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Tag Archive: Institute for Justice


Daily Video 6.3.15

Should You Need The Government’s Permission To Work?

 

 

 

Published on May 8, 2012

http://ij.org/licensetowork

” License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing is the first national study to measure how burdensome occupational licensing laws are for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

  The report documents the license requirements for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations—such as barber, massage therapist and preschool teacher—across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It finds that occupational licensing is not only widespread, but also overly burdensome and frequently irrational.

  On average, these licenses force aspiring workers to spend nine months in education or training, pass one exam and pay more than $200 in fees. One third of the licenses take more than a year to earn. At least one exam is required for 79 of the occupations.

  Barriers like these make it harder for people to find jobs and build new businesses that create jobs, particularly minorities, those of lesser means and those with less education.

  License to Work recommends reducing or removing needless licensing barriers. The report’s rankings of states and occupations by severity of licensure burdens make it easy to compare laws and identify those most in need of reform.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Video 3.9.15

How The IRS Has Been Seizing $ From Innocent Americans

 

 

 

 

Published on Feb 11, 2015

” Read the report: http://www.ij.org/seize-first-questio… “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Video 8.13.14

John Stossel – Litigating For Liberty

 

 

 

Published on Aug 12, 2014

” Scott Bullock (Institute for Justice) explains how lawsuits can help reign in government to its Constitutional limits.http://www.LibertyPen.com “

Rhode Island Police Seized Over $ 15 Million Over The Last Decade

 

 

 

 

 

 

” The smallest state in the Union can rake in big money from asset forfeiture.

  Since 2003, law enforcement in Rhode Island has hauled in $15.7 million using the state’s asset forfeiture laws. But most of the cases were not targeting drug kingpins. Between 2003 and 2013, the average value of forfeited property was $4,142. Almost 40 percent of these cases affected property valued at less than $1,000. Only 12 out of almost 3,800 incidents involved property worth more than $100,000.

  Last year, 22 police departments seized more than $1.3 million from 306 incidents. But less than half of these actually led to a conviction. In fact, under civil forfeiture, the government can take property from people never convicted of a crime, or even charged with one. Only a handful of states (including, most recently, Minnesota) actually require a criminal conviction to forfeit property.

  According to the Institute for Justice’s survey of America’s civil forfeiture laws, “Policing for Profit,” Rhode Island’s laws are in dire need of reform. To forfeit property, the government only needs to show probable cause, an incredibly low standard of proof. Only nine other states require such little evidence. Not only that, to retrieve property, an owner has to bear the burden of proof—they are considered guilty until proven innocent. As one criminal defense attorney put it, “The playing field is not level. The government has all the leverage.”

  Civil forfeiture in Rhode Island also provides a tantalizing incentive to police for profit. Law enforcement can keep up to 90 percent of the proceeds from forfeited property. As the police chief for Pawtucket, the fourth largest city in the Ocean State, put it, “These assets have been a godsend.”

  Help IJ end policing for profit!”

 

Institute For Justice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minnesota Now Requires A Criminal Conviction Before People Can Lose Their Property To Forfeiture

 

Minnesota State Capitol building in Saint Paul...

 

” In a big win for property rights and due process, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill yesterday to curb an abusive—and little known—police practice called civil forfeiture. Unlike criminal forfeiture, under civil forfeiture someone does not have to be convicted of a crime, or even charged with one, to permanently lose his or her cash, car or home.

  The newly signed legislation, SF 874, corrects that injustice. Now the government can only take property if it obtains a criminal conviction or its equivalent, like if a property owner pleads guilty to a crime or becomes an informant. The bill also shifts the burden of proof onto the government, where it rightfully belongs. Previously, if owners wanted to get their property back, they had to prove their property was not the instrument or proceeds of the charged drug crime. In other words, owners had to prove a negative in civil court. Being acquitted of the drug charge in criminal court did not matter to the forfeiture case in civil court.”

 

Forbes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shining A Light On Government Bullies

 

 

” Last winter, Deltona, Fla., imposed a fine on Corey Marion’s Happy Tails pet grooming business. What dastardly deed had Cory committed to incur the wrath of Deltona’s code enforcement officers? She ran afoul of the city’s sign code when she posted a sign to let other Good Samaritans know that her business was a Toys for Tots drop-off site. The city leaders dug in their heels and ordered Corey to take the sign down, but she refused. The city also prevented at least one other small business from posting a similar sign at all.

  This sparked a flurry of media attention condemning the city’s callous attempt to chill speech. You can read IJ’s op-ed on the controversy in USA Today here.”

 

 

 

Story continues here . Remember , when everything is against the law , everyone is a criminal .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woman Criticizes Honolulu’s Government, Has Her Protest Signs Bulldozed

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Choon James is a successful real estate broker with over two decades of experience in Hawaii.  But the city of Honolulu is seeking to seize property she’s owned for almost a decade to build what she calls a “super-sized” fire station in rural Hauula.

  Since January 2010, she has put up signs to protest Honolulu’s use of eminent domain.  These signs declare “Eminent Domain Abuse: Who’s Next?” and “YouTube Eminent Domain Abuse—Hawaii.”  For more than three years these signs have been up without any incident.

  But now the city is showing a callous disregard for Choon’s freedom of speech.  Back in May, Honolulu seized two of her eminent domain protest signs.  Without her consent, city employees went onto the property and seized and impounded her signs before damaging them. Even worse, the city slapped her with a notice for trespassing, for property she is trying to defend in court.

  After these signs were torn down, Choon placed three more signs there.  These lasted just a few months before the city once again seized the signs.  This time, Honolulu was much more dramatic.  On October 18, city workers, backed by police officers, squad cars and a bulldozer, came by and literally bulldozed those protest signs.”

 

More here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Louis Suburb Beats Back Wal-Mart Land Grab, Saves Hundreds Of Peoples’ Homes From Eminent Domain Abuse

 

 

Ellisville Vs Walmart

 

 

” It sounds like a modern-day David versus Goliath story. Residents in Ellisville, Mo., a town of 9,000 people, went up against Wal-Mart, one of the largest corporations in the world.

  For years, city officials have been planning to lure Wal-Mart to Ellisville, about a half-hour away from St. Louis. Their most recent plan involved building a 150,000-square-foot Supercenter, which would have cost $50 million. A private developer could have received up to $15 million in tax incentives. Even more outrageously, Ellisville could have also authorized eminent domain to acquire property.

  To make way for Wal-Mart, an entire apartment complex, Clarkchester Apartments, would have been demolished. That’s 100 homes. If the plan had gone through, 250 residents would have been forced to relocate.

  But in October, after intense pressure from both grassroots activists and a new mayor, Wal-Mart announced it had “decided not to proceed” with the Ellisville store.

  The city council later followed suit to better protect some of its residents from eminent domain abuse. On December 18, the Ellisville City Council passed a resolution unanimously that curbs the power of eminent domain.”

 

 

Continued at InstituteForJustice.org

 

 

 

 

 

Michigan Legislators Consider Making It More Difficult For Police To Steal

 

 

 

 

” Michigan legislators have introduced a pair of bills that would reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws, which currently enable law enforcement agencies to seize property from innocent people easily and profitably. Michigan police departments and district attorneys have padded their budgets to the tune of $70 million in the last three years via forfeiture, according to Lee McGrath of the Institute for Justice,* a law firm that litigates asset forfeiture.

  HB 5213 would require a criminal conviction before the police and prosecutors can forfeit property. Such a change is desirable because Michigan police and prosecutors have an unfortunate habit of taking peoples’ stuff even when the criminal charges that supposedly justify the forfeiture are dropped, dismissed, or otherwise jettisoned.

  HB 5081, meanwhile, would require seizing agencies to compile detailed reports on their forfeiture activities. Such a change is desirable because, apart from aggregates and anecdotes, information (on what is being seized, from whom, and why) is hard to come by. Also, transparency may encourage police to use funds more judiciously.

  Of course, the law routinely ensnares innocent people. We find out about them when they go to court. But some not-inconsequential number of forfeitures involve innocent owners who opt against a legal fight to recover items worth less than the cost of a lawyer.”

 

 

Reason.com has the story

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Look Now But Washington DC May Actually Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture

” Washington D.C. city council members are considering a bill that would give D.C. residents the strongest protections against the abuse of civil asset forfeiture in the country. Currently, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) seizes millions of dollars of property from thousands of people each year—and keeps 100 percent of the profits.

Unlike with criminal forfeiture, where the government seizes assets after convicting someone of a crime, with civil forfeiture there is no legal requirement to prove a crime was committed or even to file criminal charges. Instead, once police confiscate property, the burden is on the owner to prove innocence. Property owners who can’t afford a legal battle or whose property is worth less than court costs often simply relinquish their property by default.”

Triumphant Motel Owner Slams Carmen Ortiz

 

 

 

” A Tewksbury motel owner who just beat back U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s three-year bid to seize his business has become the latest critic to accuse the Hub’s top fed of prosecutorial bullying.

“I don’t think she should have the power she has to pull this stuff on people,” Russ Caswell, owner of the Motel Caswell, told the Herald last night after a judge’s ruling in his favor.

The feds first tried to grab Caswell’s property in 2009 under drug seizure laws, citing numerous drug busts at the motel. Caswell’s defense team argued that he was not responsible for what guests did. And his lawyers found there was actually more drug activity at nearby businesses, and theorized the government was going after Caswell, who has no criminal record, because his mortgage-free property is worth more than $1 million.

“It’s bullying by the government. And it’s a huge waste of taxpayer money,” said Caswell, whose father built the motel in 1955. “This has been a huge financial and physical toll. It’s thrown our whole family into turmoil. You work for all your life to pay for something and these people come along and think it’s theirs. It’s just wrong. The average person can’t afford to fight this.” ”

 

 

   Ironic that the Federal judge in the Caswell case , Carmen Ortiz , is the same one that has been thrust into the spotlight as the prosecuting attorney in the late Aaron Swartz’s case . Swartz , it should be recalled is the internet pioneer , co-founder of Reddit that was facing up to 35 years in jail and $1 million in fines when he took his own life several weeks ago .