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Thursday, October 31 • 8:00am - 9:15am
Breakfast: Real Forfeiture Reform: Beware of Friendly Prosecutors (Sponsored by Institute for Justice)

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Nationwide, state legislators are increasingly becoming aware of the serious abuses of civil forfeiture—where police seize, and prosecutors litigate the transfer of titles to people’s property without convicting or even charging them of any criminal wrongdoing.  Just as troubling, they often keep the proceeds to fund their own departments, thus giving them a direct financial incentive to abuse this power.  

In 2015 and 2016, New Mexico, Nebraska, and other states enacted effective reforms to protect citizens in their states. But prosecutors are pushing back. Instead of opposing reform bills, prosecutors are undermining reform efforts by offering watered-down legislation. These “compromise” bills are based on earlier and ineffective reforms that (a) simply put a criminal conviction in front of an existing civil forfeiture process or (b) include numerous exceptions to the conviction prerequisite. They gain traction because of the enormous complexity of seizures and forfeitures and some legislators’ deference to law enforcement.

This panel will discuss the details of the forfeiture process and how some prosecutors may have become too friendly to be trusted.

avatar for John Kramer

John Kramer

VP for Communications, Institute for Justice
For the past 27 years, John has headed up the communications for the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm. 
avatar for Lee McGrath

Lee McGrath

Senior Legislative Counsel, Institute for Justice
Lee McGrath is the Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice’s Minnesota office and serves as IJ’s Senior Legislative Counsel. Lee became IJ’s legislative counsel in 2011 and has been instrumental in lobbying for greater economic liberty and reforms to forfeiture laws in... Read More →
avatar for Rep. Alan Clemmons

Rep. Alan Clemmons

South Carolina House of Representatives
Alan Clemmons is a nine-term member of the South Carolina House of Representatives serving the district that includes the popular vacation destination, Myrtle Beach. Rep. Clemmons paints with a widely varied political palette: from election security and redistricting to legislative... Read More →
avatar for Dick Carpenter

Dick Carpenter

Director of Strategic Research, Institute for Justice
Dr. Dick Carpenter is a director of Strategic Research at the Institute for Justice and a professor at the University of Colorado. As an experienced researcher, his work has appeared in academic journals, such as Economic Development Quarterly, The Forum, Education and Urban Society... Read More →

Thursday October 31, 2019 8:00am - 9:15am MDT