Author: Nick Sibilla

  • New Hampshire House Approves Bill to Close Federal Forfeiture Loophole

    New Hampshire House Approves Bill to Close Federal Forfeiture Loophole

    Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 614, which would close a loophole in forfeiture law. Sponsored by Rep. Michael Sylvia, the bill would ban transferring or referring seized property to a federal agency or joint task force through the “equitable sharing” program, unless the property is cash over $100,000. The bill would […]

  • State and Federal Governments Must Improve Forfeiture Transparency

    State and Federal Governments Must Improve Forfeiture Transparency

    Arlington, Va.—The federal government’s forfeiture transparency laws, as well as those of most states, are in dire need of reform, as they too often leave Congress, state legislators and the public in the dark about how forfeiture is being used—and unable to hold law enforcement accountable. So finds a new report released today by the […]

  • Seizure vs. Forfeiture: A Crucial Distinction

    Seizure vs. Forfeiture: A Crucial Distinction

    Although related, seizure and forfeiture are not interchangeable.  This difference is important.  Law enforcement lobbyists routinely conflate the two in their attempts to oppose forfeiture reform. For instance, in 2015, the president of the California Police Chiefs Association argued that a reform bill considered by the California Legislature would affect the ability of police “to seize […]

  • Ohio’s Governor Signs New Conviction Requirement for Civil Forfeiture

    Today, Gov. John Kasich signed HB 347, an important overhaul of the state’s civil forfeiture laws. Under current law, Ohioans do not have to be convicted, much less charged with a crime, for the government to take their property through civil forfeiture. “Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on due process and […]

  • Lawsuits Challenge Federal Agencies’ Refusal to Disclose Forfeiture Records

    Arlington, Va.—Today, the Institute for Justice (IJ) sued two federal agencies—the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection—for flouting the federal Freedom of Information Act and hindering access to information about the federal government’s forfeiture activity. As part of IJ’s nationwide initiative to end civil forfeiture, in March 2015 IJ filed Freedom of […]

  • Innocent Car Owner Sues Albuquerque to End Civil Forfeiture Once and For All

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—In 2015, New Mexico outlawed civil forfeiture, the controversial law enforcement practice of seizing and selling property without charging an individual with a crime, let alone convicting them of one. Despite that groundbreaking legislation, Albuquerque law enforcement officials continue to flagrantly disregard the law, and seize and sell hundreds of cars each year. Now, […]

  • California Senate Sends Major Civil Forfeiture Bill to Governor’s Desk

    Sacramento, Calif.—Today, the California Senate voted to overhaul the state’s civil forfeiture laws by passing SB 443. The bill marks one of the nation’s most significant reforms of its kind. “Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on due process and private property rights in America today,” said Institute for Justice Legislative Counsel Lee […]

  • Victory: Muskogee DA Drops Forfeiture Case Against Christian Orphanage, Church, and Band

    Muskogee, Okla.—This afternoon, Muskogee, Oklahoma, District Attorney Orvil Loge indicated that his office was officially dropping all charges against Eh Wah, a Burmese refugee he had charged with possession of drug proceeds. He also indicated that he would drop the civil forfeiture and immediately return the money Muskogee law enforcement officials took from a group […]

  • Institute for Justice Applauds Nebraska’s Sweeping Forfeiture Reforms

    Today, Institute for Justice Legislative Counsel Lee McGrath released the following statement on Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signing LB 1106, a sweeping reform of the state’s forfeiture laws: “Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on due process and private property rights in America today. Today’s decision to abolish civil forfeiture will ensure that […]

  • Innocent College Student’s Life Savings Seized by Feds

    Lawsuit Challenges Civil Forfeiture at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport Arlington, Va.—Carrying large amounts of cash is not a crime, yet thousands of Americans who do so are being treated like criminals. Law enforcement officials are using civil forfeiture to seize the cash of domestic travelers at airports, like 24-year-old Charles Clarke. Charles had $11,000 seized at […]