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GOP-controlled Michigan House passes a comprehensive civil asset forfeiture reform package

On Thursday, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bipartisan package of eight bills that would overhaul the state's civil asset forfeiture laws to offer more protections for innocent property owners. The Wolverine State is just the latest to advance reforms that curtail this pernicious brand of government overreach.

06/05/2015
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Pennsylvania lawmakers introduce legislation to protect innocent property owners from government overreach

Christo Sourovelis was surprised, in May 2014, to find out that his 22-year-old son, Yanni, was selling $40 worth of drugs out of the family's suburban Philadelphia home. His son, who had never been in trouble before, was arrested and sentenced to a diversion program because of his status as a first-time offender. One would think that justice was served, with the young offender learning a valuable lesson and, hopefully, spared from being caught up in the system.

06/04/2015
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Congress doesn't need a commission to tell lawmakers that it's time for justice reform

There is significant transpartisan movement in the United States Senate to bring long overdue reforms to the justice system. A number of bills have already been introduced, including measures that would reform civil asset forfeiture statutes (FAIR Act), address mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent low-level offenders (Smarter Sentencing Act), and expungement or sealing the records of nonviolent offenders (REDEEM Act).

06/04/2015
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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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The FBI can't identify any major case developments under Section 215 of the Patriot Act

The Inspector General of the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed in a report released on Thursday that spying powers claimed under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act has "not identified any major case developments" through the controversial statue. The report covers a three-year period between 2007 through 2009 and notes that the nation's top domestic law enforcement agency tripled its use of Section 215 requests beginning in 2004.

05/26/2015
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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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Texas continues to pass meaningful justice reforms that will ease cost burdens on taxpayers

Doug Deason is a successful businessman from Dallas, Texas, whose life could have turned out much differently. When he was 17, Deason, who was raised in a wealthy family, and his friends raided a liquor cabinet at a neighbor's home. He was arrested, plead to a misdemeanor criminal trespassing charge, and sentenced to probation.

05/26/2015
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Rand Paul made the constitutional conservative case for justice reform in his nearly 11-hour filibuster

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered a nearly 11-hour constitutional seminar on Wednesday evening. He defended Americans’ civil liberties against problematic provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that have been broadly interpreted to allow the federal government to illegally conduct mass surveillance against law-abiding Americans.

05/21/2015
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FreedomWorks hosts bloggers for a unique, in-depth Justice Reform Briefing

What happens when you put 15 conservative and libertarian bloggers in a room at one of the most influential progressive organizations in the United States with their staff and journalists to discuss justice reform? As counterintuitive as it may seem given obvious ideological divides, the discussion was nothing short of profound and, perhaps to some in the room, even surprising as an unlikely alliance began to evolve.

05/20/2015
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Momentum is building in the Senate to get big government out of the courtroom

Over the last several years, many states, particularly where Republicans are in control, have looked for ways to get smarter on how they approach corrections. These states, such as Texas and Georgia, have seen tremendous success, and others are taking notice. Congress, however, has been slow to act on justice reform, even as the costs to taxpayers continues to grow due to the bad policies of the past.

05/20/2015

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