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Articles Tagged with reform

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courtroom-898931_1920-300x226A new law reforming civil asset forfeiture in Arkansas is set to come into effect in July, but critics argue there are so many loopholes that it will change little in the state.

Civil asset forfeiture is a legal procedure whereby police are able to take possession of an individual’s property if that property is suspect of being involved in a crime. In most states, no criminal conviction is required before property is seized. To seize assets in Arkansas, police only need to show that a “preponderance of the evidence” indicates the property was involved in a crime. This standard is far below the “beyond a reasonable doubt” that is required in criminal cases.
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honolulu-996344_1920-300x200When Marilou Chin fell asleep on 5 March 2011, she didn’t suspect anything bad would happen. Her son, Brandon, took her Mercy Mountaineer so he could head over to meet a friend in Pearl City near Honolulu in Hawaii.

Brandon was arrested later that night for burglary. A witness claimed to have seen Brandon breaking into Olivia’s Lounge, the bar where he was going to meet his friend. Brandon himself claimed, however, he was simply trying to use the bathroom. Police reportedly found a crowbar in the SUV and lock-picking equipment in the door to the bar.
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highway-828985_1920-300x200Between 2016 and 2017, police officers in Phelps County, Missouri seized over $2.5 million during traffic stops along a 20-mile stretch of I-44. Law enforcement did not file any criminal charges for those seizures.

The property was taken using a legal procedure known as civil asset forfeiture. This controversial procedure allows law enforcement to seize an individual’s property if said property is suspected of being involved in a crime.

In criminal procedures, proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” is required to gain a conviction. As civil asset forfeiture is a civil and not a criminal process, the standard of proof required to permanently take property is usually lower. In Missouri, all that is required is “a preponderance of the evidence.”
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calculator-1680905_1920-300x200A bill which would make changes to Florida’s workers’ compensation has been approved by a House panel even though it does not contain reforms requested by the state’s business community. Groups which represent retailers, major corporations, and small enterprises have been asking for caps on attorney fees in injured workers’ claim cases. They say these caps are necessary to stop workers’ compensation premiums from skyrocketing.

Instead, the House panel unanimously passed proposal HB 1399 last week. By changing the way insurance providers reimburse health care companies, HB 1399—if passed—could lead to a 5 percent reduction in the workers’ compensation insurance premiums paid by employers. This would follow the 13.4 percent reduction in state-set workers’ compensation insurance rates approved last year.
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philadelphia-1740685_1920-300x241On March 23, 2016, police arrested Christopher “Bmore” Hawkins, age 46, of Spring Garden Township, Pennsylvania on drug charges. Hawkins was caught attempting to sell heroin to two informants. As part of his plea bargain, Hawkins pleaded guilty to several charges, including “possession with intent to deliver heroin” in order to receive a prison sentence between four and eight years.

During a search of his house, law enforcement officials seized several items. These included televisions, a 1996 Dodge Neon, and a 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLK. Police were able to take possession of Hawkins’ property using a procedure known as civil asset forfeiture, which gives police the power to seize a person’s property or assets if said property and assets are suspected of being involved in a crime.
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