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.

Read more

 

Embed on your site:




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.

None of this — the cases or these videos — would be possible without the continued generosity of our donors. We hope you enjoy them and share them with those who need a little inspiration.

Subscribe to our videos via iTunes or YouTube.


   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.
   The Fight for Braiding Freedom (5:35)
Since the advent of hair braiding more than 5,000 years ago, it has been a simple and safe practice that government has no business regulating. African-style hair braiding uses no dyes or chemicals, and it is safe for braiders to perform.
   Food Trucks and Carts Are Just as Clean as Restaurants (1:07)
Research compares food-safety inspection scores of food trucks, food carts and restaurants in seven major American cities—and finds that street eats are safe eats. www.ij.org/vending
   Licensed Dentist Attacked for Charging Too Little (2:23)
When is it illegal for a licensed dentist in Arkansas to clean teeth? When he also happens to be a licensed orthodontist.
   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.
   Gov't to Citizens: Want Free Speech? Take a number. (1:15)
Can the gov't pass a law saying that only the first 12 people to vote in an election get to vote for every office, or that only the first 12 people who arrive at church get to stay for the entire sermon?
   Ariz. Supreme Court Declares Edu. Choice Program Constitutional (2:04)
The Arizona Supreme Court announced today that it will not review a unanimous Court of Appeals' decision that declared Arizona's Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program passes constitutional muster.
   Gov't Says "Naaayyyy" to Horse Massage (1:59)
The Ariz. State Veterinary Medical Examining Board wants to throw entrepreneurs who massage animals without a veterinary license into jail and fine them $3,500 per violation.
   Let Kids Escape Failing North Carolina Schools (3:09)
IJ has intervened to defend North Carolina's Opportunity Scholarship Program for low income parents like Cynthia Perry.
   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.
   Little American Dream Factory: Chicago Bureaucrats Put the Brakes on an Innovative Business (5:02)
The story of Zina Murray, her innovative business, and how Chicago killed it along with the dreams of fifteen other entrepreneurs.
   City Forces Homeowners to Destroy Veggie Garden (0:51)
May the government prohibit you from peacefully and productively using your own property to feed your family?
   Raw Deal: Raw Milk Farmers Fight Censorship (3:15)
In Oregon, it is perfectly legal for farmers to sell raw—or unpasteurized—milk...so long as they don’t talk about it. If they do, they face huge fines and jail time.
   Half-baked: Gov't Restricts Homemade Cookie Sales (1:56)
Can the government arbitrarily restrict where home-baking entrepreneurs can sell their treats or how much they can sell?
   Terms of Engagement: More Constitution Less Government (1:39)
The Constitution was designed to limit government power and protect individuals from the tyranny of majorities and interest-group politics. But those protections are meaningless without judges who are fully committed to enforcing them, and America's judge
   Handcuffed hairbraider sues in federal court for right to teach (2:41)
Braiders Aren't Barbers: African Hairbraider Takes Texas to Federal Court Over Economic Liberty.
   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.
   Gov’t Forces Businesses to Overcharge Customers (1:44)
It shouldn’t be illegal for businesses to give their customers a better deal.
   Sacramento's Sign Police vs. The First Amendment and Got Muscle Health Club (2:11)
The City of Sacramento bans businesses from using sandwich boards, banners and other portable signs and is now enforcing its ban against the owners of a small independent gym, Carl and Elizabeth Fears.

Email Address
Please enter a valid email address
Share

Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
© 1997-2014