Thorpe Takes Lead On Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Having been a critic of Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe and many of the bills he has proposed over the past several years, I have to say I am surprised and happy to see him taking up the very important cause of Civil Asset Forfeiture reform. At least for now, Thorpe is starting off January’s legislative session on the right foot.
I don’t have access to the exact language of the proposed bill yet but from what I have seen, Thorpe wants people to be found guilty of a crime before their property is seized and kept. He also wants law enforcement to report exactly what they seize and who they seize it from.
While these changes seem like common sense protections to ensure checks and balances in the system, yesterday the AZ Capital Times reported that Thorpe’s bill is already getting a lot of push back from prosecutors. There is also a good chance that Speaker of the House David Gowan will refuse to give the bill a committee hearing. If the bill does not get a hearing it will die.
Public awareness of Civil Asset Forfeiture is at an all time high. People are shocked as they realize that property can be seized and kept by law enforcement without the targeted party ever being charged or convicted of a crime. Due to public outrage, much needed reforms are gaining traction across the country.
Liberty minded Arizonans need to tap into this momentum and make sure that the AZ Legislature knows we are paying attention when the next session starts at the beginning of the year.
For more information on Civil Asset Forfeiture see: