The civil asset forfeiture process allows law enforcement to take property and belongings from someone, even if they are not arrested or convicted of a crime. Hoping to make this system more fair and transparent, Illinois adopted significant reforms to the civil asset forfeiture process in 2018. But we need to improve the system of data collection about civil asset forfeiture to assess how those changes are working and if any further action should be taken.
Effective data collection should tell us a story about the individuals, families, and communities that are most directly impacted by our policies and laws, not just how much money is being collected from them. Current CAF data collection has left us with a story that is missing pages, if not whole chapters, of important information to best inform the legislature’s decision-making.
House Bill 3038 improves the substance and process of data collected about civil asset forfeiture cases across the state of Illinois. Among other things, the bill would require the reporting of:
- The initial seizure, including the basis for and location of the seizure;
- Demographic information about the individual accused of a crime;
- Any criminal charges against the individual and the outcome of those charges;
- The life cycle of the CAF case itself, including if property owners are asserting their rights and,
- The end result of that case and what happens to the property.
The bill also enhances the accessibility and transparency of data regarding civil asset forfeiture cases, including more information about which law enforcement agencies in Illinois are – and are not – engaged in civil asset forfeiture and more comprehensive reporting about the way in which funds are being used by seizing agencies. It ensures that the data collected is publicly available in an online case tracking and searchable database that will shed more light on civil asset forfeiture in Illinois.
The Institute for Justice grades states across the country on their process for managing civil asset forfeiture. Illinois gets low marks for data tracking and reporting, necessitating HB 3038.
TAKE ACTION - Contact your STATE REP. about this bill.
|Call 217-782-2000 to be connected to your state representative or state senator in Springfield, or look up their information here.|
|Email your state representative in support of HB 3038 here.|
|Schedule a visit with your senator or representative to talk about this bill. Find out more information about meeting with your legislator here.|
|Write your state representative or senator a letter or postcard. Find your representative's address here.|