Court rulings restrict police seizures in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS— Two court rulings have limited police seizures in the state of Indiana.

U.S. District Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson partially has halted the seizure of vehicles in drug cases and related crimes in the state. She says state law violates due process because it doesn’t allow individuals to challenge a forfeiture before property is seized.

The state Court of Appeals has also ruled that an alert from a drug-sniffing dog isn’t enough evidence to seize cash that may be tied to drug trafficking.

Judge John Baker says a positive alert from a drug dog isn’t enough to tie the money to illegal activity because studies show that up to 90 percent of U.S. currency has drug residue.

The Legislature has an interim study committee reviewing the state’s forfeiture laws.

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