(KUTV) -- Utah Highway Patrol may have to return $500,000 that it seized during traffic stops.
The Utah Supreme Court voted unanimously against the Utah Highway Patrol, stating they violated state law Wednesday, according to a news release.
In the case Savely v. UHP, nearly a half a million dollars was taken through civil asset forfeiture. It was then transferred to the federal government in violation of state laws, which prohibit such transfers except in rare circumstances.
The Utah Supreme Court agreed that this case was not considered a rare circumstance.
"The public is rightly outraged by laws that allow the government to take property from people not charged with a crime, as was the case here," Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute said in a press release. "It's even worse when state laws designed to protect a property owner's rights are not followed by state agencies, which is why we're very pleased to see the state's highest court unanimously holding them accountable."
"We will be promoting more reforms in the upcoming legislative session that will address what the justices brought up in their opinion, and look forward to helping elected officials better protect the rights of property owners against these civil asset forfeiture cases," Boyack continued.