July 25, 2014
In giving historical context to the growth and development of the federal district, Alison Fortier offers a tour of our nation’s capital that goes beyond the traditional guidebook. She highlights some of the more obscure, historically interesting sites in the city as well as those that are so very familiar. In covering each era of Washington’s history, she carefully curates a special expedition of our nation’s capital, reflects upon the people who shaped it, and examines the remarkable events of our national story commemorated at almost every turn. Fortier includes many interesting tidbits about how our capital city came to be and, ultimately, how it assumed the role of capital of the Free World.
Alison Fortier has lived and worked in and around Washington, DC for more than thirty years. She began her career working as staff for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, then worked in the State Department, and later served on the staff of the National Security Council at the White House before moving to private industry. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in government from the College of William & Mary and a Masters in history from the University of Michigan.
July 29, 2014
Civil asset forfeiture is a law enforcement tool with a dark side. Meant to ensure that “crime does not pay,” civil forfeiture laws allow police to seize property suspected of being involved in criminal activity. But this tool often has low evidentiary standards, and in many states law enforcement can keep whatever they seize as profits – leading some agencies to treat civil forfeiture as a way to raise revenue, often at the expense of innocent property owners. As stories continue to surface of cops behaving more like robbers – seizing homes, money, and cars on dubious grounds – action is being taken. States have begun to reform their laws to protect their citizens’ property rights, and the issue has now reached Congress. What is the outlook on forfeiture reform, and where do we stand today?
Representative Tim Walberg of Michigan’s 7th District, recently brought stories of forfeiture abuses to the attention of the House, and has called publicly for federal civil forfeiture reform. Radley Balko, an author, blogger, and investigative journalist for The Huffington Post, writes frequently on law enforcement matters including civil forfeiture; he has brought to the public’s attention many of the innocent victims of civil forfeiture abuse. Scott Bullock is a Senior Attorney at the public interest law firm, the Institute for Justice, who has litigated a number of forfeiture cases and is a leading expert in forfeiture law.