8/24/17 – Public Theft

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Connecticut has made progress in protecting property rights.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

A new Connecticut law requires a criminal conviction before someone’s property can be seized.

There are two types of asset forfeiture: criminal and civil.  First, criminal asset forfeiture.  The government seizes money and assets it’s shown to be the spoils of criminal activity.  But only after there’s been a conviction.
The rules are often different in civil asset forfeiture.  Assets are seized before someone’s been convicted, charged or even accused of a crime.

In many cases, federal, state and local police departments keep the proceeds. Padding a department’s budget is a big incentive to conduct civil asset forfeiture.

For years, Behind the Headlines has warned that civil asset forfeiture is little more than the theft of private property by government authorities [here, here, here, here].

For example, It’s been reported Washington, D.C. police make stops and seize whatever cash they find in people’s pockets claiming it could be drug proceeds.  Even amounts as small as twenty dollars.

About half the states have tightened rules on civil asset forfeiture.  Nebraska, New Mexico and North Carolina have abolished it.

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