Thorpe, Allen Continue Fight For Civil Forfeiture Reforms

Rep. Bob Thorpe listens to attorney Ed Maldonado, past president of Los Abogados (AZ Hispanic Bar Association) offer compelling testimony before the Arizona House Government and Higher Education Committee

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On Thursday, the Arizona House Government and Higher Education Committee, under the leadership of Rep. Bob Thorpe heard testimony on the issues surrounding civil asset forfeiture from experts across the political spectrum. The reports of abuse of Arizona’s RICO law by law enforcement agencies, led Thorpe to call for the hearing.

Representatives from the ACLU, Goldwater Institute and the Institute for Justice welcomed the opportunity to discuss the law which they claim is in need of serious reform.

A.R.S. § 13-2314, Arizona’s RICO law allows civil asset forfeiture. While there are protections for those whose property is seized, as Thorpe’s panel heard, far too often those protections are disregarded by law enforcement. The RICO legislation allows law enforcement on both the state and federal level to seize a citizen’s property without having to charge them for a crime.

Paul Avelar, an attorney in the Institute for Justice’s Arizona office, began the testimony:

“It’s unfortunate that asset forfeiture, a very effective and constitutional law enforcement tool, continues to come under attack,” said Aaron Ludwig, an expert on racketeering and forfeiture. “Legitimate concerns were raised, and I look forward to helping the committee better understand the truth about asset forfeiture and doing what I can to strengthen public policy if and when needed.”

Thorpe and his seatmate Sen. Sylvia Allen have sought to pass legislation that would create an official study committee on the subject, but have been met with push back from the sheriffs, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials across the state.

On the James T. Harris radio show, Thorpe described the pushback he and Allen encountered when she proposed her study committee bill. “What she suggested seems pretty uncontroversial. She took one of my bills and struck it to create a study committee. The law enforcement and prosecutors came out in force to kill the study committee.” Thorpe said the petty arguments made in opposition to the bill earlier this month made him angry. He told Harris that one opponent argued that “we shouldn’t have this,” referring to the bill, “unless everything is defined and I thought give me a break. So I got up to testify and said this is a nationwide problem and I want to protect people who do not fall into the category of a drug dealer or cartel member or a racketeer. Those folks need to be convicted if their property can be taken from them.”

Listen to the interview here

Related articles:

Arizona’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws Reform Overdue

ACLU Sues Pinal County For Enforcing Forfeiture Laws

4 Comments on "Thorpe, Allen Continue Fight For Civil Forfeiture Reforms"

  1. joohn dough | March 25, 2016 at 8:05 am |

    Aaron Ludwig is full of $#!+. The law is NOT CONSTITUTIONAL under the IV,(secure in their effects) V,(without just compensation clause), and VIII, (excessive fines imposed or cruel and unusual punishment inflicted) in the Bill of RIGHTS, the 1st X Amendments to the Constitution.

    There is a big thing going on now, with the normalization of relations with Cuba, because the Cuban government, when Castro took over and confiscated all of the property from Americans, “without just compensation”.

    Same thing just under different Tyrannical, Dictatorial, Authoritarian, Totalitarian, Communistic, Suppressive governments.

    The RICO laws MUST be Amended to PROTECT innocent people from the aforementioned U.S. government’s theft of their property.

  2. Call to Action | March 25, 2016 at 10:21 am |

    Call to Action:

    WOW! YOU MUST LISTEN TO THE VIDEO EVEN IF YOU PUT IT ON IN THE BACKGROUND WHILE YOU WORD ON OTHER STUFF.

    THIS IS THE MOST EGREGIOUS ABUSE OF A LAW INTENDED TO GO AFTER ORGANIZED CRIME AND DRUG CARTELS.

    LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS USED THIS AS A CLUB TO ABUSE AND SEIZE PERSONAL PROPERTY WITHOUT CHARGING FOR A CRIME. OBVIOUSLY NO CONVICTION IS NECESSARY.

    PAUL BABEU AND PINAL COUNTY HAVE RECEIVED HALF A BILLION DOLLARS FROM THIS PROGRAM.

    FORWARD TO LEGISLATORS AND ANY ONE YOU KNOW.

    WE ARE LIVING IN CUBA

  3. Call to Action | March 25, 2016 at 10:22 am |

    WORK (SORRY) AS OPPOSED TO WORD.

  4. This should be mandatory listening for every legislator. Thanks for the info.

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