NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A new state law has expanded criminal asset forfeiture for 12 statutes, mostly surrounding rape and kidnapping. It’s one of the first laws of its kind in the United States.
The new law means criminals who violate those laws could lose their homes, cars, weapons, and any property involved in the commission of the crime.
State Representative Brandon Ogles of Williamson County sponsored the bill (HB 2271) and explained that if someone kidnaps a person in their car, police can seize the vehicle. If someone rapes another person in his or her house, police can take the home.
“Before in Tennessee, we only targeted large-scale narcotics traffickers and large-scale human traffickers as far as asset forfeiture. Now every county in the state of Tennessee for a rape offense, for a kidnapping offense, we can take property, we can take assets, we can take anything in the commission of a crime,” Ogles said.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, human trafficking is the second-fastest growing criminal industry just behind drug trafficking. Ogles hopes this new legislation helps reduce the problem in Tennessee.
“We’re having a national crisis and there’s lots of opinions why this is happening. But the bottom line is it needs to stop,” Ogles said. “We’re happy in Tennessee to sponsor legislation and pass bills and let people know that will not be tolerated in the state.”
The bill passed the Tennessee House and Senate unanimously and was signed by Governor Bill Lee in May.
The law went into effect on July 1, 2022.