Fighting Back Against State Mandated Robbery
Asset Forfeiture - North Carolina's Dark, Discreet Deal with the Feds
How one Huntersville resident is holding government accountable for the sources of its funding,
...and how we can help
It's a safe bet that asset forfeiture isn't something most North Carolinians are thinking about on a regular basis. Even within the context of legal proceedings, asset forfeiture rarely makes the headlines.
Maybe it's because the odds that any one of us will face asset forfeiture are slim. Or maybe it’s because it's easy to write off, assuming only criminals have their money and property taken.
The reality is far more bleak, and the government continues to steal from citizens, even in our home state of North Carolina. Fortunately, one Liberty warrior has taken it upon himself to raise awareness about this important issue, and try to get his town, Huntersville, to reject the ill-gotten spoils of government theft.
Asset forfeiture is, simply put, when the state takes your money or property as part of legal proceedings. Once a vestige of bygone legal frameworks, it was resurrected in the mid-1980s as part of the failed war on drugs, and has grown to the point that the government takes more stuff through asset forfeiture than the “criminal” robbers who aren’t backed by the state. It is legally justified (by the same entities who reap the benefits of forfeiture) as a means of depriving criminals of the spoils of their crimes. In reality, asset forfeiture is used (sometimes with no regard for due process) to take money and property, fund law enforcement, and leverage plea agreements, fourth amendment be damned.
There are two main types of asset forfeiture - civil and criminal. While both are problematic in concept and practice, civil asset forfeiture is far more nefarious. Where criminal forfeiture generally requires a conviction, civil asset forfeiture only requires the state to assert an arbitrary link between the property and a crime. Further, civil cases do not fall under the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. This is ripe for abuse, and it has been abused, to horrifying degrees.
North Carolina has banned civil asset forfeiture in almost all cases except racketeering, making it a leader in this area of civil rights. Or at least it would seem...
As these things always tend to go, there is a loophole. If local law enforcement forms an official partnership with federal cops, the federal law reigns supreme, and civil asset forfeiture is very much back on the table. Without irony, this arrangement is called an "equitable sharing program."
Credit where its due, NC has one more protection, too. Proceeds from criminal asset forfeiture are only allowed, theoretically, to go to funding education, thus, again theoretically, eliminating the incentive for local law enforcement to seize property solely for their own benefit. Of course, there is no requirement that law enforcement report forfeited assets, meaning the education spending requirement is roughly as effective as a screen door on a submarine. NC has reaped nearly half a billion dollars in windfall from the equitable sharing program over the last 20 years.
Enter Eric Rowell. Eric has been a mainstay of local Huntersville politics for the last decade, with the seemingly simple request that elected officials be held accountable for the decisions they make.Read more
Tar Heel Libertarian - April 2023
Help Wanted (Needed!)
OUTREACH DIVISION (DIRECTOR)
We are looking to appoint a new Outreach Director. This is a critically important role, as we look to implement our grassroots strategy and grow the party. If you'd like to be considered for the position, please email [email protected].
The Outreach Division is responsible for direct contact between the LPNC and the general public at the grassroots level. The rest of the state party will also use the Outreach Division as a tool for support, growth, and development. This director should work on the development of affiliates, student organizations, and coalitions.
Supervisor: Executive Director
- Affiliate Coordinator
- Coalitions Coordinator
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Events Coordinator
- Campus Coordinator
The LPNC is looking for members to join the following committees. Joining a committee is a great way to get involved on a more limited basis while still meeting great people and doing meaningful work for the LPNC, especially if you are new or don't have lots of extra time. Committees generally meet virtually once a week or less, for about an hour, and usually do not require significant time commitment outside of the meetings:
- 2024 Convention Planning Committee: This committee will plan the LPNC State Convention for late Feb 2024 or March 2024. Meetings will likely be every other Thursday, opposite the EC Thursday meetings.
- 2024 Platform Committee: What is more quintessentially Libertarian and also engaged at the core of what we believe than updating our official positions on issues?!?!?! This committee will be in existence until the 2024 convention and is tasked with making proposals to change the platform.
- NOTA (none of the above) Committee (rule change 2024): This is a one-off committee that is only expected to meet a few times and have a specific and limited scope. The Committee is tasked with proposing changes to the NOTA section of the rules with the intention of coming up with proposals that will make NOTA workable with electronic voting. Clever problem solvers are encouraged to apply.
If you would like to be on any of these committees, or if you have additional questions about time commitment or what is expected, please email [email protected] by April 15 and indicate your interest.
From the Chair
Hello North Carolina, and thank you for the honor of electing me Chair of the state party. It is my privilege to introduce myself here. I am humbled by your support. This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly, and I promise I will be tireless in my dedication, diligent in my duties, and responsive always to the needs and concerns of everyone in the LPNC.
I am hoping you all will get to know me and my plans a little better today, but first I have to mention the prior EC and the wonderful job they did. Jonathan, Sarah, Steven, Mike, Kim, and Travis, you all taught me so much over the last couple of years. I will take what I learned working with you and apply it, and I ask only that you hold me accountable, as I have always tried to do. Thank you for the time and energy you gave to the LPNC.
I want to say a special and direct thank you to Joe Garcia, our previous Chair. Joe, you have been an example, a mentor, and a friend to me in so many ways. From arguing over bylaw technicalities to coming together to support Joshua, I am deeply appreciative of all you have done over the last few years, and before, and for all the lessons I learned watching and working with you. I aim to serve the LPNC as Chair in a way that makes you proud to have passed the Liberty torch to me.
To the rest of the LPNC, and everyone reading this, I want to let you know that we are ready to get to work! I have a number of things I want to accomplish relatively quickly, building on the work of the prior EC, to position the party for success now and into the future. Early priorities will involve modernizing the website, building out a social media strategy, providing the resources needed to grow affiliates, and working with affiliates to strengthen our pipeline of candidates and give them the tools they need to run successful campaigns. The 2023 Election season is right around the corner. If you are running or know someone who would like to run, please get in touch with us. We'll be happy to support our candidates in any way we can.
This is on top of the strong progress we have made in recent years from the hard work all of you have been doing, work I hope to see continue. Our EC will remain dedicated to supporting each of you when you need, and to getting out of your way when you need. We have seen so much growth and so many successes recently. Joe covered many of them in his address to the convention on Saturday, and yet it was only a handful of the many accomplishments that the state party and so many of the affiliates have realized. I am here to help that continue.
Convention was a huge success, and I want to personally and publicly thank and commend Zac Lentz and Dee Watson for all their hard work in pulling off a successful event. We had great speakers, smooth voting, a fantastic auction, and even a gubernatorial announcement.
Finally, to Sean, Mike, Dee, Christina, Mac, Nick, and Angela, I want to say how much I look forward to working with you as we bring this party to the next level. Building on the work of those who have come before us, let’s see some tangible results, and take things to a level we only dreamed of previously.
Thank you, all of you, again for your support. I promise to spend the next two years proving your faith in me was justified.
-Ryan Brown, LPNC Chair