Senator Craig Reacts to Justice Thomas’ Statement on Civil Asset Forfeiture
"Yesterday, I believe Justice Thomas made clear that we must fix forfeiture if our statute is to endure future judicial review."
Madison, Wis. – Today, Senator David Craig (R-Town of Vernon), reacted to a statement Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas attached to a denial of certiorari (on procedural grounds) of a case relating to the practice of civil asset forfeiture. Justice Thomas wrote:
I am skeptical that this historical practice is capable of sustaining, as a constitutional matter, the contours of modern practice, for two reasons.
The two reasons outlined by Justice Thomas are: “These laws were also narrower with respect to the type of property they encompassed. For example, they typically covered only the instrumentalities of the crime (such as the vessel used to transport the goods), not the derivative proceeds of the crime (such as property purchased with money from the sale of the illegal goods).” And “Second, it is unclear whether courts historically permitted forfeiture actions to proceed civilly in all respects. . . . Whether forfeiture is characterized as civil or criminal carries important implications for a variety of procedural protections, including the right to a jury trial and the proper standard of proof.”
Sen. Craig reacted to Justice Thomas statement saying:
The reasons leading Justice Thomas to cast doubt on modern civil asset forfeiture practices exist under Wisconsin law and shows the urgency with which the Wisconsin Legislature must work to reform our civil asset forfeiture practices. My legislation, Senate Bill 61, would reform this practice to restore the protections guaranteed by the Constitution. Yesterday, I believe Justice Thomas made clear that we must fix forfeiture if our statute is to endure future judicial review.
Senator Craig represents the 28th Senate District which is comprised of portions of Waukesha, Walworth, Racine, and Milwaukee Counties.
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by State Sen. David Craig
Sen. Craig: “Evers and Palm have gone too far! The Senate must reject Palm now!”
Madison, WI — Today, State Senator David Craig (R-Town of Vernon) released the following statement relating to Governor Tony Evers’ Shelter-in-Place Order: “A decision of such magnitude like a ‘shelter-in-place’ order, regardless of what the government calls it, should only be established through the surety and specificity of an act of the legislature because of its extreme effects on Wisconsin families and businesses. Such action could stem the tide of confusion and anxiety being experienced by employers and employees all across the state. “Further, Governor Evers needs to articulate the specific information he received which caused contradiction between his Friday statement ‘I believe that we’ll be able to avoid [a shelter-in-place order]’ and today’s statement that he will make such an order effective tomorrow. “Additionally, last week I requested the Governor and Attorney General provide details as to how the government’s actions abide by the constitutional strict scrutiny that is required. Their continued silence on these issues is unacceptable given the precipitously negative impacts on civil rights and the economy. “Because of the Governor’s extreme step, I believe the legislature should consider the following protections for Wisconsin citizens: Require legislative approval of any statewide “shelter-in-place” order for reasons of pandemic or infectious disease Require legislative passive review of any “Emergency Declaration” after 30 days, with affirmative approval needed for a state of emergency lasting longer than 60 days Require a written report detailing the satisfaction of strict scrutiny concerns be given to the legislature prior to a ban of gatherings of 50 or fewer is to be in effect Require an immediate report to the legislature of arrests for mass gathering violations “The constitution was not designed to be disregarded in a time of crisis, in fact, it was specifically designed to be most valuable and applicable during times of crisis when liberties are most at risk.”
“Republican legislative majorities will continue to take a commonsense approach and govern responsibly by limiting government overreach while supporting a free-market economy, which is the very recipe that has led to one of the most prosperous decades in state history.”