SB 8 (Asset Forfeiture Reform) Signed into Law as Act 13

(Harrisburg) – Today, Senator Mike Folmer (R-48) and Senator Joe Scarnati’s (R-25) Senate Bill 8, to reform Pennsylvania’s Asset Forfeiture Law, was signed into law as Act 13 of 2017.

“Act 13 represents over two years of work by many different groups, and makes significant asset forfeiture reforms as the status quo didn’t provide adequate protections for property owners,” Senator Folmer said.  “This is a step towards smarter forfeiture practices to provide various protections to property owners.”  

Key Reforms in SB 8 Include: 

  • Higher burdens of proof imposed on the Commonwealth.
  • Protections for third party owners by placing additional burdens of proof on the Commonwealth.
  • Improved transparency in auditing and reporting at both the county and state levels.
  • Specific and additional protection in real property cases by prohibiting the pre-forfeiture seizure of real property without a hearing.
  • Additional procedural protections for property owners, such as returning property to the forfeiture proceeding if there is undue hardship, and an extra level of protection for anyone acquitted of a related crime who is trying to get their property back.