Connor Boyack, founder of Utah’s Libertas Institute, has earned a reputation combating the dangerous no-knock raids characteristic of the War on Drugs/People. The point of these raids is not to defuse a violent situation, but to hunt for drugs or arrest a slumbering, peaceful home-dweller. Sometimes people die as a result.
Now Boyack is fighting to reverse a stealthier assault on Utahans — the latest legislative weakening of protections against wrongful seizure of property passed in 2000 by citizen initiative.
The changes, put over as a minor “recodification” of civil forfeiture law, make it almost impossible for an innocent victim of a property grab by police to recover legal costs. For one thing, compensation is now optional. For another, any compensation awarded is now limited to a mere fifth of the value of the property taken. Yet the cost of litigating such takings is often much greater than the property value.
Boyack hopes to persuade Utah officials who do care about individual liberty to pay more attention to close-to-home hazards.
“One thing I noticed at the Tenth Amendment Center is that while liberty-minded Utah legislators could join arms to [oppose] the federal government, they weren’t nearly as skeptical of the government here in Utah,” he says, quoted in a profile by Rise of the Warrior Cop author Radley Balko.
Boyack champions greater consistency. After all, when your rights are violated, the injustice and the harm are the same whether the perpetrator is local, state or federal.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.