(The Center Square) – A Tennessee House committee advanced legislation that would eliminate the requirement that someone post a $350 bond to appeal the seizure of assets seized via civil asset forfeiture.
Tennessee law permits police to seize money or assets if they have a preponderance of evidence that it was associated with criminal activity. Although money or assets can be taken without charging someone with a crime or giving that person a trial, current law requires a person post a $350 bond to appeal the seizure. Tennessee is one of three states with such a requirement.
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced the legislation, House Bill 0340, this week. It now heads to the Finance, Ways, and Means Committee. Its primary sponsor is Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville.
A different committee this week, the House Transportation Committee's Safety and Funding Subcommittee, blocked legislation that would have eliminated the use of unmanned traffic cameras for issuing citations without another type of evidence.
“The American justice system, the form of law that we have in the United States, dictates that first a person maintains their innocence until the state brings overwhelming evidence to provide for their guilt of a certain activity,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, told committee members.
Opposing members did not say why they voted against advancing the legislation.