LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Southland state lawmaker says she’s not giving up on legislation to restrict the ability of law enforcement to seize cash and other property from people who have not been convicted of a crime.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports State Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) told reporters she blames lobbyists for law enforcement agencies for descending on Sacramento “in unusual numbers” to kill Senate Bill 443.

Mitchell contends opponents used “exaggerated” and “inaccurate” claims to defeat her bill in the Assembly after it passed in the Senate in June.

“I believe it is a fundamental Constitutional right that you’re innocent until proven guilty, and if innocent, you should not lose your property to law enforcement,” said Mitchell.

Police and prosecutor groups have staunchly opposed the measure, arguing the legislation would make them lose out on money and impede investigations.

But Mitchell says that police departments “receive a direct financial benefit from the forfeiture of property confiscated by law officers during crime investigations which often never result in a related conviction nor, in many cases, even in an indictment.”

“For law enforcement to whine about the loss to their budgets is not the issue, The issue is they don’t have a right to these assets in the first place.”

Mitchell said she expects to raise the issue again next year.


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