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Blog

Support Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform in Virginia

Civil asset forfeiture laws throughout the country are in need of substantial reform in order to protect citizens’ basic rights. Asset forfeiture practice consistently tramples over the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by violating due process rights. Not only does this practice violate crucial provisions of the Bill of Rights, but it also violates Article 1, Section 11 of the Virginia Constitution which states, “That no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

02/25/2016
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Blog

Iowa Senator Wants to Protect Innocent People's Property from the Clutches of Forfeiture

Nearly a year after The Des Moines Register's groundbreaking investigative report on abuse of Iowa's civil asset forfeiture laws, legislation was introduced in the Iowa Senate to reform the state's forfeiture laws to protect innocent property owners from this pernicious form of government overreach. Unfortunately, it appears lawmakers want to further study the issue before they consider changes.

02/23/2016
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Blog

Legislation in Virginia Protects Property Owners from Government Overreach

In 2012, Mandrel Stuart was stopped by Fairfax County police and detained without charges because his SUV had tinted windows. Not only was he handcuffed, but he was stripped of $17,550 in cash. Mr. Stuart intended to use that cash for equipment and supplies for his barbecue restaurant in Staunton, Virginia. After hiring a lawyer, a jury determined in 2013 that he was entitled to his money. However, he lost his restaurant in the process due to the financial stress of the circumstances.

02/17/2016
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Former Police Officer Explains Why Georgia Should Reform Its Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws

The effort to reform Georgia's terrible civil asset forfeiture laws received an unexpected boost Monday when Michael McNeely, 1st Vice Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party and a former police officer, presented a compelling case for changes recently introduced by state Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs). Turner's legislation, HB 832, would make a slight tweak to Georgia forfeiture law that would require judges to stay forfeiture proceedings until prosecutors obtain a criminal conviction.

02/15/2016
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Blog

Oklahoma Senator Seeks CAF Reform: Round 2

State Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) seeks to introduce SB 838, the Personal Asset Protection Act, for the upcoming Oklahoma legislative session which begins February 1, 2016. Sen. Loveless originally introduced his bill for civil asset forfeiture reform last year on May 6, 2015, towards the end of the 2015 session. While SB 838 died in committee for 2015, Sen. Loveless used the legislature’s recess period as a time to conduct research and promote discussion regarding the state of civil asset forfeiture in Oklahoma. He strongly believes that abuse through use of civil asset forfeiture "[I]s something that is happening in states across the country, so it would be naïve to believe that it could not happen in Oklahoma."

02/01/2016
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Blog

Illinois: A State that Steals

Seventy-one-year-old grandmother, Judith Wiese, is just now getting back her car months after it was stolen. The thief? The state of Illinois.

01/21/2016
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Now Is the Time to Act on Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

Santa Claus came a little earlier for those who have been urging for changes to federal civil asset forfeiture laws. The Department of Justice sent a letter to state and local law enforcement agencies notifying them that it would defer equitable sharing payments due to budget constraints. The step is temporary, as the Department of Justice wants to resume the program at a later time.

12/28/2015
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Op-ed Placement

Fix Forfeiture Laws in Buckeye State

“I had no idea something like this could happen in America.” That’s what Antoinette Lattimore, a resident of North College Hill near Cincinnati, said about the seizure of the $19,660 in cash she was carrying on a road trip in 2013 to Tucson, Arizona, where she hoped to purchase African art.

12/04/2015
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Wyoming Renews Efforts to Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture

Members of the Joint Judiciary Committee in Wyoming have chosen to sponsor a bill which will introduce reforms to civil asset forfeiture practice within the state. The bill does not contain changes as extensive as a previous bill in early 2015.

11/12/2015
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Where Does Your State Rank?: New Report Offers Look at State Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public-interest law firm, has released an update of its groundbreaking 2010 report, Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture. The report offers a detailed look at state civil asset forfeiture laws and grades them based on the standard of evidence prosecutors need to subject property and cash to forfeiture, whether the burden of proof falls on the government or the property owner, and the percentage of funds law enforcement received from forfeited property.

11/10/2015

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