TransparencyReportCards.

Forfeitures Under Idaho Law: Key Facts

Median Value

$1,200

In 2018, half of Idaho’s reported currency forfeitures were worth less than $1,200.

Property Types

In 2018, 54% of Idaho’s reported forfeitures were of currency.

Civil vs. Criminal

UNKNOWN

Idaho does not report whether forfeitures are processed under civil or criminal forfeiture law.

Expenditures

UNKNOWN

Idaho does not report how forfeiture funds are spent.

Data Notes and Legal Sources

Data Notes

Reports were obtained via public records requests to each county prosecuting attorney. Ten of the 44 counties did not respond to requests. Figures represent value of forfeited property. Equitable sharing data are from DOJ’s and Treasury’s annual forfeiture reports. Due to differences in reporting and accounting practices, state figures may not match aggregate numbers produced by the state or cover the same 12-month period as the federal data.

Legal Sources

Standard of proof: Preponderance of the evidence.

Idaho Code §§ 37-2744(d), -2744A(d)(4).

Innocent owner burden: Owner.

Idaho Code §§ 37-2744(d)(3)(D)(IV) (conveyances), -2744A(d)(4) (real property).

Financial incentive: Up to 100%.

Idaho Code §§ 37-2744(e), 57-816(1).

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