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Blog

Court orders return of an innocent man's money, but the federal government isn't letting it go

Straughn Gorman was driving on Interstate 80 in Elko County, Nevada in January 2013 when he was pulled over by a state patrolman for driving too slowly in the passing lane. The patrolman asked to search Gorman's recreational vehicle, but Gorman, a resident of Hawaii, did not consent. Though the patrolman let him go without so much as a warning or traffic citation, it appears he arranged for an Elko County sheriff's deputy who had a drug-sniffing dog to pull him over.

08/18/2015
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Blog

You've probably broken the law, and you don't even know it

In April 1790, the first Congress passed the Crimes Act, a law that established a criminal code in the United States. The Constitution listed only three crimes -- counterfeiting, piracy, and treason. The Crimes Act codified those crimes and added a little more than a dozen others, including murder, larceny, and perjury. The list of federal offenses was short and easily defined.

08/17/2015
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Op-ed Placement

No more costly mandatory minimum sentences

BY Jason Pye and Marc Levin

Recent rulings at the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage and Obamacare are high-profile reminders that there is not much the left and right agrees on in this country. But yet another new bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, introduced recently by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) with the support of almost two dozen other Republicans and Democrats, shows that one thing we do agree on is that this country locks too many people up for too long at too high a price.

08/14/2015
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Blog

Wyoming lawmakers are preparing to take another look at reforms to protect innocent people from government overreach

After a disappointing defeat last year at the hands of Gov. Matt Mead (R-Wyo.), Wyoming state lawmakers will consider two separate proposals that would protect innocent property owners from government overreach. The Legislature's Joint Judiciary Committee will review the draft language of both bills at a meeting in Gillette on Thursday.

08/12/2015
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Op-ed Placement

Juvenile justice reforms would save money and spare nonviolent youths

In the 2013 documentary Kids for Cash, director Robert May told the stories of several young offenders from Pennsylvania whose lives were up-ended by the dysfunctional juvenile-justice system.

08/12/2015
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Blog

Congress is closer than ever to enacting justice reform

The House of Representatives has already adjourned for the August recess. The Senate is expected to finish up its business this week before members leave Washington. The recess will not be a quiet one for members. They are gearing up for several tricky legislative initiatives and battles when they return in September, among which will be justice reform.

08/05/2015
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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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Blog

Conservatives and progressives come together to protect innocent Oklahomans property rights

The effort to reform Oklahoma's terrible civil asset forfeiture laws has brought together unlikely bedfellows from the ideologically opposed think tanks. In an op-ed published on Sunday, Terry England, vice president for strategic initiatives at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, and Gene Perry, policy director at the Oklahoma Policy Institute, explained the perilous situation that property owners in which innocent Sooner State residents could find themselves under current state law.

08/03/2015
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Blog

ObamaCare's co-op programs aren't meeting enrollment goals, losing millions of dollars

When the so-called "public option" single-payer healthcare program was scrapped during the legislative "debate" over ObamaCare in 2009, lawmakers working on the bill created the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program as a compromise. The non-profit co-op program is meant to compete with private, for-profit health insurance plans in the individual and small group markets. The 2010 healthcare law provided $3.4 billion in start-up funding to help get the program off the ground.

07/31/2015
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Michigan police endorse reforms to protect innocent property owners from government overreach

Abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws can harm law enforcement's vital relationships with communities, especially at a time when their activities are coming under heightened scrutiny. Realizing this, the Michigan Association of Police Organizations has endorsed a package of eight reform bills working through the Michigan Legislature that would overhaul the state's civil asset forfeiture laws to provide more protections for innocent property owners.

07/31/2015

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