Property Rights

Policy Briefs

“Ripe for Reform: Eminent Domain Law In Arkansas” by Ilya Somin

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This policy brief explores several aspects of Arkansas’s eminent domain laws. One of these aspects is the standard of just compensation in Arkansas as “fair market value.” Somin argues that Arkansas law may fail to take into account an owner’s “subjective value” of the property. He also addresses the eminent domain power conferred on private pipeline companies that transport oil and natural gas through the state. There is a lack of clarity concerning pipelines that do not serve the general public but rather serve “selected private customers of the firm.” Finally, Somin discusses blight condemnations. He suggests that Arkansas’s definition of blight may be so broad that “almost any feature that impedes development in some way can be characterized as an ‘economic or social liability’ or as detrimental to public welfare” and could be considered blighted. This policy brief is also available as an audio version at the bottom of the page.

“Guilty until Proven Innocent” by Maleka Momand

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This policy brief looks at the process of civil asset forfeiture in Arkansas. This practice is primarily used to combat drug trafficking, but police are allowed to seize any asset if they suspect it is connected with criminal activity. Under state law, agencies are allowed to keep 100 percent of seized property for use at the agency’s discretion. This leaves police with a perverse incentive, because they keep any assets they seize and there is often a low standard of proof in forfeiture litigation. This puts ordinary and potentially innocent Arkansans at risk of having their property taken away and never returned. Under civil asset forfeiture, they are guilty until proven innocent.


  • Still too weak“: an op-ed by former ACRE Research and Program Assistant Aaron Newell in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on June 20, 2019 about reforms to Arkansas’s civil asset forfeiture law in the 2019 legislative session.

You can read more property rights-related posts over at the ACRE Review.

Audio Versions of Policy Briefs

“Ripe for Reform: Eminent Domain Law In Arkansas” by Ilya Somin