Freedom Flix

Ending Forfeiture Abuse: How States Can Be Tough on Crime and Respect Property Rights

 

 

Civil asset forfeiture is one of the greatest threats to private property rights in our nation today.  Law enforcement can take your property without even charging you with a crime. 

According to reports from the Institute for Justice, law enforcement agencies frequently fail to disclose what they seize or how they use the proceeds. Failure to report only makes this already bad problem worse.

State legislatures must enact comprehensive forfeiture reform to protect private property by (1) requiring that individuals be convicted of a crime before title to their property is transferred to the state, (2) ensuring that forfeiture proceeds do not become a slush fund for law enforcement, and (3) protecting innocent owners by shifting the burden to prosecutors to prove that a third-party did not consent or have actual knowledge about a crime before he loses his property. 

Police and prosecutors should be chasing criminals, not profits, but allowing the law enforcement to keep the proceeds of forfeited property gives them a direct financial incentive to abuse their power.   Fair and impartial law enforcement cannot exist as long as policing for profit is allowed.

Going to court to get your property back is no simple task. The state forces you to enter an upside down legal world where you must prove your property is innocent instead of requiring the government to prove you are guilty of a crime.

The legal process is so rigged that even an innocent owner needs a lawyer and must wait months for a hearing to get back seized property. The laws need to be changed to protect property owners who are wrongly dragged into the forfeiture process through no fault of their own.

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Freedom Flix

The Institute for Justice is always looking for new ways to promote the message of freedom. To that end, IJ produced the following videos in-house to tell the stories of our clients and their fight for individual liberty.

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   The Forfeiture Machine Turns Cops into Robbers (3:50)
The most terrifying place in Philadelphia is Courtroom 478 in City Hall. This is where property owners enter Philadelphia’s Civil Forfeiture Machine.
   Gov't grabs elderly man's home; won't give reason (4:10)
New Jersey’s CRDA is trying to use eminent domain to seize Charlie Birnbaum's property as part of a “mixed-use development” project. The trouble is that CRDA has no concrete plans to do anything in particular with it.
   The Top 6 Craziest Things Cops Spent Forfeiture Money On (1:07)
Under civil asset forfeiture, police can seize property suspected of involvement in criminal activity.
   Behind the Scenes of the Caswell Forfeiture Victory (5:58)
Last January, a federal court in Massachusetts dismissed a civil forfeiture action against the Motel Caswell, a family-run motel in Tewksbury, handing a complete victory to owners Russell and Patricia Caswell.
   Out of control Feds raid family grocery store’s checking account over innocent bank deposits (1:45)
Government bullies are taking the little guy's milk money.
   Ending Forfeiture Abuse: How States Can Be Tough on Crime and Respect Property Rights (7:32)
Civil asset forfeiture is one of the greatest threats to private property rights in our nation today.  Law enforcement can take your property without even charging you with a crime. According to reports from the Institute for Justice, law enforcement..
   POLICING FOR PROFIT: Feds try to take innocent elderly couples' Mom-and-Pop motel (2:47)
Seeking to circumvent state law and cash in on the profits, the Tewksbury Police Department is working with the U.S. Department of Justice to take and sell the Caswells property because a tiny fraction of people who have stayed at the Motel Caswell...
   If a Police Dog "Alerts," Should You Lose Your Cash, Car and Other Property? (2:42)
IJ attorneys Darpana Sheth and Scott Bullock explain IJ's new amicus brief about civil forfeiture. Learn more at this link: http://www.ij.org/l-l-10-12-ij-amicus-brief-alerts-high-court-to-abuse-of-civil-forfeiture-using-drug-dogs
   EPIC EMINENT DOMAIN BATTLE: Inner-City Kids, Boxing Gym Fight Back (4:51)
A San Diego-area boxing gym that serves at-risk kids is showing what it takes to fight for what is right and to win. The Community Youth Athletic Center (CYAC) is fighting to keeps it's gym from land-hungry developers bent on eminent domain for private ga
   Scorched Earth: Eminent Domain Abuse in the Gardens of Mount Holly (6:57)
The township of Mount Holly, N.J., has been systematically destroying the Gardens—a close-knit community of over 300 garden-style row homes—for the past decade. Officials want to hand the property over to Keating Urban Partners, for luxury townhomes and a
   Kelo: Five Years Later (3:51)
   Policing for Profit - The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture (2:30)
If police suspect that you committed a crime, they can arrest you and put you on trial. But if police suspect your car was involved in a crime, they can take it, sell it and, in most places, pocket the proceeds to pad their budgets.
   San Tan Flat & The Fight Against Arbitrary Government Power (3:07)
   Lori Ann Vendetti & Property Rights (4:29)
   The Story of Susette Kelo (11:00)
   The Story of Randy Bailey (9:10)

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