A boy born to Justine and Riley Whitt of Worland on Feb. 20, 2015
Feb. 27 10:32 a.m. 342 Hwy. 20 N
Worland temperatures: High 24, Low 9
Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 28.
Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13.
Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 33.
Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12.
Tuesday: A 50 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 16. Blustery.
Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -9.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 17.
Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around -1.
Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 35.
Sunset tonight: 4:27 p.m.
Sunrise tomorrow: 7:33 a.m.
DAILY NEWS photo by Sisco Molina
Thermopolis’ Ryan Bradshaw looks to the ref for a pin during his 132-pound quarterfinal match against Moorcroft’s Marcus Lawrance at the Wyoming High School State Class 2A Wrestling Championships at the Casper Events Center Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Bradshaw would win the match by technical fall 16-1.
Senate votes not to override veto on asset-forfeiture bill
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Senate on Friday voted not to override
Gov. Matt Mead's veto of a bill that would have made it harder for
police and prosecutors to seize property from people they believe have
been involved in drug crimes.
Mead last week vetoed a Senate bill that would have required a person be convicted of a drug felony before their property could be seized by the state. Under the current law, police may confiscate property, including cash, if they believe the property is linked to a crime.
Mead, a former U.S. Attorney for Wyoming, said he doesn't believe Wyoming has seen abuses of its existing forfeiture law that would justify changing it.
In his veto letter to Senate President Sen. Phil Nicholas, R-Laramie, Mead said that he appreciated the Legislature's work on the bill. He recognizes that civil forfeiture proceedings have been abused in some states, Mead said.
"Here in Wyoming law enforcement officers — prosecutors, sheriffs, police officer, the Attorney General — have used civil forfeiture as a legitimate tool against those who would profit from the destruction caused by drugs," the governor wrote.
The Senate voted 23-to-7 on Friday against overriding the veto. Several senators questioned whether this was the appropriate bill on which to exercise their veto-override power. Overriding the veto would have required a two-thirds vote in both houses.
Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, warned his colleagues that the Wyoming Attorney General had commented that enacting the bill would remove an existing tool in the state's fight against the drug trade.
"If in fact, you can't determine who owns that money, therefore you'll not be able to get that conviction," Bebout said. "So should we take that money or not take that money?"
Bebout said he believes that the state's 23 elected county prosecutors will make the correct decisions on how to handle cases and are held accountable by the voters.
Sen. Tony Ross, R-Cheyenne, also urged lawmakers to exercise caution in considering a veto override. He said the Legislature may consider the issue again, and said bills can improve from being reworked over several years.
Sen. Leland Christensen, R-Alta, spoke in favor of the bill, saying it's about property rights and the seizure of personal property.
"Today, we have a civil process with no clear standard," Christensen said. Some asset seizures have been based on nothing more than a seed or a scrap of marijuana or exhibiting suspicious or nervousness behavior, he said.
"Today, the state can take your cash, your car, etc.," said Christensen, who has worked in law enforcement. It's easy to assume that the forfeiture situation is something that will only befall other people, he said.
But Christensen added: "It might be your neighbor, it might be your neighbor's child."
The Legislature had heard from the state's banking industry in favor of the bill, saying that it would help protect third-party property owners, Christensen said.
Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, cited a number of constitutional provisions in favor of the bill, including that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law."
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