Hawaii lawmakers look to audit civil asset forfeiture unit - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii lawmakers look to audit civil asset forfeiture unit

By MARINA STARLEAF RIKER
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers want to know how often police are seizing people's property, and what happens with money they make from selling it.

Right now, law enforcement can take Hawaii residents' property without a conviction as long as it's tied to a crime. Then, they can sell it and keep the profits.

But lawmakers say that can promote abuse of the state's civil asset forfeiture law. In response, they're considering a resolution to ask for an audit to figure out how law enforcement and prosecutors are using money made from selling seized property. It would also examine how many times property was seized in cases where there weren't convictions.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii says the state has one of the worst asset forfeiture laws in the nation.

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