Efforts to limit seizures of money, homes and other property from people who may never be convicted of a crime are stalling out amid a wave of pressure from prosecutors and police.

Their effort, at least at the state level, appears to be working. At least a dozen states considered bills restricting or even abolishing forfeiture that isn’t accompanied by a conviction or gives law enforcement less control over forfeited proceeds. But most measures failed to pass.

– From the Wall Street Journal article: Efforts to Curb Asset Seizures by Law Enforcement Hit Headwinds

The fact that civil asset forfeiture continues to exist across the American landscape despite outrage and considerable media attention, is as good an example as any as to how far fallen and uncivilized our so-called “society” has become. It also proves the point demonstrated in a Princeton University study that the U.S. is not a democracy, and the desires of the people have no impact on how the country is governed.

Civil asset forfeiture was first highlighted on these pages in the 2013 post, Why You Should Never, Ever Drive Through Tenaha, Texas, in which I explained:

In a nutshell, civil forfeiture is the practice of confiscating items from people, ranging from cash, cars, even homes based on no criminal conviction or charges, merely suspicion. This practice first became widespread for use against pirates, as a way to take possession of contraband goods despite the fact that the ships’ owners in many cases were located thousands of miles away and couldn’t easily be prosecuted. As is often the case, what starts out reasonable becomes a gigantic organized crime ring of criminality, particularly in a society where the rule of law no longer exists for the “elite,” yet anything goes when it comes to pillaging the average citizen.

One of the major reasons these programs have become so abused is that the police departments themselves are able to keep much of the confiscated money. So they actually have a perverse incentive to steal. As might be expected, a program that is often touted as being effective against going after major drug kingpins, actually targets the poor and disenfranchised more than anything else.

Civil asset forfeiture is state-sanctioned theft. There is no other way around it. The entire concept violates the spirit of the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments to the Constitution. In case you have any doubt:

The 4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The 5th Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The 6th Amendment: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Civil asset forfeiture is a civil rights issue, and it should be seen as such by everyone. Just because it targets the entire population as opposed to a specific race, gender or sexual orientation doesn’t make it less important.

The problem with opposition in America today is that people aren’t seeing modern battle lines clearly. The greatest friction and abuse occurring in these United States today comes from the corporate-fascist state’s attack against average citizens. It doesn’t matter what color or gender you are. If you are weak, poor and vulnerable you are ripe for the picking. Until people see the battle lines clearly, it will be very difficult to achieve real change. Most people are divided and conquered along their superficial little tribal affiliations, and they completely miss the bigger picture to the peril of society. Which is why women will support Hillary just because she’s a woman, not caring in the least that she is a compromised, corrupt oligarch stooge.

In case you have any doubt about how little your opinion matters when it comes to the rights of police to rob you blind, read the following excerpts from the Wall Street Journal:

Efforts to limit seizures of money, homes and other property from people who may never be convicted of a crime are stalling out amid a wave of pressure from prosecutors and police.

Read that sentence over and over again until you get it. This is a free country?

Critics have taken aim at the confiscatory powers over concerns that authorities have too much latitude and often too strong a financial incentive when deciding whether to seize property suspected of being tied to criminal activity.

But after New Mexico passed a law this spring hailed by civil-liberties groups as a breakthrough in their effort to rein in states’ forfeiture programs, prosecutor and police associations stepped up their own lobbying campaign, warning legislators that passing such laws would deprive them of a potent crime-fighting tool and rip a hole in law-enforcement budgets.

Their effort, at least at the state level, appears to be working. At least a dozen states considered bills restricting or even abolishing forfeiture that isn’t accompanied by a conviction or gives law enforcement less control over forfeited proceeds. But most measures failed to pass.

“What happened in those states is a testament to the power of the law-enforcement lobby,” said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leaning advocacy group that has led a push for laws giving property owners more protections. 

It seems the only people in America without a powerful lobby group are actual American citizens. See: Charting the American Oligarchy – How 0.01% of the Population Contributes 42% of All Campaign Cash

Prosecutors say forfeiture laws help ensure that drug traffickers, white-collar thieves and other wrongdoers can’t enjoy the fruits of their misdeeds and help curb crime by depriving criminals of the “tools” of their trade. Under federal law and in many states, a conviction isn’t required.

“White-collar thieves,” they say. Yet I haven’t seen a single bank executive’s assets confiscated. Rather, they received taxpayer bailout funds with which to pay themselves record bonuses after wrecking the global economy. Don’t forget:

The U.S. Department of Justice Handles Banker Criminals Like Juvenile Offenders…Literally

In Texas, lawmakers introduced more than a dozen bills addressing forfeiture during this year’s legislative session, which ended Monday. Some would either force the government to meet a higher burden of proof or subject forfeiture programs to more stringent financial disclosure rules and audits. 

But only one bill, which law-enforcement officials didn’t object to, ultimately passed. It requires the state attorney general to publish an annual report of forfeited funds based on data submitted by local authorities. That information, at the moment, is only accessible through freedom-of-information requests.

This is what a corporate-statist oligarchy looks like.

Shannon Edmonds, a lobbyist for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, said local enforcement officers and prosecutors “educated their legislators about how asset forfeiture really works in Texas.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan last month vetoed a bill that would, among other things, prohibit the state from turning over seized property to the federal government unless the owner has been charged with a federal crime or gives consent.

Remember, the terrorists hate us for our freedom.

Prosecutors said the Tenaha episode was an isolated breakdown in the system. “Everybody knows there are bad eggs out there,” Karen Morris, who supervises the Harris County district attorney’s forfeiture unit, told Texas lawmakers at a hearing this spring. “But we don’t stop prosecuting people for murder just because some district attorneys have made mistakes.”

When police aren’t out there stealing your hard earned assets without a trial or charges, they can often be found pounding on citizens for kicks. I came across the following three headlines this morning alone as I was the scanning news.

Cop Exonerated After Being Caught on Video Brutally Beating A Tourist Who Asked For A Tampon

Kids in Police-Run Youth Camp Allegedly Beaten, Threatened By Cops

Florida Cop Charged With On-Duty Child Abuse; Suspended With Pay

This is not what freedom looks like.

For related articles, see:

The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges

Asset Forfeiture – How Cops Continue to Steal Americans’ Hard Earned Cash with Zero Repercussions

Quote of the Day – An Incredible Statement from the City Attorney of Las Cruces, New Mexico

“Common People Do Not Carry This Much U.S. Currency…” – This is How Police Justify Stealing American Citizens’ Money


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