Texas Civil Asset Forfeiture – Follow the Money, Demand Reform

follow-the-money-civil-asset-forfeiture
Texas Asset Forfeiture Actions

Source: Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley law firm

Forfeiture actions have become common in drug cases and white collar crime cases. Additionally, Texas forfeiture law has been expanded to apply to any felony of the first or second degree in the Texas Penal Code, as well as numerous expressly listed offenses contained in other codes.

Allowing local law enforcement officials to keep a substantial amount of the proceeds obtained from seizing contraband for their own official use gives the police and prosecutors an improper incentive to overzealously pursue civil forfeitures. This asset forfeiture system often leads to corruption, particularly in Texas where the police and prosecutors are allowed to keep the property they seize.

How Police Can Seize Your Property Without A Trial

Source: The Dallas Morning News 20 April 2016

In just over a decade, Texas law enforcement collected more than half a billion dollars, $540.7 million, in cash and personal property from Texans suspected of breaking the law. Known as civil asset forfeiture, this legal practice leaves average Texans vulnerable to having their assets seized by police, no trial or proof of guilt necessary.

Texas is among the worst states in the nation for civil asset forfeiture abuse. The Institute for Justice’s “Policing for Profit” report gave Texas a D+ and said the state leads the nation in average annual forfeiture proceeds, at roughly $41.6 million. Read more from the DMN

Financial Incentives Corrupt Good Government

Back in the day when tiny Lavon, Texas had a meager population fewer than 400 souls, that Collin County city was a notorious speed trap. The city’s police force included four full-time officers and 12 reserve officers.

Lavon city law enforcement claimed the department was merely protecting its citizens, but police officers were writing tickets for all manner of things from one mile per hour over the posted speed limit to tinted windows that allegedly exceeded state-mandated limits.

Bottom line: After the Texas Legislature limited the share of traffic fines, the city reduced the size of its police department and today Lavon is no longer a speed trap.

The overall effectiveness of government is inextricably dependent on public trust. A 2011 FBI law enforcement bulletin stated, “In terms of public trust for law enforcement, recent polls show that only 56 percent of people rated the police as having a high or very high ethical standard as compared with 84 percent for nurses.”

In the wake of the Obama administration, public trust in law enforcement is at an all-time low as mobs take to the streets of major metropolitan areas and leftist organizations like the ACLU and the BLM movement oppose legitimate law enforcement.

Call for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform in Texas

The 85th Texas Legislature has before it Senate Bill 380 carried by State Senator Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) to dramatically reform civil asset forfeiture in our state.

Previously, State Senator John Whitmire (R- Houston) carried SB-316 that successfully curtailed abuses of property unjustly seized at roadside traffic stops. But, it did not go far enough.

SB-380 deserves our support. Adam Brandon of Freedom Works says civil asset forfeiture has the approval of 88% of Texas citizens.

Common sense tells us the seizure of huge sums of money disruptst drug cartels. Equally so, common sense tells us the seizure of private property from innocent Texans disrupts Texas lives.

Attorney, patriot, and mom, KrisAnne Hall podcast: Civil Asset Forfeiture

Action

Contact your Texas State Senator and your Texas State Representative. Tell them you support SB-380 to reform Texas Civil Asset Forfeiture.

You can learn who represents you in Texas by entering your zip code here: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

For Rockwall County and the Frisco area of Collin County (HD-33):

State Senator Bob Hall (SD-2) http://www.senate.texas.gov/memberform.php?auth=tBWL6g3A4oDm27iow0Zxyl94jT9%2FdGZkNmHOASewsPn4rjp8Onw6o%2BMQ4aevgbYQN4D7JtJlzSMIyQPdKTiIY2B2e5ZCUlM%3D&lang=en

State Representative Justin Holland (HD-33)  http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=33

Call the Austin offices and leave a brief message with the respective office staff. I also recommend sending a message via web form email.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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