Court: Legislature can divert civil forfeiture money

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled that the state's General Assembly is within its rights to divert civil forfeiture proceeds for law enforcement purposes from a fund for schools.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports the court's majority recently said a constitutional requirement that civil forfeitures in the state must be paid into a fund that helps school districts pay for technology upgrades, building new schools and other projects doesn't mean that every penny must go to the fund.

Police and prosecutors have been permitted by Indiana law to divert for "expenses" a portion of the revenue generated through the seizure of property and cash connected to criminal enterprises — a process known as civil forfeiture. Taxpayers challenged how the distribution worked .

The court also is weighing a separate forfeiture case.

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