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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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71% of Americans Believe Property Shouldn't Be Taken Without a Conviction

A recent survey conducted by YouGov shows an overwhelming percentage of Americans believe the government should be able to seize cash or property only if the owner is convicted of a crime. The results of the survey are the latest to show that Americans believe reforms are necessary to reform the justice system, some of which are detailed in a FreedomWorks' publication, A Look Inside Justice Reform Polling.

09/24/2015
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No charges filed in more than a third of Oklahoma civil asset forfeiture cases

The presumption of innocence is a basic principle of the American legal system. Americans are presumed innocent of any allegations of illicit activity until proven guilty by the government in court. But this principle does not apply to civil asset forfeiture in most states, including Oklahoma.

09/02/2015
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Preserving the Fifth Amendment is the key to civil asset forfeiture reform in Oklahoma

On Tuesday, Oklahoma state Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) hosted a panel of national experts to discuss the Sooner State's civil asset forfeiture laws. State Sen. Loveless invited me to speak via Skype, and my prepared remarks can be read below. Other panelists included John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation and Adam Bates of the Cato Institute.

09/01/2015
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Donald Trump versus the Founding Fathers: Private property rights are the cornerstone of liberty

Private property has always had a unique place in American society. The Founding Fathers recognized that government exists to protect private property. They were influenced by Enlightenment-era philosophers John Locke and Adam Smith, who believed the right to property was a fundamental, natural right. Donald Trump, however, appears to believe that private property can be taken on a whim by the influential and politically-connected.

08/25/2015
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Blog

Yes, civil asset forfeiture denies innocent people of their right to due process

Oklahoma has some of the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the country. According to FreedomWorks' state scorecard, Civil Asset Forfeiture: Grading the States, the standard of proof the government needs to subject property allegedly connected to a crime to forfeiture is too low and, in an inversion of justice, the property owner, who may never be charged with a crime, must show that the property was obtained through legal means to get it back. Additionally, a perverse profit motive exists, as Oklahoma law enforcement agencies can keep up to 100 percent of the proceeds from forfeitures.

08/04/2015
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Desert Snow: The company that teaches the government how to take innocent people's property

Over the last several weeks, FreedomWorks has released two publications discussing in detail the problems with civil asset forfeiture. First, we released Civil Asset Forfeiture: Grading the States, which, as the title suggests, functions as a scorecard on states' civil asset forfeiture laws. More recently, we published From High Seas to Highway Robbery: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Became One of the Worst Forms of Government Overreach, which offers historical background on this concerning area of the law.

07/28/2015
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Lawsuit seeks to protect innocent property owners from Arizona's unconstitutional forfeiture laws

Arizona's civil asset forfeiture laws lack any real protections for law-abiding citizens and their property. In direct contradiction with the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which guarantee the right of due process, the property owner, who may never be charged with a crime, bears the burden to prove that his property is innocent before he can get it back. That is why the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Arizona's forfeiture laws.

07/24/2015
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House Judiciary Committee Revisits Kelo, Decides State of Property Rights Not Good

Ten years ago, the United States Supreme Court effectively scratched the line “for public use” from the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which allows the government to take and repurpose private property. The 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London said that property may be taken from one private owner and given to another private owner if it will generate more revenue for the city.

07/10/2015
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Horne v. Dep’t of Ag: Raisins are Property Too

Ten years after the Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London, almost to the day, the Court, in Horne v. Department of Agriculture, protected property rights in an 8-1 decision. The Court held that the government must pay just compensation when taking personal property, just as it does when taking real property.

06/23/2015

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