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Op-ed Placement

Michigan's forfeiture laws must change to protect the innocent

Jaw-dropping is the only way to describe the testimony given by Ginnifer Hency, a mother of four children, delivered to the Michigan House Judiciary Committee in June. She recounted the nightmare her family experienced when her home was raided and looted by the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department in July 2014.

07/27/2015
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Here's why Oklahoma should eliminate the perverse profit motive behind civil asset forfeiture

Oklahoma state Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) introduced legislation near the end of the 2015 session hoping that it would begin a conversation about reform of the Sooner State's terrible civil asset forfeiture reform. His legislation, SB 838, the Personal Asset Protection Act, offers significant protections for innocent, law-abiding citizens. It would restore due process by requiring a criminal conviction before property connected with a crime can be seized by the government and would also direct the proceeds from forfeitures to the state's general fund.

07/16/2015
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Unlikely allies in the California Legislature urge colleagues to protect innocent people from abuse of federal forfeiture law

UPDATE: The Assembly Public Safety Committee unanimously approved SB 443 on Tuesday, though it was amended. The bill will have to go through the Appropriations Committee before it heads to the Assembly for a final vote. Because the bill was amended in committee, it will have to go back to the Senate for approval.

07/13/2015
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Law enforcement funding should come from Pennsylvania lawmakers, not from the property of innocent people

Pennsylvania has one of the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the country, in the country, but a recently introduced reform proposal would protect innocent people from this form of government overreach. Prosecutors in the Commonwealth are, however, aggressively trying to defend the pernicious practice, which is often used to go after property of law-abiding citizens.

07/10/2015
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Carrying cash is not a crime: DEA stole nearly $44,000 from a law-abiding entrepreneur

Vu Do, the owner of two nail salons in New York City, was traveling through John F. Kennedy International Airport in February on his way to California with nearly $44,000 in cash he had saved over a period of 20 years. He intended to loan the money to his two brothers who fell on tough times. Similar to the story of Charles Clarke, as Do was about to board his flight, a DEA agent, according to TechDirt, seized the cash under the suspicion that it was connected to illicit drug activity.

07/08/2015
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New Mexico's new protections for innocent property owners should not be weakened

In its most recent session, the New Mexico Legislature passed a comprehensive bill aimed at protecting innocent property owners from government overreach. Prior to the passage of HB 560, the Land of Enchantment lacked significant protections for innocent property owners, which earned the state a "D+" from the Institute for Justice.

07/06/2015
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Lawmakers take note: Americans believe a criminal conviction should be required before the government takes someone's property

Civil asset forfeiture is becoming a hot topic in the media. New stories of abuse, where innocent people's property and/or cash is seized by overzealous law enforcement, come out on a regular basis. FreedomWorks has highlighted several of these stories, including Joseph Rivers and Charles Clarke, both of whom lost their life savings of $16,000 and $11,000, respectively, through civil asset forfeiture.

07/02/2015
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Abuse of federal law allowed the government to steal this college student's life savings

Charles Clarke, after a long trip to visit relatives in Cincinnati between late 2013 and early 2014, was preparing to board a flight back to his home in Orlando when he was approached by local law enforcement working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They claimed a ticket agent said his checked bag smelled like marijuana and began asking him about his travel plans because he had purchased a one-way ticket. They also asked whether he was carrying any cash.

07/01/2015
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Reforms to protect innocent property owners from government overreach awaiting action in the Michigan Senate

In February, just after the start of the 2015 legislative session, Michigan House Republicans rolled out their action plan for the year. Among the issues included in the action plan was reform of the Wolverine State's civil asset forfeiture laws to promote transparency, accountability, and protect innocent people whose property may be wrongly seized by overzealous law enforcement.

06/30/2015
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Civil Asset Forfeiture: This is Pernicious Stuff, and FreedomWorks is Working to Change It

Jason Pye, Director of Justice Reform, represented FreedomWorks at a panel discussion called "Civil Asset Forfeiture: Undue Process and Overdue Reforms" on June 26 at Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, D.C.

06/29/2015

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