Judiciary: We have several issues in Wyoming. We have a prison in Rawlins in disrepair, overcrowding in our jails/prisons, a legalized marijuana initiative that may soon be on the ballot, and an ongoing struggle with civil asset forfeiture.
Regarding marijuana, I’m not for legalization, but I do think we need to move towards de-criminalization. Four counts of marijuana possession is considered a felony in Wyoming. I think this needs to be changed, and would much rather see a drug court used versus sending a person like this to prison.
Currently in Wyoming you don’t have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to have your property forfeited to the gov’t (if you are suspected of a drug-related crime). Its call civil asset forfeiture. Imagine that you’re driving down the road with two guns and $3,000 in cash as part of a business deal to buy a new used vehicle. Let’s say you get pulled over for speeding, and the officer determines by his investigation that you are going to buy drugs. He doesn’t charge you with a crime yet, but seizes your two guns and cash. In order to get your property back you have to go to civil court. Your property is presumed guilty and you have to go and determine its innocence. You don’t have the right to an attorney (because you’re not the one on trial, your property is), so you have to pay $2,000 to hire an attorney or try to get your stuff back yourself. If you lose the case, you lose the property to the gov’t. Then law enforcement gets your stuff to use for their funding. Seemed far-fetched? It’s not, it’s law in Wyoming. I support criminal asset forfeiture. You should have to be charged and convicted of a crime before forfeiting your property to the government.