Skip to comments.Speaking Out: Asset Forfeiture Should Only Follow Conviction
Posted on 02/19/2020 3:23:13 PM PST by nickcarraway
If you regularly read my columns, you have probably figured out by now that I am a strong advocate of law and order. That brings me to three items I would like to discuss related to law enforcement that I believe should be changed or abolished.
The first is civil asset forfeiture or civil judicial forfeiture, and it is a procedure in which police agencies and the government can legally confiscate property from a person they suspect of criminal or illegal activity without charging them with a crime. This can be in the form of cash, or a house, or a car or a boat, just to name a few. This happens on a daily basis, and the only way to attempt to get your property back is to sue the agency that took your property. The burden of proof is on you to prove that the seized assets were not obtained through illegal means.
It is totally legal for citizens to travel in the contiguous 48 states with cash and there is no limit, but numerous people have had large sums of money taken from them by police agencies simply stating that they felt that the money was a product of a crime.
A friend of mine was traveling across country to purchase a classic car. He was flying commercially to his destination when at a layover at an airport, he was patted down by a Transportation Security Administration officer who discovered that he was carrying a wad of cash that he had taken with him to purchase the car. The TSA officer then notified a nearby Drug Enforcement Administration agent who then confiscated my friends cash. It was over $20,000. The only reason he had that much cash was because the seller of the car stated that he would only take cash. So, this poor guy is not only out the cash, but he also couldnt purchase the car he wished to buy. So, on top of that, he had to pay to hire an attorney to try to regain his money, and the attorney told him that it is hard to prove innocence, so most people dont even try to recover their property.
It is one thing to seize cash or property from a known drug dealer or criminal, but to seize assets from law-abiding citizens is legal thievery. It violates everyones Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights and everyones right to a presumption of innocence. The police presume that you are guilty, and since their agency directly profits from these seizures, this increases the possibility of abuse. Civil forfeiture should only be allowed upon a criminal conviction proving the case of criminal activity. Until then, be wary of carrying sums of cash.
The second issue that I wish to address is one in which you may not be aware. Lets just say that you have someone invade your home to rob you or do you harm. Lets say that you, in turn, escape your house and notify the local police agency. They show up and in the process of removing said home invader, the police damage or destroy your house. Guess what? You are on the hook financially for any repairs or replacement of your house. The police agency is considered a governmental entity, and you cannot sue them for any damage that was incurred during the performance of their duties. Also, good luck trying to get your homeowners insurance to pay.
The last item on my agenda that you need to consider is one that most people never experience. That is the act of being arrested. Now, I am all for criminal activity to be an arrestable offense, but what happens if you are arrested and no charges are filed, or all charges are dropped? I am not talking about a plea agreement or some good attorney got you off. I am talking about situations in which there was a possible rush to judgment or overzealous behavior by the police. That arrest record will follow you for the rest of your life whether you were innocent of the charges or not. I believe that laws should be passed that removes this arrest record if no charges were filed or you were exonerated.
Asset forfeiture without a conviction is blatantly unconstitutional and should be abolished.
I completely and enthusiastically agree with all the points made in the article.
However, I might make an exception for the forfeiture of book sale profits and speaking fees paid to certain corrupt politicians.
I don’t even know if asset forfeiture should follow conviction unless the asset directly relates to the crime. Any asset forfeiture is the government’s wet dream.
Asset forfeiture is simply how communist and Nazi dictatorships steal your property. Nothing more and nothing less and nothing different. Its a disgusting sickening and highly corrupting practice as the official thieves use government force against the unconvicted/ innocent citizen and then its often the very same agents who keep all or a major part of your goodies, money, whatever they took from you
Asset forfeiture was brought to you by Henry Hyde and GHWB.
Started before GHWB. March 05, 1991 =>
“In the last 5 years alone, the Justice Department shared over half a billion dollars in forfeited assets with State and local law enforcement.”
It sure as hell took off during his Presidency.
Would it surprise you to know that even if the assets are assumed to be ill-gotten as the result of crime and confiscated, when the person is finished doing their time they are contacted by the IRS looking for income tax on what the government estimates they earned during their criminal career? It happened to someone I went to high school with and when he was released from prison, he had a nice fat IRS bill waiting for him. I have no idea if he ever had to pay it as I ran into him once after his release and he told me he was in the process of fighting it with an attorney.
Yes, Biden, Thurmond, Bush 41 liked asset forfeiture because of the crime wave of the 1960s-1990s.
CAF must follow due process. Whether that is a conviction may or may not be true. But summary seizure to the benefit of the police organization making the grab is not that process.
I wish the government would declare a war on blonds with big hooters.
How about a war on health insurance or homeowners insurance.
Everytime they declare war on something we seem to get more of it and it’s cheaper
More. Much more. The "war on drugs" is nothing short of a war on the Constitution.
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