Alleged controversy concerning public sale or auction of forfeited property may be put to rest if Senate Bill 97 is passed and signed into law.
Dist. 36 Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton said he filed the bill after what he described as a dispute erupted between Bossier-Webster District Attorney Schuyler Marvin and Inquisitor owner/publisher Danny Lawler, who conducts public auctions.
"Schuyler (Marvin) has a chief investigator who has his own auction firm, so what's happening is the vehicles and stuff they (law enforcement) seize are being auctioned by his investigator's firm, and his investigator's making money off that," Adley said. "For me, that's probably the wrong way to go about it, but those auctions are not public because the (state) Attorney General (James "Buddy" Caldwell) gave Marvin a ruling saying that as long as they use a licensed auctioneer, they don't have to make it public."
Adley said after Caldwell rendered the opnion, he filed SB 97 which "clarifies that any auciton of property forfeited under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law is to be a public auction."
The bill also retains present law, which "provides that when property is forfeited under the provisions of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law, the district attorney is to authorize a public sale or an auction conducted by a licensed auctioneer, without appraisal, of whatever forfeited property that is not required by law to be destroyed and that is not harmful to the public."
"If my bill passes, an auction can be conducted through Lawler's firm or the investigator ... any way he wants to, but it will be a public auction," Adley said.
SB 97 is pending introduction in the House of Representatives.