California Health and Safety Code Section 11469
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In order to ensure the proper utilization of the laws permitting the seizure and forfeiture of property under this chapter, the Legislature hereby establishes the following guidelines:
(a) Law enforcement is the principal objective of forfeiture. Potential revenue must not be allowed to jeopardize the effective investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses, officer safety, the integrity of ongoing investigations, or the due process rights of citizens.
(b) No prosecutor's or sworn law enforcement officer's employment or salary shall be made to depend upon the level of seizures or forfeitures he or she achieves.
(c) Whenever appropriate, prosecutors should seek criminal sanctions as to the underlying criminal acts which give rise to the forfeiture action.
(d) Seizing agencies shall have a manual detailing the statutory grounds for forfeiture and all applicable policies and procedures. The manual shall include procedures for prompt notice to interestholders, the expeditious release of seized property, where appropriate, and the prompt resolution of claims of innocent ownership.
(e) Seizing agencies shall implement training for officers assigned to forfeiture programs, which training should be ongoing.
(f) Seizing agencies shall avoid any appearance of impropriety in the sale or acquisition of forfeited property.
(g) Seizing agencies shall not put any seized or forfeited property into service.
(h) Unless otherwise provided by law, forfeiture proceeds shall be maintained in a separate fund or account subject to appropriate accounting controls and annual financial audits of all deposits and expenditures.
(i) Seizing agencies shall ensure that seized property is protected and its value preserved.
(j) Although civil forfeiture is intended to be remedial by removing the tools and profits from those engaged in the illicit drug trade, it can have harsh effects on property owners in some circumstances. Therefore, law enforcement shall seek to protect the interests of innocent property owners, guarantee adequate notice and due process to property owners, and ensure that forfeiture serves the remedial purpose of the law.
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