Each year, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of cars, homes, cash and other property is seized by government agencies with virtually no due process to determine guilt or innocence, or without even filing charges against the property owner. In many jurisdictions, law enforcement or prosecutors take possession of property simply by claiming that it is related to criminal activity.
Reclaiming that property, even when no charges are filed, can be a cumbersome, lengthy and costly process.
Several states and municipalities have acted to curb civil forfeiture and asset seizure, and Our America’s effort will work to encourage additional states and jurisdictions to do the same.
Announcing the effort, Our America’s Honorary Chairman, Gov. Gary Johnson, said, “Property rights are fundamental in America. Yet, every day, government agencies are taking Americans’ property without due process. That’s just wrong.
“Even worse, in many places, the law enforcement agencies doing the ‘seizing’ are allowed to keep or sell seized property for their own benefit. Incentivizing agencies in that way is a recipe for abuse.
“And, at a time when several state legislatures are acting to reform or end asset forfeiture and seizure, our U.S. Attorney General has made it clear that he not only supports these violations of property rights, but believes they should be expanded.”
Our America’s reform effort will include working with state leaders, other organizations and sympathetic elected officials to identify states and municipalities where legislation or ballot initiatives are both needed and viable. Likewise, in coordination with other national and state organizations, “model” legislation will be developed that can be adapted and introduced to achieve appropriate reforms.
Also, messages and advertising will be produced and deployed to mobilize popular support and put pressure on local, state and federal officials to act, and Our America volunteers will
organize grassroots lobbying efforts all across the nation.
For more information, go to: Our America's Civil Forfeiture Project