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Joe Luppino-Esposito warns listeners about dangers of civil asset forfeiture

Doc Thompson
(KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images)

Joe Luppino-Esposito, policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, calls into "The Morning Blaze" to discuss the little-known process of civil asset forfeiture, by which law enforcement agencies can seize items or property they believe to have been involved in the commission of a crime.

The troubling aspect of this practice is that the owners of the assets don't have to be convicted or even charged with a crime, and the law enforcement agency can still maintain possession of the assets indefinitely. Only by undertaking an expensive, time-consuming, often-unsuccessful legal process can innocent citizens get their property back from overzealous law enforcement.

Joe describes some of the legislative changes groups like the Texas Public Policy Foundation are helping get passed. In New Mexico, for example, a 2015 law requires prosecutors to secure a conviction of accused parties or be forced to return any seized assets.

Joe then gives a striking recent example of the abuse of this practice: "In Oklahoma a few months back, there was a Christian rock group that was travelling through, and they had a number of donations in cash. And police seized it, because they suspected that it could be dealt in drugs. English is not the first language of the folks who had their money seized, so that could've been part of the issue as well for them trying to communicate as to what was going on and what the situation was. So the police seized it."

To see more from Doc, visit his channel on TheBlaze and listen live to “The Morning Blaze with Doc Thompson” weekdays 6–9am ET, only on TheBlaze Radio Network.

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