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Legislation on the move in California to protect innocent property owners from abuse of civil asset forfeiture

The California Senate considered a bill on Wednesday that would close a big loophole in the state's civil asset forfeiture laws that currently permits state and local law enforcement to use federal statutes to go after property believed to be connected to illicit activity.

06/03/2015
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Maryland's Republican governor misses a big opportunity to protect innocent private property owners

Maryland General Assembly sought to add Maryland to a growing list of states that have reformed their civil asset forfeiture laws. Some states, such as New Mexico and Montana, have enacted comprehensive reforms by eliminating this form of government overreach while others, like as Georgia, have strengthened transparency and reporting requirements.

05/26/2015
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This business owner fought IRS abuse of civil asset forfeiture and forced the government to return $107,000 of wrongfully seized cash

The Internal Revenue Service has agreed to give back nearly $108,000 it wrongfully seized from a North Carolina convenience store owner in July 2014. In dismissing the case against the seized cash, the powerful tax agency cited a policy change announced by the Justice Department in March that restricted civil asset forfeiture in so-called "structuring" cases where the individual from whom the money is seized is not charged with a crime.

05/20/2015
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Michigan lawmakers are taking action to protect innocent people from the state's backward civil asset forfeiture laws

Michigan lawmakers are forging ahead on a Republican-backed package of bills that would reform the state's civil asset forfeiture laws. The reforms would restore due process protections for innocent property owners and require law enforcement to be more transparent about how they are using the practice.

05/13/2015
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Oklahoma lawmaker comes under fire for trying to protect innocent people's property

State Sen Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) recognizes that Oklahoma lacks adequate protections for innocent people whose property is seized by overzealous law enforcement. With the Oklahoma Legislature set to adjourn at the end of May, he decided to begin a conversation about civil asset forfeiture reform.

05/12/2015
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Federal agents stole $16,000 from a kid on his way to Los Angeles to make a music video

Joseph Rivers is a 22-year-old who has a dream of making a music video. With help from his supportive family, he persevered and saved, raising $16,000 in cash to leave his hometown in Michigan for Los Angeles to see his dream become reality.

05/07/2015
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Montana Governor signs legislation to protect innocent property owners from government overreach

There's big news out of Montana. Gov. Steve Bullock signed legislation on Tuesday to protect innocent people and their property from civil asset forfeiture abuse by overzealous law enforcement.

05/05/2015
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IRS, Justice Department ignore civil asset forfeiture policy changes to target an innocent North Carolina business owner

Lyndon McLellan is the owner of a convenience store in Fairmont, North Carolina, a small town just up I-95 from the state's border with South Carolina. On the advice of a bank teller, McLellan began making deposits below $10,000 to save the bank burdensome paperwork required under the Bank Secrecy Act, a 1970 law aimed at deterring money laundering and a host of other crimes, including illicit drug activity.

05/04/2015
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Federal courts can't be trusted to protect innocent property owners

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has failed to uphold one of the most basic principles of the American legal system by allowing the forfeiture of more than $63,000 of cash to the government. The decision could have serious ramifications for innocent property owners in the Midwest.

04/29/2015
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New report details how the Justice Department encourages abuse of civil asset forfeiture

Southern California is known for many things: Hollywood, the Los Angeles Dodgers, a great punk rock scene, and amazing weather. Though the state is justifiably mocked for its significant budget programs and heavy regulatory burden, it has some of the better civil asset forfeiture laws in the country, though that isn't saying much considering how most states practically encourage abuse of this pernicious tool.

04/24/2015

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