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Shannon Tracy

Communications and Events Manager,
Right on Crime

Follow: @shan_tracy

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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Civil Asset Forfeiture Summit – Dallas, TX

| January 12, 2016

On February 9th Right on Crime, in partnership with the Institute for Policy Innovation, hosted a two panel discussion on civil asset forfeiture in Dallas Texas. The first of these panels, When Innocence Does Not Help: How to Communicate about Civil Asset Forfeiture included discussion from Texas State Representative Matt Schaefer, Jason Pye from FreedomWorks, and Matt Simpson of the ACLU. On this panel we cut through the confusion and teach you how to communicate about this important issue.

The second panel, Understanding Forfeiture Policy: A Muddled History and a Path Forward, we heard from two Texas State Senators, Sen. Konni Burton and Sen. Don Huffines, along with Dr. Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation and Brad Cates, Former State Legislator in New Mexico and Former Director of the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Office. On this panel the history of forfeiture in the United States and in Texas, and what solutions might be employed to curtail abuses of the practice was discussed.


Panel I – 
When Innocence Does Not Help: How to Communicate about Civil Asset Forfeiture
Civil Asset Forfeiture is an issue shrouded in complexity and lack of understanding from the public. On this panel we will cut through the confusion and teach you how to communicate about this important issue.


Rep. Matt Schaefer
Texas House of Representatives
District 6

Rep. Schaefer is the current Texas State Representative for District 6. Schaefer is assigned to the Defense & Veterans’ Affairs and Urban Affairs committees. He attended Cisco Junior College, where he played football. Then he attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in finance and a law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law.

 

Matt Simpson
Senior Policy Strategist
American Civil Liberties Union

Matt has served as a policy strategist at the ACLU of Texas since 2008. He advocates for civil rights and civil liberties at the state legislature and assists with local campaigns related to criminal justice reform, such as prison and jail policy, law enforcement information sharing, and ending the school-to-prison pipeline.

 

Jason Pye
Director of Communications & Director of Justice Reform
FreedomWorks

Jason Pye is the Director of Communications and the Director of Justice Reform at FreedomWorks. When he’s not fighting for the cause of liberty, he enjoys listening to punk rock, playing his guitars, watching baseball, and dreaming of the day the University of Georgia football team brings home a national championship.

 

Dan Isett – Moderator
Communications Director
Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Dan is Communications Director of Right on Crime and the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mr. Isett served as Director of Communications and Policy for the Parents Television Council, Director of External Affairs at The Center for Education Reform and Executive Director of the Texas Home School Coalition.

 


 

Panel II – Understanding Forfeiture Policy:  A Muddled History and a Path Forward
Most Americans do not understand why the government can take your property without so much as a criminal allegation, or how such a practice is constitutional.  On this panel we will discuss the history of forfeiture in the United States and in Texas, and what solutions might be employed to curtail abuses of the practice.

Sen. Konni Burton
Texas State Senate
District 10

Sen. Burton is the current Texas State Senator for District 10. She is assigned to the Veteran Affairs & Military Installations and Criminal Justice committees. Konni attended the University of North Texas, earning a BBA in Marketing. It was at UNT that Senator Burton also met her husband of 30 years, Phillip.
Sen. Don Huffines
Texas State Senate
District 16

Sen. Huffines is a fifth generation Texan, whose family has a strong legacy of hard work and faith in God. He has been married for 28 years to Mary Catherine and has four sons and one daughter. His business, Huffines Communities, is one of the largest real-estate land developers in the Dallas/Fort Worth region.
Dr. Merrill Matthews
Senior Policy Strategist
Institute for Policy Innovation

Dr. Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation.  Prior to joining IPI in 2000, he was VP of Domestic Policy for the National Center for Policy Analysis. He also serves as the vice chairman of the Texas Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

 

Brad Cates
Attorney, Former State Legislator – New Mexico
Former Director of the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Office

Brad is a privacy advocate, espousing adherence to fundamental constitutional freedoms, including free speech, and opposition to warrantless searches or seizures. He occasionally publishes articles on these subjects. Additionally, he serves as Counsel, House Judiciary Committee, NM Legislature.

 

Derek Cohen – Moderator
Deputy Director
Right on Crime, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Derek is Deputy Director of Right on Crime and the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Cohen graduated with a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati, where he is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation on the long-term costs and outcomes associated with correctional programming.

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SHANNON TRACY is Communications and Event Manager at Right on Crime. She is responsible for implementing and directing the Right on Crime message as well as planning and executing local and national events hosted by Right on Crime. She is a “naturalized” Texan from northeast Ohio, having lived in the Austin area since 1999.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Shannon worked as a campaign manager, consultant, and small business owner of a consulting firm. She has worked many successful conservative campaigns across the state of Texas using her knowledge of social media, marketing, and public relations, along with fundraising and event planning to invigorate issue based and candidate campaigns to victory.

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