NM Gov, A Former Prosecutor, Signs Bill Curtailing Civil Asset Forfeiture


New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez does not like the term “policing for profit,” but she still signed into law 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 Albuquerque Journal reports. The civil asset forfeiture legislation was approved unanimously by both the New Mexico House and Senate. Martinez said that as a former prosecutor she understands the importance of protecting constitutional rights and innocent property owners.

The Republican governor took issue with the term “policing for profit,” which backers of the legislation 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, saying 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.

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