Here’s a question for you: should the government be able to take and keep your money and property – even though you have never been convicted of a crime – simply because of an unproven suspicion of criminal conduct? While this sounds like a practice that cannot exist in the United States (where we are presumed innocent of a crime, and thus not subject to punishment, until proven guilty in a court of law), it happens in our country every day. In the world of civil forfeiture, mere police suspicion that your property is linked to a crime is enough to seize it and force you to go to court – where your property itself is on trial. If you want it back, the burden is on you to prove your innocence. This is the problem that Senator Linda Collins-Smith’s reform bill, Senate Bill 727, was intended to solve.
We hope you find our report on the problem of civil asset forfeiture to be of interest. Although Senate Bill 727 ultimately failed to pass into law, we intend to continue to work for good government and the protection of property rights in the future.