- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia House panel has approved a measure aimed at preventing law enforcement agencies from taking someone’s property through the asset forfeiture process.

The House panel voted Wednesday in favor of a legislation proposed by Spotsylvania Republican Del. Mark Cole that would only allow asset forfeiture to take place after a criminal conviction.

Cole said it was “un-American” for the government to be able to take someone’s property absent a conviction.

But several law enforcement agencies spoke out against the bill, saying the asset forfeiture program helped deter crime by undermining the “profit motive” of engaging in criminal enterprises.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced sweeping changes last week to a federal civil asset forfeiture program.

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