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CATO Podcast: Institute of Justice’s Arif Panju Discusses Asset Forfeiture in the Lone Star State

| June 26, 2015

In a new CATO podcast, Arif Panju of the Institute for Justice gets into the state of civil asset forfeiture practices in Texas.

In a word, Texas isn’t doing very well. In the recent legislative session, Texas had thirteen opportunities to reform, by varying degrees, the practice of seizing citizens’ property without securing criminal convictions. Not a single bill was passed and signed into law.

recent FreedomWorks grading sheet investigating all 50 states’ laws pertaining to asset forfeiture found that Texas’ laws regarding the practice only merited a lowly D:

The standard of proof is too low; the government must only show a preponderance of the evidence to forfeit property. The burden is on the property owner to prove his innocence to get his property back. Law enforcement keeps up to 90% of forfeiture funds. House Bill 3171 is one of many bills that was introduced to reform the law.”

In this podcast, Panju discusses the fixes to civil asset forfeiture that might have been. Listen to it below:



MICHAEL HAUGEN is a policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and its Right on Crime initiative.

His work for the Foundation has focused primarily on criminal justice reform topics, particularly civil forfeiture, prison reform and justice reinvestment, mens rea reform, occupational licensing, and various law enforcement and privacy issues. He’s also written about federal corporate subsidies, school choice, and gun rights.

Haugen is a graduate of Eastern Washington University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with Pre-Medicine Option, and a minor in Chemistry. He also holds an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from North Idaho College. At EWU, he participated in academic research in a molecular microbiology laboratory for two years, investigating genetic virulence factors and pathophysiology in microbes.

His writing has appeared in National Review, The Hill, Townhall, Washington Examiner, Dallas Morning News, El Paso Times, Trib Talk, RedState, Ricochet, and Breitbart Texas.