Monday, January 28, 2019

A Moment of Solidarity

Just this one time, I agree with USAToday. Civil forfeiture is a terrible idea. It's completely unconstitutional. It used to confiscate money and property from people who have committed no crimes. It's used in ways that leave people with little recourse, often resulting in them simply abandoning the assets.

If we all agree on this, let's put a stop to it. Congress? Anyone?


Kristophr said...

Civil forfeiture is easy to stop.

It depends on an obsolete English common law. Any local or state statute automatically trumps common law.

The State of Oregon ended civil forfeiture abuse inside Oregon by demanding a conviction of the property owner of a crime before allowing forfeiture. This crashed ALL such forfeitures to a halt in the state. Any new ones submitted require a conviction first.

Beans said...

Civil Asset Forfeiture was designed as a way of attacking drug dealers, pimps and criminal organizations that could not be shut down by convictions. Kind of the 'poor man's RICO.' And a way of getting around elected prosecutors and elected judges (elected by the very people being tried by the system.) (Yes, I have seen a 'rich' drug dealer with his sleazy 5K an hour lawyer walk away with 'drug offender probation' on his 6th felony conviction. That is the type of case CAF was designed to combat.)

It was not meant to be used against some person on a routine traffic stop.

Used against organized criminal enterprises, such as the fine young men distributing cleaning chemicals cleverly disguised as illegal drugs, it is an effective tool in slowing down said criminal enterprises.

But, unfortunately, bureaucrats discovered that they could make money and fund normally unfundable programs and people with it.

Kind of like using the local SWAT team for serving misdemeanor traffic warrants. Too much tool for the job.

Or if you used RICO statutes against the local serial traffic offender.

Gorges Smythe said...

It's theft by government, plain and simple.

Aesop said...

There's nothing wrong with seizing the assets of criminals.

As long as you convict them of being criminals first, with a judge, jury, and all the trimmings.

Which goes by the quaint legal term "due process".

If you're going to skip due process for assets, why not just allow the police to shoot suspects in the head for everything, at arrest?
Better yet, why not allow all citizens the same right regarding the police knocking at the door, penalty- and consequence-free?
Suddenly, even the 80-IQ average congressweasels and assorted politicians (that would be all of them) would see the problem there.

The easiest way to get the law conformed to common sense and historical jurisprudence is to enforce them exclusively against the political class first.
When the Honorable Joe Blow and all his colleagues have their bank accounts and cars taken, because the police can, they'll suddenly see the light.

Call it the Hot Stove: Meet Face Theory of community policing.

ASM826 said...

Aesop, yes, after conviction, and having the penalties written into law, would be a different thing altogether.

McChuck said...

The law is nothing. The opinions of tyrants in black robes is everything.

Will said...

I've read that the average seizure is ~$5k. The cops do this because it can cost more to retain a lawyer to get it back.
(I had the IRS do it to me, and was told to just let them have it because of the cost of fighting it. Same difference. They're all crooks, just some have badges.)

It was sold as a way to get at the rich drug dealers/importers. Doesn't/can't work. They have enough assets the cops can't get to to fight this sort of idiocy. And they do, so the .gov doesn't bother applying it to them.