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Tag Archive: Property Rights


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wyoming Welder Faces $75,000 A Day In EPA Fines For Building Pond On His Property

 

Johnson pond wyoming epa.jpg

 

 

 

” All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children. 

  But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine. 

“ I have not paid them a dime nor will I,” a defiant Johnson told FoxNews.com. “I will go bankrupt if I have to fighting it. My wife and I built [the pond] together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. It was our dream.” 

  The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond — a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife — which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.  

  The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it.

“ Said permit is in good standing and is entitled to be exercised exactly as permitted,” the state agency letter to Johnson said.

  But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines. 

  Johnson plans to fight. “This goes a lot further than a pond,” he said. “It’s about a person’s rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules.” 

 

Fox News has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 And Not A Single Lawmaker Voted Against It

 

 

” A new report published by the Libertas Institute, a free market think tank, reveals how a little-known new law greatly weakened legal protections for property owners facing civil forfeiture in Utah.  Unlike criminal forfeiture, with civil forfeiture, someone does not have to be convicted of or even charged with a crime to permanently lose their property.

  Sponsors of the bill, HB 384, presented their amendments as a mere “re-codification” of the state’s forfeiture law.  While some of the changes to Utah’s forfeiture laws might appear minor, they have significant consequences.”

 

Read more at Forbes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Yesterday we brought to your attention part one of an article from the von Mises Institute ” The Ethics Of Whistleblowing “ . Today we are pleased to bring you part two …

 

The Ethics of State Secrecy

 

 

 

 

” The foregoing principles discussed in Part I of our analysis vitiate any allegation of criminal conduct by Snowden resting on his alleged contractual duties to the NSA. His disclosures of NSA documents were certainly “unauthorized disclosures” as has been charged, but there is no reason that any government authorization should be required. Indeed, it is quite absurd to suggest that government permission should be required to disclose evidence of government criminality. But what of the remaining property-based claim that Snowden’s actions involve the “theft” of government property?

This question can be dealt with in a similar manner, by consideration of the ordinary rules pertaining to the use of property in criminal dealings. When a private firm commits a crime using its own property as an instrument of wrongdoing it loses the right to claim ownership as a safeguard against investigation. If an investigator confiscates digging equipment and barrels of toxic waste from a private firm accused of dumping these on the property of others it is no bar to this action if the firm presents a receipt showing that the equipment belongs to them. (Indeed, this would be taken as further evidence linking them to the alleged crime.) The same applies to documentary evidence of a crime — it may legitimately be taken by an investigator as a means of proving criminal wrongdoing, notwithstanding the normal ownership claim that would apply to the item.[1] “

 

Read It All … part one , part two .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Has the Right To Mine An Asteroid?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” As PopMech has relentlessly covered, the race is on to tap the mineral wealth tucked away in the asteroids. But are these big space rocks free for the taking, or will asteroid miners find themselves bogged down in outer space red tape? Instapundit blogger and resident contrarian Glenn Harlan Reynolds investigates.

Suddenly, the idea of asteroid mining is everywhere. As a recent feature here in Popular Mechanics noted, asteroid mining has gone from a “someday” idea to a business plan for more than one company. As a professor who’s been writing, teaching, and practicing space law since the 1980s, I say, why not? Asteroids are valuable, they’re out there, and they are free for the taking.

Or are they?

Asteroids are certainly available, and they’re valuable. More than 750,000 asteroids measure at least 1 kilometer across, and millions of smaller objects are scattered throughout the solar system, mostly in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Even a comparatively small asteroid is potentially quite valuable, both on Earth and in space.

A 79-foot-wide M-type (metallic) asteroid could hold 33,000 tons of extractable metals, including $50 million in platinum alone. A 23-foot-diameter C-type (carbonaceous) asteroid can hold 24,000 gallons of water, useful for generating fuel and oxygen. Even 1 gallon of water, at 8.33 pounds per, can cost tens of thousands of dollars to launch into Earth orbit. Prices will probably come down now that SpaceX and other private launch companies are in the game. But the numbers would need to improve a lot for water launched from Earth to compete with water that’s already floating in space. “