David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. Trent is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” Trent has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of “Why We Must Defend the Electoral College” and a contributor to "The Heritage Guide to the Constitution" and "One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty." His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. He previously served as Executive Vice President of the Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington, where he developed and directed the Foundation's constitutional studies and activism programs. Trent was also a Publius Fellow of the Claremont Institute, a candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives and a legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation. Trent holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and their three children.

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

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Oklahoma Watch digs into one aspect of the opioid shakedown: the millions of dollars going to lawyers and just how much work they really did. But here is another question: Is it ever appropriate for government lawyers—including those on contract—to pursue a case on a contingency fee basis?

To put it another way, even when the government is engaged in civil litigation, should those attorneys be held to similar standards as prosecutors in a criminal case?

Here is a very short, very rough sketch of legal history. Private parties responded to wrongs by seeking private justice—revenge or vendettas. Governments, such as they were, created a structure to channel those private actions in a less harmful way. Eventually, governments took over the role of prosecuting alleged crimes. The dangers inherent in this power led to constraints on it, like the Bill of Rights and heightened ethics rules for prosecutors.

Through all that history, private non-criminal wrongs like negligence were almost entirely left to private parties to pursue in civil courts. With the rise of the administrative state, government more and more often uses this civil court system itself. And while a civil judgment cannot put a person in prison, it can seize property, earnings, and future earnings. It can easily destroy a business or a reputation. And yet there are no similar constraints on government in civil actions as in criminal prosecutions.

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

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