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Restraining Government’s License to Plunder (Guest: WI State Sen. David Craig)

April 4, 2018

Current laws allow law enforcement to confiscate and transfer ownership of property from the original owner to the government without any criminal conviction. Wisconsin state Senator David Craig explains how S.B. 61 aims to end this process.

In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow Jesse Hathaway talks with Wisconsin state Sen. David Craig (R-Town of Vernon) about the Wisconsin Senate’s approval of Senate Bill 61 (S.B. 61), a bill that would protect residents’ constitutional rights to property and due process.

With a few exceptions, Craig says the bill, currently on Gov. Scott Walker’s desk, would require law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to obtain a criminal conviction before transferring ownership of seized assets or property to the government. Craig says his bill would increase the confidence level required for forfeiture, from mere “reasonable certainty” to “clear and convincing” evidence.

Wisconsin may not have nearly the same number of horror stories of the government’s abuse of the civil asset forfeiture process as other states, Craig says, but that the state’s laws currently allows private property to be forfeited by the government without proving an individual’s guilt. Civil asset forfeiture is glaring violation of the Constitution, Craig says, and even the potential for abuse at the hands of the government demonstrates the need for reform.
Jesse Hathaway is a policy advisor for budget and tax issues at The Heartland Institute. @JesseinOH