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New Mexico Governor Signs Bill Prohibiting Civil Asset Forfeiture

April 10, 2015  | 

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (Photo: New Mexico Government)
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (Photo: New Mexico Government)

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed into law Friday a measure aimed at barring law enforcement from seizing money, cars or other types of property from people on civil grounds during an arrest or traffic stop on suspicion the property was connected to a crime.

The civil asset forfeiture legislation, House Bill 560, was approved unanimously by both the New Mexico House and Senate but Martinez did not act on the measure until today, her final day to sign or veto bills passed during the 60-day session, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

In an executive message explaining her decision to sign the bill, Martinez said that as a former prosecutor she understands the importance of protecting constitutional rights and innocent property owners.

However, the Republican governor took issue with the term “policing for profit,” which backers of the legislation have used to describe civil asset forfeiture.

“… I must make it clear that ‘policing for profit’ is an overused, oversimplified and cynical term that, in my opinion, disrespects our law enforcement officers,” Martinez wrote, adding the catch phrase impugns the motives of police officers.

The practice of civil asset forfeiture has funneled millions of dollars and property to state and local law enforcement agencies, some of which sent letters to the governor asking her to veto the legislation.

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

132&Bush @ 4/10/2015 7:26 PM

What you mean we have to convict someone before they are punished?

Eddie Pereira @ 4/11/2015 9:26 AM

It just continues to get easier being a crook in this country ... unbelievable

Jon Retired LEO @ 4/12/2015 12:57 PM

If you seize all of their blood money then they don't have any to hire the high powered defense attorneys.

kevin black @ 4/12/2015 5:05 PM

What an uneducated, useless governor you have in New Mexico. We will see how well that works when your counties and state has a budget shortfall. Go ahead and jump on the Obama, Holder band wagon. This is a tried and then proven program that has NO history of ever being misused on the federal level. Dumbass!!!!

Daniel Jefferson @ 4/12/2015 5:54 PM

One small step against this corrupting and outrageous scheme known as "asset forfeiture." Honest LEOs detest AF; greedy and corrupt ones love AF.

132&Bush @ 4/13/2015 2:31 PM

So Kevin and Jon what you are saying is the cops can steal anyone's money for no reason than they need the money? Ever hear something called due process? Anyone carrying money is guilty of something so you should take it, right?

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