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Recent Abuse of Forfeiture Law Highlights Need for Reform in Oklahoma

FreedomWorks has been a strong supporter of civil asset forfeiture reform. In the past we’ve put forward stories like that of Mandrel Stuart whose money was seized by the Fairfax County police, leading to the eventual loss of his restaurant. Another case in North Carolina saw Lyndon McClellan’s bank account wrongfully seized by the Internal Revenue Service.

3 days ago
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Oklahoma and Georgia Governors Sign Conservative Justice Reform Bills into Law

This past Wednesday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a package of justice reform bills into law, making the Sooner State the latest conservative state to adopt these “smart-on-crime” policies. That same day, Gov. Nathan Deal, on the other side of the country in Georgia, signed a smaller justice reform package into law, expanding on the state’s already impressive portfolio of justice reform initiatives. With the simultaneous adoption of these justice reform measures into law, conservative states like Oklahoma and Georgia are the pioneers in effective justice reform.

04/28/2016
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Justice Reform Package Passes through Oklahoma Legislature, Soon to be Signed into Law

In recent years, several conservative states have been at the forefront in tackling justice reform. As documented in the report Federalism in Action: How Conservative States Got Smart on Crime, states like Texas and Georgia have been able to cut back on total prison expenditures while also reducing rates of incarceration and recidivism. Now, Oklahoma is looking to emulate these great success stories, as a series of justice reform bills recently passed through the House and Senate. All that is left is the signature of Governor Mary Fallin, and Oklahoma will become the next state to implement a “smart-on-crime” approach to criminal justice.

04/22/2016
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Blog

Justice Reform Legislation on the Move in Oklahoma

Three bills that would overhaul Oklahoma's sentencing policies and another offering more drug treatment programs are moving toward a final vote in the state Senate. The bills, which have already cleared the state House of Representatives are part of the latest effort to overhaul Oklahoma's criminal justice system to make it more efficient, reduce recidivism, and enhance public safety.

04/06/2016
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In Search of State Pension Reform

Recently, the public debt crisis in Puerto Rico has sparked widespread discussion about the need for public pension reform. The island territory is already $72 billion in debt, with shortfalls in the public pension fund of up to $30 billion. Without major changes in government spending patterns, Puerto Rico is in danger of becoming insolvent, sending the already brittle economy into a death spiral. While many on the left call for the immediate restructuring of Puerto Rico’s debt, the island’s plight is just the latest example of a state or territory misusing and abusing their public pension system, demonstrating the dire need for reform.

03/31/2016
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Oklahoma to Continue Trend of Conservative Justice Reforms

While the junior senator from neighboring Arkansas continues to seriously mischaracterize legislation designed to reform the federal sentencing and corrections policies, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signaled in her State of the State address Monday that she is ready to continue the trend of conservative states acting on justice reform.

02/01/2016
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Oklahomans Overwhelmingly Support Legislation to End Civil Asset Forfeiture

Legislation introduced in Oklahoma to require a criminal conviction before property can be forfeited to the government has strong backing from likely voters in the Sooner State, according to a survey released on Thursday. The survey also found strong support for law enforcement in the state. This highlights that support of civil asset forfeiture reform and appreciation for those who protect and survey communities are not mutually exclusive.

09/28/2015
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Elderly Oklahoma couple experienced government overreach first-hand in a botched raid

In March 2012, Linda Goss was in her residence at 238 Navajo Place in Mannford, Oklahoma, a small town located about 25 miles west of Tulsa, waiting for her husband, Donald, to return from a fishing trip, when deputies from the Creek County Sheriff's Department raided their home. Deputies were executing a search obtained by Deputy Scott Forrester. The only problem is, deputies raided the wrong home, beginning a nightmare for the Gosses in which they were wrongly detained and their property was seized on false premises.

09/09/2015
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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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