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Reaction to civil asset forfeiture bill signing

Madison County Record

Friday, September 22, 2017  |  Article  |  Jesse Hathaway, The Heartland Institute

Legal System (27) , Police (28)

To the Editor:

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 303, which adds additional protections against civil asset forfeiture. The law will protect residents from having their property seized unjustly by the government if they are accused of a crime.

Every year, more and more states fix this gross abuse of government power, and Gov. Rauner joins those ranks. Illinois may not be the first state to restore this breach of liberty, but it won’t be the last.

In many states, law enforcement agencies use civil asset forfeiture to take ownership of property merely suspected of being involved in criminal activities. Instead of requiring the government to prove guilt, civil asset forfeiture assumes guilt and forces individuals to prove their innocence, at their own expense, to retrieve their property.

By allowing the cops to become robbers, trust between the community and the government is broken, and individuals’ rights to property and due process are trampled upon. Civil asset forfeiture reform is a bipartisan issue, transcending ideology and party identification, and more people realize the importance of working together to make this critical reform to how government works.