The Montana Supreme Court says citizens have a right to trial by jury before the state can take private property in civil forfeiture cases, a ruling that bolsters a law that state legislators passed last year to limit police seizures.Nice to see sanity in one of the big square states.
Tuesday's unanimous ruling by the high court puts Montana in line with most other states that have upheld jury trials in civil forfeiture proceedings.
"After consideration of both American and English common law, federal jurisprudence and decisions from our sister states ... we join the majority of states and federal courts and conclude that there is a right to trial by jury," Justice Laurie McKinnon wrote in the opinion.
05 November 2016
The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that jury trials are required in all cases of civil asset forfeiture: