HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO PROPERTY FORFEITURE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that civil asset forfeiture frequently leaves innocent citizens deprived of personal property without having ever been charged or convicted of any crime. This amounts to government-sponsored theft. The fair administration of justice means ensuring that not a single innocent individual's personal property is permanently seized without just cause and conviction, or compensation.
An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and the purpose of this Act is to end civil asset forfeiture without conviction, which undermines the fair administration of justice and the rule of law.
SECTION 2. Section 712A-5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (2) to read as follows:
"(2) Except that:
(a) Real property, or an interest therein, may be forfeited under the provisions of this chapter only in cases in which the covered offense is chargeable as a felony offense under state law;
(b) No property shall
be forfeited under this chapter to the extent of an interest of an owner[
reason of any act or omission established by that owner to have been
committed or omitted without the knowledge and consent of that owner;] by
(i) The commission of any covered offense unless the:
(A) Covered offense is chargeable as a felony offense under state law; and
(B) Owner has been convicted of the covered offense by a verdict or plea, including a no contest plea or a deferred acceptance of guilty plea or no contest plea; or
(ii) Any act or omission established by that owner to have been committed or omitted without the knowledge and consent of that owner;
provided that nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the seizure of property prior to conviction pursuant to section 712A-6.
(c) No conveyance used by any person as a common carrier in the transaction of a business as a common carrier is subject to forfeiture under this section unless it appears that the owner or other person in charge of the conveyance is a consenting party or privy to a violation of this chapter;
(d) No conveyance is
subject to forfeiture under this section by reason of any act or omission
established by the owner thereof to have been committed or omitted without the
owner's knowledge or consent; [
(e) A forfeiture of a
conveyance encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to the
interest of the secured party if the secured party neither had knowledge of nor
consented to the act or omission[
(f) This chapter shall not apply to the forfeiture of an animal prior to disposition of criminal charges pursuant to section 711-1109.2."
SECTION 3. Section 712A-16, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (2) to read as follows:
"(2) All forfeited property and the sale proceeds
thereof, up to a maximum of three million dollars per year, not previously
transferred pursuant to [
subsection[ ]] (1)(a) of this section, [ shall,]
after payment of expenses of administration and sale, [ be distributed as
follows: (a) One quarter
shall be distributed to the unit or units of state or local government [whose]
officers or employees conducted the investigation and caused the arrest of the
person whose property was forfeited or seizure of the property for forfeiture; (b) One quarter
shall be distributed to the prosecuting attorney who instituted the action
producing the forfeiture; and (c) One half shall
be deposited into the criminal forfeiture fund established by this chapter.]
including reimbursement for any costs incurred by the department of the attorney general related to the seizure or storage of seized property, shall be deposited to the credit of the state general fund."
SECTION 4. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.
Attorney General; Penal Code; Forfeiture; Civil Assets
Prohibits civil asset forfeiture unless the covered offense is a felony for which the property owner has been convicted. Excludes the forfeiture proceedings for an animal pending criminal charges. Requires the Attorney General to deposit the net proceeds of the forfeited property to the credit of the state general fund. (SD2)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.