Issues We Cover
Civil Asset Forfeiture is one of the gravest abuses of government power in the country. Unlike criminal forfeiture, with civil forfeiture a person does not have to be convicted of, or even charged with a crime to have their private property and assets seized. Law enforcement should not be allowed to confiscate private property without due process. Nor should the government benefit financially or be incentivized to seize assets as both create a direct conflict of interest. The burden should not be on Texans to prove that their property wasn’t involved in a crime.
Reform is needed to ensure punishments do not outweigh the crimes committed. In Texas, and nationwide, prisons are filled with low-level offenders not involved in violent crime. This adds to the financial burden of the corrections systems, but equally important, it criminalizes people whose behavior could be corrected through restorative justice methods such as: rehabilitation, mental health treatment, community service, and diversion programs. Judges should be empowered to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, based on the facts, not arbitrary mandates.
Without transparency in the judicial rationale for sentencing there is no justice. Citizens should have unobstructed access to public records without having to leap over unnecessary hurdles to obtain information. Prosecutors – one of the most powerful positions in the justice system – should be held accountable for miscarriages of justice. One wrongful conviction is one too many and the justice system needs to hold those in the judiciary and law enforcement to the same standards that it holds the general public.