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Missouri

Missouri

Missouri earns a B+ for its civil forfeiture laws:

Standard of Proof

Higher bar to forfeit: Strong conviction provision requires conviction of the owner, even if forfeiture is uncontested. Once there is a conviction, property must be linked to the crime by preponderance of the evidence.

Innocent Owner Burden

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

Financial Incentive

No profit incentive: All forfeiture proceeds go to fund schools.

Recent Reforms

  • None.

Recommendations

  • End civil forfeiture
  • Strengthen protections for innocent third-party owners
  • Close the equitable sharing loophole
  • Strengthen transparency and accountability requirements

State and Federal Forfeiture Revenues, 2000-2019

Between 2000 and 2018, Missouri law enforcement agencies forfeited nearly $4 million under state law. Between 2000 and 2019, they generated an additional $187 million from federal equitable sharing, for a total of at least $191 million in forfeiture revenue. Missouri ranks 34th 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 $191 million in state and federal forfeiture revenue
2000–2019

Year Missouri Forfeiture Revenues Dept. of Justice Equitable Sharing Proceeds Treasury Equitable Sharing Proceeds Total
2000 $115,156 $8,179,698 $274,000 $8,568,854
2001 $224,721 $4,979,750 $464,000 $5,668,471
2002 $462,510 $4,079,649 $219,000 $4,761,159
2003 $420,680 $4,781,175 $207,000 $5,408,855
2004 $90,546 $6,024,911 $169,000 $6,284,457
2005 $142,450 $8,546,529 $32,000 $8,720,979
2006 $148,446 $9,479,687 $229,000 $9,857,133
2007 $148,922 $10,667,509 $118,000 $10,934,431
2008 $117,064 $10,461,755 $55,000 $10,633,819
2009 $30,673 $19,504,675 $224,000 $19,759,348
2010 $51,948 $13,604,657 $1,459,000 $15,115,605
2011 $317,178 $11,364,666 $1,677,000 $13,358,844
2012 $167,736 $10,732,462 $748,000 $11,648,198
2013 $232,440 $7,773,383 $5255,000 $13,260,823
2014 $255,712 $6,377,879 $609,000 $7,242,591
2015 $125,466 $7,841,569 $558,000 $8,525,035
2016 $194,134 $6,464,769 $2,010,000 $8,668,903
2017 $360,726 $5,587,862 $430,000 $6,378,588
2018 $201,830 $8,621,102 $268,000 $9,090,932
2019 Unavailable $6,102,289 $1,417,000 $7,519,289
Totals $3,808,338 $171,175,976 $16,422,000 $191,406,314

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

Missouri's Forfeiture Transparency and Accountability Report Card

Tracking Seized Property

C

Accounting for Forfeiture Fund Spending

N/A

Statewide Forfeiture Reports

A

Accessibility of Forfeiture Records

A

Penalties for Failure to File a Report

C

Financial Audits of Forfeiture Accounts

N/A

These grades are not applicable as Missouri does not permit law enforcement agencies to spend state forfeiture revenue.

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

Forfeitures Under Missouri Law: Key Facts

Median Value

UNKNOWN

Missouri does not report property-level data necessary to calculate median forfeiture value.

Property Types

UNKNOWN

Missouri does not report the types of property forfeited.

Civil vs. Criminal

UNKNOWN

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

Expenditures

N/A

Missouri does not permit law enforcement agencies to spend state forfeiture revenue.

Data Notes and Legal Sources

Data Notes

Reports of prosecuting attorney and Missouri Attorney General seizures are from the State Auditor’s website. Figures represent forfeiture proceeds of cash and properties seized and then transferred to the state within the same calendar year. Millions of dollars from cases still pending at the end of each year are not accounted for in the figures. 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: Strong conviction provision requires an owner’s conviction, even when forfeiture is uncontested. Once there is a conviction, property must be linked to the crime by a preponderance of the evidence.

Mo. Ann. Stat. § 513.617(1) (forfeiture is “a civil procedure,” and civil cases in Missouri are subject to the preponderance standard); 513.645(6); Cnty. of Springfield v. Gee, 149 S.W.3d 609, 615–16 (Mo. Ct. App. 2004). See Rodriguez v. Suzuki Motor Corp., 936 S.W.2d 104, 110 (Mo. 1996).

Innocent owner burden: Owner.

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 513.615; State v. Beaird, 914 S.W.2d 374, 378 (Mo. Ct. App. 1996); State v. 1973 Fleetwood Mobile Home, 802 S.W.2d 582, 584 & n.3 (Mo. Ct. App. 1991).

Financial incentive: No financial incentive. All forfeiture proceeds go to fund schools.

Mo. Const. art. IX, § 7; Mo. Rev. Stat. § 513.623.

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