Measure 53

Explanatory Statement

In November 2000 voters amended the Oregon Constitution by approving the Oregon Property Protection Act of 2000. The amendment imposed several restrictions on the ability of state and local governments to civilly forfeit property. This measure would modify some of the restrictions on civil forfeiture of property.

The constitution currently requires that a person's property may be forfeited only if the person is convicted of a crime. In addition, the forfeiting agency must show by clear and convincing evidence that the property was an instrumentality of that crime, or proceeds of that crime.

This measure would allow civil forfeiture of instrumentalities and proceeds of other crimes that are similar to the crime that a person is convicted of committing, even though the person is not convicted of committing those other crimes. The measure requires notice to the person and opportunity to challenge the seizure and forfeiture.

This measure would also specify circumstances in which property may be forfeited without a criminal conviction. The measure would allow forfeiture if the person took the property with intent to defeat forfeiture, the person knew or should have known that the property constituted proceeds or instrumentality of criminal conduct, or the person acquiesced in the criminal conduct.

This measure also modifies the standard of proof in civil forfeiture proceedings, requiring proof by preponderance of evidence to forfeit personal property, and proof by clear and convincing evidence to forfeit real property. The measure makes an exception for cash, weapons or negotiable instruments found in close proximity to controlled substances or instrumentalities of criminal conduct, providing that claimant must prove by preponderance of evidence that the property is not subject to forfeiture.

This measure provides that forfeiture of animals is not subject to the Oregon Property Protection Act of 2000.

This measure removes the prohibition on using forfeited property for law enforcement purposes, and removes the cap on the amount of property that may be applied against the costs of the forfeiture proceeding.

This measure makes various other housekeeping amendments to the Oregon Property Protection Act of 2000.

(This impartial statement explaining the measure was provided by the 2007 Legislature.)