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New Jersey Assembly Passes Transparency Bill For Police Seizures

New Jersey Assembly Passes Transparency Bill For Police Seizures

The New Jersey Assembly unanimously passed a bill late Monday that would shine a light on “civil forfeiture,” which lets law enforcement seize property without ever charging the owner with a crime. In New Jersey, once property is forfeited, the government can then keep up to 100% of the proceeds, creating a perverse incentive to confiscate cash, cars and other valuables. Under the bill (S1963), county prosecutors would submit quarterly reports that detail an agency’s seizure and forfeiture activity, including if they filed any criminal charges when seizing property. S1963 would also require...

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Country Time Offers "Legal-Ade" to Pay Fine, Permit Fees For Kid Lemonade Stands

Country Time Lemonade is now offering “Legal-Ade” to help kid entrepreneurs who are being harassed by killjoy bureaucrats. Whenever a city demands a permit or slaps a fine against a kid’s lemonade stand, parents can upload an image of the fine or permit to send to Country Time, along with the kid’s description of what the lemonade stand means to them. If Country Time approves it, they will cover the full cost, up to $300. In a press release, Country Time said it will reimburse up to $60,000 in fines and fees this summer. That could help hundreds of kid entrepreneurs. Police in California,...

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Spooks Spooking Themselves

With the news that a Cambridge academic-cum-spy named Stefan Halper infiltrated the Trump campaign, the role of the intelligence agencies in shaping the great Russiagate saga is at last coming into focus. It’s looking more and more massive.  The intelligence agencies initiated reports that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, they nurtured them and helped them grow, and then they spread the word to the press and key government officials.  Reportedly, they even tried to use these reports to force Trump to step down prior to his inauguration.  Although the corporate press accuses Trump of...

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Making Excuses for Russiagate

The best evidence that Russia-gate is sinking beneath the waves is the way those pushing the pseudo-scandal are now busily covering their tracks.  The Guardian complains that “as the inquiry has expanded and dominated the news agenda over the last year, the real issues of people’s lives are in danger of being drowned out by obsessive cable television coverage of the Russia investigation” – as if The Guardian’s own coverage hasn’t been every bit as obsessive as anything CNN has come up with. The Washington Post, second to none when it comes to painting Putin as a real-life Lord Voldemort,...

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New Bill in Alabama Would End Civil Forfeiture Once and For All

Late Tuesday, two Alabama lawmakers filed legislation that would completely eliminate the state’s civil forfeiture laws, which let the government take and keep property without ever filing criminal charges, and replace it with criminal forfeiture. Currently, 14 states only allow forfeiture after a criminal conviction in most or all forfeiture cases. Among those states, just three—North Carolina, New Mexico and Nebraska—have abolished civil forfeiture outright. “Civil forfeiture is an assault on America’s deeply cherished values of due process and private property rights,” noted Institute for...

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Illinois Overwhelmingly Approves Bill to Protect the Innocent from Civil Forfeiture

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that bolsters transparency for civil forfeiture and strengthens due process protections for innocent property owners. Under civil forfeiture, law enforcement agencies can seize and then take title to cash, cars and other valuables without charging anyone with—let alone convicting them of—a crime. “Through its comprehensive disclosure requirements, this law will play a vital role in keeping both the public and legislators well-informed about civil forfeiture in Illinois,” said Institute for Justice Senior Legislative Counsel Lee...

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IN Police Spent $400K in Forfeiture Funds on Salaries & Benefits

Federal Audit: Indiana Agencies Spent $400,000 in Forfeiture Funds on Salaries, Benefits Indiana law enforcement spent over $400,000 in federal asset forfeiture funds to pay the salaries, overtime and fringe benefits for its officers, according to a federal audit released last week. Conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, the audit examined more than $800,000 in expenditures made by the sheriff’s office for Henry County, Indiana in 2014 and 2015. That figure also included nearly $380,000 the Henry County Sheriff’s Office transferred to other law...

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Ohio Near Requiring Convictions for Forfeiture

Late yesterday, the Ohio House and Senate overwhelmingly passed HB 347, an important overhaul of the state’s civil forfeiture laws. Under current law, Ohioans do not have to be convicted, much less charged with a crime, for the government to take their property through civil forfeiture. The bill now heads to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. “Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on due process and private property rights in the United States today,” said Institute for Justice Legislative Counsel Lee McGrath. “Requiring a criminal conviction would curb this abuse of power.”...

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