The bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of the Wyoming legislature and has now been signed into law. It will come into effect on July 1 and is designed to stop abuses of civil asset forfeiture law. Continue reading
Civil asset forfeiture has gotten more attention in recent years as innocent victims’ stories make national headlines: A Wisconsin man had his life savings taken away by police based on no evidence, money he had planned to open a music studio with; an Alabama car dealer had his reputation and business forever tainted by the seizure and subsequent prosecution of his assets.
But civil asset forfeiture hasn’t always taken this form, and its potential for abuse largely depends on which state one resides in. In fact, civil asset forfeiture has a long history going back to the Middle Ages. Continue reading
Alabama resident, entrepreneur, and Rotary Club ambassador Jamey Vibbert lost his business when he was branded a felon for selling two cars reportedly purchased with drug money. The heavy-handed Alabama police lieutenant and District Attorney’s office strung Vibbert’s case along until it had ruined his business, despite the fact that the case was thrown out by two separate judges. Continue reading
Reacting to the push from the Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions to increase federal power over civil asset forfeiture, Congress seems to be pushing back. A bipartisan effort to peel back the federal government’s civil asset forfeiture programs is gaining traction with Congress members.
At a time when disagreements between the two major parties has led to a federal government shutdown, it’s surprising to see some agreement on major policy reform. But a bipartisan push from two Representatives from different parties and regions of the United States could just be the tip of the iceberg in federal civil forfeiture reform.
West Virginians are stepping up their game in the fight against civil asset forfeiture within their state, continuing a seemingly nationwide trend of citizens and public interest groups fighting the controversial laws.
Citizens of West Virginia have been among the worst victims of civil asset forfeiture in the United States, receiving one of the lowest grades in the nation (D-) for its forfeiture laws and practices according to the Institute for Justice. Continue reading