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South Carolina Lawmakers File Bill To Reform Civil Forfeiture


A bi-partisan set of South Carolina lawmakers is making another push to allow state law enforcement to seize property only with a criminal conviction. The bill was filed today and includes more than 70 co-sponsors.

Republican Rep. Alan Clemmons credited a recent investigation by the Greenville News and Anderson Independent Mail for focusing attention on what he called “the ill of civil asset forfeiture.”

“There are too many instances of individuals who have seen their private property seized by the state or federal government and never so much as be charged with a crime,” said Clemmons. “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s wrong.”

Related Content: How Civil Forfeiture Benefits Law Enforcement In South Carolina And Who It Targets

That investigation found nearly one-fifth of people who had their assets seized over a three-year period weren’t charged with a crime.

Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said reforming the system is something Democrats and Republicans can agree on. 

“We have come together on this issue to say enough is enough South Carolina," Cobb-Hunter said. "We are going to stand for the citizens of this state to make sure their property is not seized unjustly."

Previous bills to reform the state’s civil forfeiture system never were assigned to a subcommittee. Clemmons said he’s been promised a speedy hearing on this one.

In North Carolina, a criminal conviction is required to seize assets in most cases.