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.22 Tom

FAIR Act to Reform Asset Seizure Laws

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Some won't like it because of the source, but changing the incentives involved in seizing property is a good idea.

 

 

http://reason.com/blog/2014/07/24/rand-paul-wants-to-make-it-harder-for-th

 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) today announced he has introduced the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act to add a bit more due process to the system by which federal prosecutors seize citizens' assets, often before ever proving they've broken the law. From his office's announcement:

 

The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property. State law enforcement agencies will have to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General's Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury's General Fund.

 

"The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime," Sen. Paul said.

 

Looking over the legislation, the "clear and convincing evidence" replaces "a preponderance of evidence" threshold for the feds to attempt to force asset forfeitures. This is a higher legal burden of proof, requiring that "a party must prove that it is substantially more likely than not that it is true." It's still obviously not as good as requiring evidence of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt or for the federal government to actually convict somebody of a crime first, but baby steps, I guess.

 

The Daily Show just recently presented a segment on the "Highway-Robbing Highway Patrolmen," aptly illustrating how the twisted financial incentives from asset forfeitures turn law enforcement officers into thieves. Our lengthy archives of horrifying asset forfeiture stories can be skimmed through here.

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Where's the part about the officers having to make written public apologies and pay damages?

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Where's the part about the officers having to make written public apologies and pay damages?

 

That seems to be the 800 pound donut in the room at the moment. ....

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It's a pipe dream Ricky. A long donut shaped pipe.

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The mayor's of these Texas towns are in on it too. Legalized piracy. Allows them to lower the taxes on the locals. Is this a great country or what?

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The mayor's of these Texas towns are in on it too. Legalized piracy. Allows them to lower the taxes on the locals. Is this a great country or what?

 

Texas is hardly alone. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are funded by forfeitures, and all they have to do is allege a crime. The rules haven't changed much since the famous yacht Monkey Business was confiscated because a crew member had some marijuana residue aboard.

 

Years ago, Bob Barr and Bill Clinton worked together to try to stop some of this activity, but cash cows are hard to kill.

 

I'm glad to see Rand Paul picking up where they left off. If we can take some of the profit incentive out of the drug war it will be easier to develop sensible drug policies.

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Government Siezes Woman's Savings

 

A US Citizen decided to sell her house and move in with her daughter in the Phillipines. She wired some of her money prior to leaving, but apparently didn't trust bankers and their government regulators with all of it.

 

The rest of the money she carried in cash scattered throughout her luggage and on her person, figuring it would be safer from thieves (both with and without badges) that way.

 

She figured wrong.


...She believed it would be safer to keep it hidden. Safe from thieves or government agents; whichever appeared first. But her efforts to protect her cash failed.

 

After finding wads of cash in her wallets and carry-on bag, the agents went so far as to remove the woman’s brassiere and girdle to find the rest. In total they seized $40,977 from the woman, which were proceeds from the recent sale of her $120,000 home.

 

“She stated that she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money,” according to the government’s version of events.

 

The federal agents decided to keep the money using a tactic known as civil asset forfeiture. The government let her go — minus her cash — without any criminal charges.

 

She’ll now have to fight in court to have any hope of getting her savings returned. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gjon Juncaj has already filed a “Complaint for Forfeiture” on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. The government’s intent is to permanently keep her money, just because it can.

 

The theft has been formalized in the Code of Federal Regulations. Americans are not allowed to freely move their money without federal government’s knowledge. Customs enforcers demand that sums of cash over $10,000 be declared with the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)....

 

If she committed a crime, she should be charged.

 

This convenient scam that says the cash is guilty and must therefore go to the seizing agency unless the owner proves the cash innocent must stop.

 

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I"m the furthest thing imaginable, from a libertarian, but on this issue, I am in agreement with Rand Paul... civil forfeitures without due process ought to be considered unconstitutional.

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Government Siezes Woman's Savings

 

A US Citizen decided to sell her house and move in with her daughter in the Phillipines. She wired some of her money prior to leaving, but apparently didn't trust bankers and their government regulators with all of it.

 

The rest of the money she carried in cash scattered throughout her luggage and on her person, figuring it would be safer from thieves (both with and without badges) that way.

 

She figured wrong.

 

 

...She believed it would be safer to keep it hidden. Safe from thieves or government agents; whichever appeared first. But her efforts to protect her cash failed.

 

After finding wads of cash in her wallets and carry-on bag, the agents went so far as to remove the woman’s brassiere and girdle to find the rest. In total they seized $40,977 from the woman, which were proceeds from the recent sale of her $120,000 home.

 

“She stated that she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money,” according to the government’s version of events.

 

The federal agents decided to keep the money using a tactic known as civil asset forfeiture. The government let her go — minus her cash — without any criminal charges.

 

She’ll now have to fight in court to have any hope of getting her savings returned. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gjon Juncaj has already filed a “Complaint for Forfeiture” on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. The government’s intent is to permanently keep her money, just because it can.

 

The theft has been formalized in the Code of Federal Regulations. Americans are not allowed to freely move their money without federal government’s knowledge. Customs enforcers demand that sums of cash over $10,000 be declared with the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)....

 

If she committed a crime, she should be charged.

 

This convenient scam that says the cash is guilty and must therefore go to the seizing agency unless the owner proves the cash innocent must stop.

 

Bad example her issue was not the source of the funds but the failure to declare them. In these cases the mere presence of the money is, ipso facto, proof of guilt.

 

A better example would be the day I purchases a certain towable asset in Tampa. Given that many sellers are reluctant to accept checks, such sales are typically cash and often large sums. Had I been stopped by the Florida FHP for some infraction and they discovered the cash they could have arbitrarily declared it drug money and walked off with it. Something they do regularly.

 

That is what the FAIR act is aimed at. I don't think the lady you described is going to be covered by it.

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The FAIR Act would still cover where her money goes: into general funds instead of to the seizing agency. Incentives matter.

 

When people like me who believe it should not be a crime to travel with our money, and who also believe that it's only a crime because of the idiotic war on (some) drugs, complain about these laws and try to get them changed, do you know who the political opposition is?

 

I do. The people with the profit incentive become quite motivated when you threaten their cash cow.

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I"m the furthest thing imaginable, from a libertarian, but on this issue, I am in agreement with Rand Paul... civil forfeitures without due process ought to be considered unconstitutional.

 

Then you're not that far, at least on this issue, which as you can see is pretty well ignored by the partisans here from both halves of the Duopoly.

 

My take: Republicans won't do anything that will weaken the powers accumulated for the sacred Drug War and Democrats are not particularly interested in property rights issues. Sometimes, it takes a libertarian.

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5 Issues On Which Libertarians Give A Shit Are On Your Side

 

LMAO at editors with taste. Posting that one, I noticed the URL, which is automagically generated using the author's title, ended in "libertarians-give-a-sh" while the article title that actually was used for publication is a bit more friendly and less profane.

 

My guess: 4 out of 5 apply to more than one person here who considers himself the furthest thing imaginable from a libertarian.

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Medical Marijuana Patient Has Half Million Seized


...Oates' doctor had recommended medicinal marijuana for Oates' chronic back pain, so he attained a medical marijuana card with cultivation rights. Dispensaries were still few and far between at the time, and Oates didn't trust Craigslist for his medicine.

 

"I felt like the next alternative was to grow it ourselves," says Oates. Oates met a few other patients who shared concerns about underground marijuana channels, and they decided to start growing together. Oates had their entire supply during the raid, which ended up being more than the permitted amount that he could grow with cultivation rights. He pled guilty to possessing under two pounds of marijuana.

 

But the conviction ended up being the smallest price that Oates had to pay. Goodyear Police Department brought Oates' case to the Attorney General, who consequently slapped Oates with over $455,000 in civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture is when the government can seize property and finances that they suspect have a connection to illicit activity. However, they sue the property instead of the person, so there doesn't have to be a related conviction.

 

"That's what they're claiming, is that the market value of the sales that he allegedly made was $455,000," says Oates' attorney John Moore. "They don't have any proof or any evidence that the property that they are trying to forfeit is related to the crime of his possession of marijuana for sale."

 

Oates says that between property taken, bank accounts seized, and legal fees, he has actually lost over $600,000, but that he would "rather spend every dollar on an attorney than just let [law enforcement] have it."

 

...

 

Moore adds that Arizona has a direct incentive to utilize asset forfeiture because unlike other states, Arizona law enforcement gets to keep seized funds for their own departments.

 

"Their focus is on raising revenues instead of actual law enforcement itself," says Moore. "Instead of going after real drug dealers who are transporting across state lines or criminal gangs that are creating great crime and personal injury to people, they're going after an individual because they know he had funds in his bank account."

 

Arizona is not alone. The profit incentive to seize assets exists in other places. We should get rid of that at the very least, if not go all the way and require actual proof of guilt before property is confiscated.

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Government Siezes Woman's Savings

 

A US Citizen decided to sell her house and move in with her daughter in the Phillipines. She wired some of her money prior to leaving, but apparently didn't trust bankers and their government regulators with all of it.

 

The rest of the money she carried in cash scattered throughout her luggage and on her person, figuring it would be safer from thieves (both with and without badges) that way.

 

She figured wrong.

 

 

...She believed it would be safer to keep it hidden. Safe from thieves or government agents; whichever appeared first. But her efforts to protect her cash failed.

 

After finding wads of cash in her wallets and carry-on bag, the agents went so far as to remove the woman’s brassiere and girdle to find the rest. In total they seized $40,977 from the woman, which were proceeds from the recent sale of her $120,000 home.

 

“She stated that she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money,” according to the government’s version of events.

 

The federal agents decided to keep the money using a tactic known as civil asset forfeiture. The government let her go — minus her cash — without any criminal charges.

 

She’ll now have to fight in court to have any hope of getting her savings returned. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gjon Juncaj has already filed a “Complaint for Forfeiture” on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. The government’s intent is to permanently keep her money, just because it can.

 

The theft has been formalized in the Code of Federal Regulations. Americans are not allowed to freely move their money without federal government’s knowledge. Customs enforcers demand that sums of cash over $10,000 be declared with the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)....

 

If she committed a crime, she should be charged.

 

This convenient scam that says the cash is guilty and must therefore go to the seizing agency unless the owner proves the cash innocent must stop.

She should have bought gold, then sold it on the market after the trip. Easier to hide, takes up less space and will not set off the dogs.

 

She chose not to declare the cash, so I can see why she had to forfeit the cash. If she did want to hide the money, converting it would have been smart. Nobody would have thought twice about several heavy gold chains hanging around her neck, wrists and ankles and rings on her fingers and a few coins in her pocket. All hidden in plain sight.

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I think the law requiring a declaration of cash makes no sense because, as you note, you can carry the same amount of wealth on your person in different forms.

 

Thing is, she appeared to want to conceal her wealth from anyone and everyone at her destination, so wearing it around would kind of defeat her purpose.

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Washington Post did a good three part series on policing for profit and the private firms that help to train police to seek money seizures. There is a whole industry in training cops to seize cash, and informal competition among cops to see who can seize the most. This is the kind of incentive that should not exist in law enforcement and that the FAIR Act would fix, if drug warriors would ever let it.

 

Stop and Seize

 

Desert Snow and Black Asphalt

 

Some Get Their Money Back, usually too late and at great expense.

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Washington Post did a good three part series on policing for profit and the private firms that help to train police to seek money seizures. There is a whole industry in training cops to seize cash, and informal competition among cops to see who can seize the most. This is the kind of incentive that should not exist in law enforcement and that the FAIR Act would fix, if drug warriors would ever let it.

 

Stop and Seize

 

Desert Snow and Black Asphalt

 

Some Get Their Money Back, usually too late and at great expense.

 

Great series by the Washington Post. I read the hard copy while visiting my brother over the weekend. The Desert Snow article made me cringe.

 

Osama Bin Laden is still winning.

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Results of the profit incentive in policing:

Police, Prosecutors, conspire to forge document justifying seizure of cash

In the usual “upside-down world of civil forfeiture,” police and prosecutors already have all the advantages. They can seize and keep cash or property that they merely suspect is involved with criminal activity. And if the owner objects, then he or she has the burden of going to court and proving the property’s innocence.

In Baltimore, however, these legal advantages for the police may not have been enough for one federal prosecutor’s attempt to take Samantha Banks’ cash. Ms. Banks’ case, as the Baltimore City Paper explains, began when a TSA agent found $122,640 in cash in her husband’s bag. After DEA agents seized the cash, a K-9 officer with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MTAP), Joseph Lambert, had his dog sniff it.

Unsurprisingly, as studies show about one third to ninety percent of all U.S. currency is tainted by cocaine, the dog alerted to the presence of narcotics.

Although the government found no drugs and did not charge Ms. Banks or her husband with any crime—she claimed that she and her husband are real estate investors and the money was for a real estate purchase—the U.S. Attorney’s Office decided it had probable cause to believe the money was connected to illegal activity and filed for forfeiture. After all, what did they have to lose? If the government successfully forfeited Ms. Banks’ cash, then the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the DEA, and—through a loophole known as “equitable sharing”—the MTAP could have split the $122,640 amongst themselves.

What came next, even in the context of civil forfeiture, was surprising.

According to a deposition given by the head trainer for the MTAP K-9 team, the police could not find the drug dog’s certification to support the forfeiture action. Instead, an officer—who claims he was acting under a “direct order” from officer Lambert—created a certificate on his home computer and the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA), Stefan Cassella, passed it off to Ms. Banks’ attorney as “a reproduction of the original certificate.”
Here is how the head trainer for the MTAP K-9 team describes the document’s authenticity:

Q. Okay. Is this an actual authentic certification?
A. No.
Q. Is this a fraudulent certification?
A. I believe so. . .

 

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If there is a post-Ferguson marriage of principles between progressives and libertarians, it is breaking out in Philadelphia. The Institute for Justice’s stated goal is the end of civil forfeiture. As thousands of Philadelphians work through the system every year, they must wonder whether the libertarians have it right.

 

The Institute for Justice filed its lawsuit after months of observing the courtroom, four years after it published a report on how civil forfeiture meant “property is guilty until you prove it innocent,” two years after Philadelphia City Paper reporter Isaiah Thompson published a lengthy investigation of the process, and one year after a blockbuster New Yorker piece about forfeitures around the country. The basic argument, in the articles and in the lawsuit, was that Philadelphia’s use of forfeiture was wildly out of whack. Thompson’s reporting found that the city brought in “upwards of $6-million a year” from forfeitures, or about five times as much as Brooklyn. Those numbers, and Thompson’s subsequent reporting, are cited in the Institute for Justice’s filing.

I don't think for forfeiture victims wonder whether libertarians have been right all along about this practice. You know when you've been looted. You don't wonder.

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Economists Design Study and Learn Profit Incentive Matters

 

That's kind of built into the definition of the word incentive, so I'm not sure why a study was needed to prove that this general rule applies to law enforcement officers every bit as much as to anyone else.


In many states, the law permits police departments to auction off the seized assets and keep the cash. Critics say this system incentivizes "policing for profit" at the expense of innocent members of the community, while proponents argue that it motivates police officers to do their jobs better and funds police departments by "taxing criminals."

 

Wilson, a professor of economics at Chapman University, and his co-author Michael Preciado designed a study to reveal how the incentives set forth under civil forfeiture affect human behavior. In the study, one undergraduate student plays the role of law enforcement in a computer game, and three others play the roles of the public. Subjects played for real money, and Wilson says the results were overwhelming.

 

"It's not a few people just abusing it. This is the modal tendency: to abuse," says Wilson, who points out that subjects are more likely than not to help others in games when there's no financial cost of doing so. "For me, that's pretty strong evidence that it's the rules that are creating the incentives for them to police for profit."

 

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More Policing For Profit

 

...Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.



The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep up to 80 percent of the assets they seize. The Washington Post obtained 43,000 of the reports dating from 2008 through a Freedom of Information Act request.

...

Of the nearly $2.5 billion in spending reported in the forms, 81 percent came from cash and property seizures in which no indictment was filed, according to an analysis by The Post. Owners must prove that their money or property was acquired legally in order to get it back.

...

A local or state police agency can seize cash or property under federal law through the Equitable Sharing Program when a federal agency such as the Drug Enforcement Administration or Immigration and Customs Enforcement agrees to adopt the seizure under federal law. Federal agencies generally are allowed to keep 20 percent or more of the seizure after an adoption.

In September, The Post reported that police across the country became more aggressive in their use of federal civil asset forfeiture laws after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Officials at Justice and the Department of Homeland Security encouraged a technique known as highway interdiction to help in the fight against drugs and terror.

There have been 61,998 cash seizures on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments and processed through the Equitable Sharing Program, according to an analysis of Justice data obtained by The Post.

Equitable Sharing participants must follow rules contained in a 50-page Equitable Sharing guide that require the proceeds of seizures to be used “by law enforcement agencies for law enforcement purposes only.”

Permissible uses include overtime pay, training, building construction and improvements and equipment — everything from file cabinets and fitness gear to automatic weapons, surveillance systems and cars. They also can use proceeds to buy food and drinks at conferences or during disaster operations.

...

The Justice Department has about 15 employees assigned to overseeing compliance.

...

One audit examined about $3.4 million in Equitable Sharing funds that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol spent from July 2009 to June 2012.

The audit found $1.9 million in unallowable and unsupported expenditures relating to salaries, overtime pay, construction, fees paid to contractors and the use of two Ford F-150 pickup trucks by non-law enforcement personnel.

Oklahoma authorities did not return calls seeking comment.

Auditors found the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office paid thousands for projectors, scanner equipment and other items that were not intended for law enforcement. They also paid for 20 lawyers in the Mesa County prosecutor’s office to attend a conference at the Keystone ski resort. Auditors questioned more than $78,000 in spending.

The Mesa Sheriff’s Office also did not respond to calls from The Post.

 

$2.5 billion from the Equitable Sharing Program, $2 billion of it seized from people who were never convicted of any crime.

 

Seems wrong to me, but who is willing to oppose it in Congress? Rand Paul and Hank Johnson. Yes, the Guam guy.

 

 

 

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The IRS is into the asset forfeiture game in a big way, sweeping up the cash of many people, accusing about 1/5 of those people with a crime.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/us/law-lets-irs-seize-accounts-on-suspicion-no-crime-required.html?_r=0

 

The NY Times calls the practice "increasingly controversial" but this staple of drug war funding has seemed to me like it should be controversial for decades. Better late than never, I welcome them to the libertarian bandwagon on this one.

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I'm glad that the Johnny-Come-Lately NY Times has finally joined the fight against civil asset forfeiture abuse.

 

This article shows once again that this enforcement tool leads to targeting of assets, not criminals.

 

Good for them, and it's about time. That's why I resent this part:

 

The practice of civil forfeiture has come under fire in recent months, amid a spate of negative press

and growing outrage among civil rights advocates, libertarians and members of Congress who have raised serious questions about the fairness of the practice, which critics say runs roughshod over due process rights.

 

My outrage over this practice grew in the 1980s under the Bonzo administration. It has remained pretty much stable since, like all libertarians I know. The growing outrage exists exclusively among those who just discovered this practice, or just began reporting on it. Finally. Don't include libertarians in that group. We've been right about this practice all along, and still are.

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If in doubt, take it

 

And other outrageous attitudes that law enforcement officers develop about private property when they have the opportunity to use it to fatten their budgets.

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I'm glad that the Johnny-Come-Lately NY Times has finally joined the fight against civil asset forfeiture abuse.

 

This article shows once again that this enforcement tool leads to targeting of assets, not criminals.

 

...

 

 

The article also presents the deceptive drug warrior response to calls for CIVIL asset forfeiture reform:

 

 

In defense of the practice, Gary Bergman, a prosecutor with the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, said civil forfeiture had been distorted in news reports. “All they hear is the woman was left on the side of the road and the police drove off with her car and her money, no connection to drugs,” he told other prosecutors at the session.

 

“I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen — it does. It should not. But they never hear about all the people that get stopped with the drugs in their cars, in their houses, the manufacturing operations we see, all the useful things we do with the money, the equipment, vehicles. They don’t hear about that.”

 

If he really believes that the abuses of innocent people should stop, he should join libertarians and the various Johnny-Come-Lately's in calling for CIVIL asset forfeiture reform. As for those "other cases" people never hear about, we have CRIMINAL asset forfeiture laws that he is free to use.

 

The only difference is a conviction (of a person, not "guilty" property). You know, the difference between punishing the innocent and punishing the guilty? The thing he's claiming he'd like to see, but is fighting against.

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DC police have budget plans for property they have not yet seized from innocent owners.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/dc-police-plan-for-future-seizure-proceeds-years-in-advance-in-city-budget-documents/2014/11/15/7025edd2-6b76-11e4-b053-65cea7903f2e_story.html

 

If you know you're going to loot, might as well budget for it.

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I always wondered whether a day would come when I would see something like this in USA Today instead of some weird libertarian publication.

 

It came.

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/11/19/police-civil-asset-forfeiture-profit-drug-trafficking-editorials-debates/19299879/

 

The days of this particular drug war cash cow are numbered. I hope it's a small number.

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Looks like the DC police department includes asset forfeiture in its future budgets.

 

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141116/11094529165/dc-police-department-budgets-its-asset-forfeiture-proceeds-years-advance.shtml

 

Sounds like armed robbery or a mugging.

 

Half of the more than $5.5 million in cash seizures were for $141 or less, with more than a thousand for less than $20.

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I"m the furthest thing imaginable, from a libertarian, but on this issue, I am in agreement with Rand Paul... civil forfeitures without due process ought to be considered unconstitutional.

 

Of course it is unconstitutional! Explicitly and obviously so. However, in the absence of any existing legislation to the contrary, you, or the government, can do any sort of unconstitutional stuff you want to until the Supremes say you can't.

 

Here's the 4th amendment, from WIKI

 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] 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.[2]

 

I have never understood how this situation ever even came about in the first place, or how it has avoided scrutiny by the Supremes.

 

Has the "War on Drugs" or Homeland Security Act or some such managed to circumvent constitutional law without any pushback at all? Did Nixon, way back in 1971, issue some Executive Finding concerning the word "unreasonable"?

 

I have obviously missed something on this issue.

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It goes back much further. The Brits are responsible. Here's a helpful word: deodand.

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The short answer is that the Royal Navy might not always have been able to catch the perpetrator of a crime, but they were pretty good at catching his ship. Being used in a crime, it was "guilty" property, so a case was brought against the ship. The owner had every opportunity to show up and try to prove his property innocent, but I guess few did, so the Royal Navy got a ship.

 

It's not that different today. Cop sees your money, surmises a crime has taken place, takes the money, and it goes to the seizing agency unless you prove there was no crime.

 

For a more complete picture, search: asset forfeiture deodand

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And then there are the 5th

 

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 offence 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.

 

and 14th (excerpt mine)

 

nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

 

amendments, with their Due Process clauses.

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The short answer is that the Royal Navy might not always have been able to catch the perpetrator of a crime, but they were pretty good at catching his ship. Being used in a crime, it was "guilty" property, so a case was brought against the ship. The owner had every opportunity to show up and try to prove his property innocent, but I guess few did, so the Royal Navy got a ship.

 

It's not that different today. Cop sees your money, surmises a crime has taken place, takes the money, and it goes to the seizing agency unless you prove there was no crime.

 

For a more complete picture, search: asset forfeiture deodand

 

Oh, I see. That does apply pretty closely.

 

So how is that implicitly or explicitly included in the US constitutional system?

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Civil asset forfeiture, like criminal asset forfeiture, is a due process of law. Has been since before there was a USA.

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And besides, if you want to use Britlaw as a basis for asset seizure, what about the Magna Carta?

 

It says right here, in Section 39,

 

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

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Civil asset forfeiture, like criminal asset forfeiture, is a due process of law. Has been since before there was a USA.

 

Due process here refers, or is supposed to refer, to a hearing of some kind in which a judge says it's OK, thereby implicitly opening an avenue for appeal of the judge's ruling. Not to the seizure itself.

 

And besides, John Hancock and them said "Fuck the British, anyway!"

 

sort of... actually, they weren't really big on generalities. They listed out the "He Hases" against ol' Georgie without really offering much of a plan past "Let's whup 'em and toss 'em out!"

 

paraphrases mine.

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And besides, if you want to use Britlaw as a basis for asset seizure, what about the Magna Carta?

 

It says right here, in Section 39,

 

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

 

 

And then the Const. establishes some Law of the Land against seizure without due process. You can't argue that the seizure or forfeiture itself is the due process.

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And besides, if you want to use Britlaw as a basis for asset seizure, what about the Magna Carta?

 

It says right here, in Section 39,

 

No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land."

 

And then the Const. establishes some Law of the Land against seizure without due process. You can't argue that the seizure or forfeiture itself is the due process.

Actually, I can, but I'm not so inclined because I disagree.

 

But others can and have made that argument and they have won.

 

Hence the need for this thread and the reform that is being proposed.

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Sorry, I didn't mean "you" TR, I should have said "one". Also, I know that one can argue any side of any argument. I was being rhetorical, kind of like the "how can you say that!?!" falacy.

 

I think we're all in the same choir here, at least thus far.

 

Please elucidate about who has made that argument, that the seizure or forfeiture is itself the required due process? And how in the heck they are winning so far, legally?

 

Dhat make no sense!

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And has anyone actually argued deo dandum in the US, or is it kind of an implied common law principle? Besides, the deodand was actually forfeited to the church, not he crown, originally. Then came HenryVIII and all that.

 

And more besides, Deo Dandum was abolished in 1632. I looked it up. How late was the Royal Navy still using the principle? (-edit- Wiki says 1846. Big difference in modern relevance there!)

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From Cornell's legal site:

Courts have come to recognize that two aspects of due process exist: procedural due process and substantive due process. Procedural due process aims to ensure fundamental fairness by guaranteeing a party the right to be heard, ensuring that the parties receive proper notification throughout the litigation, and ensures that the adjudicating court has the appropriate jurisdiction to render a judgment. Meanwhile, substantive due process has developed during the 20th century as protecting those right so fundamental as to be "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty."

I guess if the hearing is before the same guy who authorized the seizure theft of your stuff, ie a district attorney, then you are basically screwed.

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Sorry, I didn't mean "you" TR, I should have said "one". Also, I know that one can argue any side of any argument. I was being rhetorical, kind of like the "how can you say that!?!" falacy.

 

I think we're all in the same choir here, at least thus far.

 

Please elucidate about who has made that argument, that the seizure or forfeiture is itself the required due process? And how in the heck they are winning so far, legally?

 

Dhat make no sense!

I know, I was being silly.

 

The cases have funny names, like US vs $17,439.17.

 

The dollar amount is made up, but there are lots of those. In the (due?) process of such a case, the govt has to establish some probable cause to believe that the property is guilty of the crime it is being charged with. If the owner wants it back, he must prove in court that the property (not any person) is not guilty.

 

As an example, friends once offered a Bahamian a ride across to the US. They had known him for some time. When they arrived and checked in, Customs and Immigration wanted to send people over because of the foreigner aboard (you usually just called from a designated check-in dock at that time). The Bahamian dude heard this and ran! He disappeared into Miami.

 

The govt seized the boat. Everyone agreed that the boat had committed the crime of bringing in a guy who entered illegally. Proving that did not happen would be quite a trick, since everyone agreed it did happen.

 

No person was ever charged with anything. I know there was no intent to smuggle in an alien, but that is what happened and how could the govt know my friend's intent.

 

He tried for a while to get it back, to no avail. Finally, he quit trying to use lawyers and contacted a news program. 60 Minutes, I think. The resulting report would have looked very bad for the govt, so they gave him his boat back.

 

That was a long time ago, but it still pisses me off thinking about it. This guy's pic is in the dictionary next to "upstanding citizen" and our government stole his boat because he tried to help a friend and the friend betrayed him.

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I don't see how he ever got his boat back at all under current law and rulings. The boat's guilt was not disputed. Fear of embarrasment? That never stopped them before!

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Brandeis keeps popping up in these conversations on the 1st, 4th, and 5th around here. As far as property seizure goes, all I remember is about it's use as evidence, Weeks and Olmstead, for instance. I couldn't find anything much from Brandeis about the seizure itself, or how to get it back. Besides, the legal bar for use as evidence is a lot higher than the bar just to legally steal someone's stuff.

 

So, Brandeis. You got anything?

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I don't see how he ever got his boat back at all under current law and rulings. The boat's guilt was not disputed. Fear of embarrasment? That never stopped them before!

That was it.

 

I recall that at about the same time they were doing a story about an air charter owner. He did not ask what was in his customers' briefcases. Because that's nosy behavior not tolerated by people who charter private planes. Cocaine was in there. His plane transported it. They took the plane. Public opinion was not on their side in that one, since no one believed that the pilot had any knowledge of the drugs. My friend's boat would have been a similar PR fiasco. Better to just give the occasional one that gets attention back and keep the gravy train rolling than to try to defend a politically indefensible gravy train.

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Kind of a "name them and shame them" kind of thing. If one were to start naming and shaming any of the big dogs, like FBI and other feds, one is likely to get a very unsettling knock on the door.

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One would think that state and federal civil forfeiture would be one subject that both left and right could agree on and fix. But that's probably why. Too many might turn into libertarians.

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DC Council votes to ban policing for profit.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/12/03/washington-d-c-council-votes-to-reform-citys-civil-forfeiture-laws-ban-policing-for-profit/

 

Good for them, and they got the federal "equitable sharing" loophole too. If the bill becomes law, policing for profit will be a thing of the past in DC.

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The IRS is into the asset forfeiture game in a big way, sweeping up the cash of many people, accusing about 1/5 of those people with a crime.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/us/law-lets-irs-seize-accounts-on-suspicion-no-crime-required.html?_r=0

 

The NY Times calls the practice "increasingly controversial" but this staple of drug war funding has seemed to me like it should be controversial for decades. Better late than never, I welcome them to the libertarian bandwagon on this one.

 

 

Update:

 

 

Mrs. Lady's, Carole Hinders' Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, does not take credit cards, so she has a lot of cash to deposit. There is nothing illegal about that, although the Bank Secrecy Act requires financial institutions to report deposits of $10,000 or more. Deliberately keeping deposits below that threshold to avoid the reporting requirement is a crime (known as "structuring"), but Hinders was never charged with it. Instead federal prosecutors argued that her bank account had facilitated the crime of structuring, making it subject to civil forfeiture.

 

 

Larry Salzman, the Institute for Justice attorney representing Hinders, said she never intended to break the law. "After her deposition, at which it became overwhelmingly clear that Carole was an innocent and hardworking restaurateur, the assistant United States attorney on the case told us that he informed the I.R.S. that they should not go forward with the case," Salzman told The New York Times.

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The case of Carole Hinders


For 38 years, Carole Hinders has owned and operated Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Mrs. Lady’s accepts only cash, which means Carol makes frequent trips to the bank to avoid having large sums of money at the restaurant.

 

But in August 2013, the federal government used civil forfeiture to seize Carol’s entire bank account—totaling nearly $33,000—even though she did nothing wrong. Federal law requires banks to report cash deposits larger than $10,000. Since her deposits were almost always less than $10,000, they claimed that she was “structuring” her cash bank deposits to evade that reporting requirement. And now they want to keep all of Carol’s money without even charging her with a crime.

 

So today there was this funny post about the bank account seizure on Facebook:

 

Gov’t asks our Iowa forfeiture client in a deposition why it was wrong to empty her bank account without warning.

 

10865954_10153542399679815_4797900367214

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Senators call on Attorney General to Stop Using the Authority They Gave Him


Leading members of the House and Senate judiciary committees called on the Justice Department on Friday to cut off the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars of proceeds from seized property to police departments around the country.

 

The congressmen said in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department should stop distributing funds from its “equitable sharing” program, which pools money seized under asset forfeiture laws and shares it with law enforcement agencies across the country.

 

If they really wanted him to stop using that authority, they would remove it, not ask him to refrain from using it.

 

They gave it to him in 1984. They can take it away.


...Critics of the program say asset forfeiture creates perverse incentives for police to seize property from citizens, a concern echoed by the lawmakers in Friday’s letter.

 

“We are concerned that these seizures might circumvent state forfeiture law restrictions, create improper incentives on the part of state and local law enforcement, and unnecessarily burden our federal authorities,” the lawmakers wrote.

 

Returning proceeds to the seizing agencies unquestionably creates perverse incentives. If you don't believe me, watch how they react to talk of removing those incentives.

 

The main purpose of the Equitable Sharing Program these days is precisely to circumvent state and local asset forfeiture restrictions and keep the drug war gravy train on track. Saying this "might" happen when it's very clearly most of what does happen is just as lame as asking the AG not to use authority that they gave him.

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Holder Heeds Congress' Cowardly Request


News of the policy change surprised advocates who have for a long time unsuccessfully sought to reverse civil asset forfeiture laws, arguing that they undermine core American values, such as property rights and due process.

 

...

 

Holder’s action comes as members of both parties in Congress are working together to craft legislation to overhaul civil asset forfeiture. On Jan. 9, Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Reps. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) signed a letter calling on Holder to end Equitable Sharing.

 

Grassley praised Holder’s decision on Friday. “We’re going to have a fairer justice system because of it,” Grassley said. “The rule of law ought to protect innocent people, and civil asset forfeiture hurt a lot of people.”

 

He said he planned to continue pressing for legislative reforms.

 

...

 

Critics of the decision say that depriving departments of the proceeds from civil asset forfeitures will hurt legitimate efforts to fight crime, drug smuggling and terrorism.

 

Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said, “There is some grave concern about the possible loss of significant funding while local police and state police are being asked to do more and more each year.”

 

...

 

Searing reports by the Orlando Sentinel and other newspapers about abuses spurred Congress to pass the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act in 2000. But a key change — ending the sharing of seizure proceeds between local police and federal agencies — was cut from the bill after fierce opposition from police and prosecutors. Some lawmakers called the sharing of money a “perverse incentive” for overly aggressive police tactics.

 

...

 

Holder said seizure adoptions will continue to be employed by local and federal authorities, but only in limited circumstances when public safety is at risk and where local and federal authorities are collaborating in cases clearly involving criminal activity.

 

 

Yes, the mostly-libertarian advocates for reform seem pleasantly surprised by this development, judging by articles on IJ and REASON among others, but I'm suspicious that once again, nothing has been done but to centralize and further entrench forfeiture abuses.

 

I'm glad Grassley is working to take this power away from the Justice Department legislatively, since that's how it should be done, but I doubt he can succeed.

 

He'll face tough oppo$ition from the National A$$ociation of Police Organization$ and people like Mr. Johnson, to whom I would say that there is grave concern out here in the general public that police will continue to "solve" that underfunding problem by confiscating cash from innocent people.

 

Just like back in 2000, we're likely to see some small changes, but what will change is really the order and content of phone calls between levels of governments, not the practice of seizing property and giving it to the seizing agencies.

 

The new rule is that it must be a collaborative effort? That will just mean that instead of local governments making a seizure and then calling the feds and saying, "Hey, wanna adopt this one so we can keep 80% of what we grabbed?" there will be a phone call just prior to any seizure saying, "Hey, wanna collaborate on this one so we can keep 80% of what we are about to grab?"

 

The procedures involved in policing for profit will change slightly, but the fact that a financial incentive to seize property from innocent people will continue to lead to abuses will not.

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The above Washington Post story got some of the facts wrong.


...Eapen Thampy, executive director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, who argues that "the exception swallows the rule." The Justice Department's own numbers suggest that is pretty close to the truth.

 

Holder's order applies only to "adoption," which happens when a state or local agency seizes property on its own and then asks the Justice Department to pursue forfeiture under federal law. "Over the last six years," the DOJ says in the press release announcing Holder's new policy, "adoptions accounted for roughly three percent of the value of forfeitures in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program." By comparison, the program's reports to Congress indicate that "equitable sharing" payments to state and local agencies accounted for about 22 percent of total deposits during those six years. That means adoptions, which the DOJ says represented about 3 percent of deposits, accounted for less than 14 percent of equitable sharing. In other words, something like 86 percent of the loot that state and local law enforcement agencies receive through federal forfeitures will be unaffected by Holder's new policy.

 

That is not the impression left by The Washington Post, which broke this story on Friday. "Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges," the Post reported, saying the new policy "would eliminate virtually all cash and vehicle seizures made by local and state police from the [equitable sharing] program." The Post did note, deep in the story, that Holder said equitable sharing would continue in cases "where local and federal authorities are collaborating." But it said "most of the money and property taken under Equitable Sharing since 2008...was not seized in collaboration with federal authorities."

 

That contradicts the Justice Department's numbers, which indicate that the vast majority of equitable sharing comes not from adoption but from "collaboration" of some sort, even if it is limited to federal support for multijurisdictional task forces. A 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office reinforces that point, noting that "adoptions made up about 17 percent of all equitable sharing payments" in 2010.

...

 

The exception will swallow even more of the rule now that the new policy creates an incentive for "collaboration" instead of "adoption."

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Thanks, Tom. Every article I've read to date focused on equitable sharing. Knew something shady had to be up.

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Today Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) reintroduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act, which would revise federal civil forfeiture law to give property owners more protection and reduce the profit incentive that encourages law enforcement agencies to seize assets. "The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime," Paul said. "The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime."

 

http://reason.com/blog/2015/01/27/rand-paul-reintroduces-bill-aimed-at-cur

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AG Nominee Loretta Lynch Lies To Congress About Asset Forfeiture


Lynch responded that "civil and criminal forfeiture are very important tools of the Department of Justice as well as our state and local counterparts." Speaking directly about civil asset forfeiture, she claimed that such forfeiture is "done pursuant to supervision by a court, it is done pursuant to court order, and I believe the protections are there."

 

That would come as news to the three brothers of the Hirsch family in Long Island. In 2012, they saw $447,000 of their assets seized by the IRS and the Department of Justice over an allegation that their business Bi-County Distributors, which delivers snack foods to convenience stores, was deliberately depositing cash deposits in amounts smaller than $10,000 in order to avoid IRS reporting requirements.

 

It was Lynch's office who handled this seizure and Lynch's office who kept the company's money for more than two years without ever setting a court date for the business to attempt to get its money back, nor was anybody in the family ever charged with any crime. The asset-forfeiture-fighting lawyers of the Institute for Justice (IJ) took on the Hirsch family's case, and just earlier this very month, Lynch's office agreed to give them their money back.

 

So, needless to say, Larry Salzman, the IJ attorney who represented the Hirsch family, did not agree with Lynch's statement that targets of DOJ asset forfeiture have necessary protections.

 

"Her office in particular seized money under the civil forfeiture laws and held it for more than two and a half years without filing any sort of complaint in court," Salzman says, "without any hearing before a judge. That's the raw facts."

 

Salzman also points out that it wasn't until IJ sued to force the federal government into court before anything happened, at which point Lynch's office agreed to give the money back.

 

I guess that's a form of "supervision by a court" and after a couple of years, if the IJ notices your case and sues, the "protections are there" to prevent the government from wrongly keeping half a million of your dollars for a couple of years.

 

I guess...

 

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Seized Cash Returned After Lawsuit

 

...Trevor Paine was driving near and through that county in November 2013, when Deputy Sheriff Lee Dove pulled him over for speeding. During the stop, Dove brought out a drug dog, which alerted to Paine’s car. Even after searching the car (allegedly without Paine’s consent), Dove never found any drugs. But he did find $11,000 in a lock box.

 

Jackpot.

 

Dove seized the cash.

 

...

 

Nor was Paine’s case an isolated incident. His settlement means anywhere from 20 to 38 other drivers “may be entitled to a full refund,” according to John Ohlson, the Reno-based attorney who represented Paine. Like Paine, Deputy Dove stopped each of these drivers as they were passing through Humboldt County, before he seized their property. Motorists lost anywhere from $1,000 to nearly $40,000. None of the drivers were ever charged with a crime.

...

 

The Nevada Attorney General’s Office is reportedly investigating Humboldt County’s cash seizures, while the new county sheriff has suspended the county’s interdiction stops. But Deputy Dove is still on the force; Sheriff Mike Allen declined to say if Dove is on active duty.

 

 

If I were Deputy Dove, that last paragraph would cause a severe WTF reaction. The system is set up to create incentives for what he did. His superiors probably told him to do what he did. He was probably rewarded and respected for bringing in those seizures. And now they won't admit whether he's working?

 

I remember a time when they would have said, "You better believe he's working every day and drug criminals should avoid our area!" I'm glad those days are gone.

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ATF, always noted for competence, has done such a great job with their temporary forfeiture power that Eric Holder decided to make it permanent

 

A quick glance at the Federal Register (Vol. 80, No. 37, p. 9987-88) today reveals that Attorney General Eric Holder, who earned cautious praise last month for a small reform to the federal equitable sharing program, has now delegated authority to the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to seize and “administratively forfeit” property involved in suspected drug offenses. Holder temporarily delegated this authority to the ATF on a trial basis in 2013, and today made the delegation permanent while lauding the ATF for seizing more than $19.3 million from Americans during the trial period.

 

Historically, when the ATF uncovered contraband subject to forfeiture under drug statutes, it was required to either refer the property to the DEA for administrative forfeiture proceedings or to a U.S. Attorney in order to initiate a judicial forfeiture action. Under today’s change, the ATF will now be authorized to seize property related to alleged drug offenses and initiate administrative forfeiture proceedings all on its own.

 

The DOJ claims this rule change doesn’t affect individual rights (and was thus exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act) and that the change is simply an effort to streamline the federal government’s forfeiture process....

 

Some of us think that seizing millions of dollars from people who are not charged with crimes does affect individual rights and that this process should stop instead of being streamlined.

 

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The Seizure Police in South Gate, CA

 

That one could go in the Photography Is Not A Crime thread, as it's partly about a citizen recording a cop smashing a phone.

 

Disturbing as that is, it's worse that South Gate is budgeting for forfeitures. They have to get out there and seize property from people who are often not even accused of a crime or their budget doesn't add up. This is one of the craziest possible incentives we could give police forces and only makes sense if you think the drug war can and should be somehow "won." It can't and shouldn't.

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Joseph Rivers had some money. Having money is suspicious, so the DEA took it. He might get some of it back if he can prove his money committed no crimes, not that proving a negative is hard or anything.

 

It happened, Rivers said, to him on April 15 as he was traveling on Amtrak from Dearborn, Mich., near his hometown of Romulus, Mich., to Los Angeles to fulfill his dream of making a music video. Rivers, in an email, said he had saved his money for years, and his mother and other relatives scraped together the rest of the $16,000.

 

Rivers said he carried his savings in cash because he has had problems in the past with taking out large sums of money from out-of-state banks.

A DEA agent boarded the train at the Albuquerque Amtrak station and began asking various passengers, including Rivers, where they were going and why. When Rivers replied that he was headed to LA to make a music video, the agent asked to search his bags. Rivers complied.

 

Rivers was the only passenger singled out for a search by DEA agents – and the only black person on his portion of the train, Pancer said.

In one of the bags, the agent found the cash, still in the Michigan bank envelope.

 

“I even allowed him to call my mother, a military veteran and (hospital) coordinator, to corroborate my story,” Rivers said. “Even with all of this, the officers decided to take my money because he stated that he believed that the money was involved in some type of narcotic activity.”

Rivers was left penniless, his dream deferred.

 

“These officers took everything that I had worked so hard to save and even money that was given to me by family that believed in me,” Rivers said in his email. “I told (the DEA agents) I had no money and no means to survive in Los Angeles if they took my money. They informed me that it was my responsibility to figure out how I was going to do that.”

 

 

As for whether Obama and Holder fixed all this...

 

...The practice has proven to be controversial. Earlier this year, then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced measures restricting the use of some types of civil asset forfeiture. But as the Institute for Justice noted in a February report, these changes only affect a small percentage of forfeitures initiated by local law enforcement agencies, not federal ones like the DEA. About 90 percent of Justice Department seizures won't be affected at all.

 

Asset forfeiture is lucrative for the DEA. According to their latest notification of seized goods, updated Monday, agents have seized well over $38 million dollars' worth of cash and goods from people in the first few months of this year. Some of the goods may be directly related to ongoing criminal investigations, but most of them are not.

 

For instance, in fiscal year 2014 Justice Department agencies made a total of $3.9 billion in civil asset seizures, versus only $679 million in criminal asset seizures....

 

 

A few billion here, a few billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money. Of course they didn't kill the federal cash cow, just wounded state and local ones a bit.

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The IRS doesn't seem to want publicity about the Lyndon McLellan case, so it's good that Dabnis started a thread about it.

 

I think I'll go share this in a few other places...

 

...

“This case demonstrates that the federal government’s recent reforms are riddled with loopholes and exceptions and fundamentally fail to protect Americans’ basic rights,” said Institute for Justice Attorney Robert Everett Johnson, who represents Lyndon. “No American should have his property taken by the government without first being convicted of a crime.”

 

In February 2015, during a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee, North Carolina Congressman George Holding told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen that he had reviewed Lyndon’s case—without specifically naming it—and that there was no allegation of the kind of illegal activity required by the IRS’s new policy. The IRS Commissioner responded, “If that cases exists, then it’s not following the policy.”

 

Watch the exchange here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16aYGRoswWw

 

When news of the IRS Commissioner’s statement got back to the United States Attorney in charge of Lyndon’s case, he advised Lyndon’s attorney and accountant that he was “concerned” that Lyndon’s case document was provided to Congress, and that:

 

Whoever made [the document] public may serve their own interest but will not help this particular case. Your client needs to resolve this or litigate it. But publicity about it doesn’t help. It just ratchets up feelings in the agency. My offer is to return 50% of the money. The offer is good until March 30th COB.

...

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Even the vibrator?

 

When the cops raided Ginnifer Hency's home in Smiths Creek, Michigan, in July, "they took everything," she told state legislators last Tuesday, including TV sets, ladders, her children's cellphones and iPads, even her vibrator. They found six ounces of marijuana and arrested Hency for possession with intent to deliver, "even though I was fully compliant with the Michigan medical marijuana laws," which means "I am allowed to possess and deliver." Hency, a mother of four with multiple sclerosis, uses marijuana for pain relief based on her neurologist's recommendation. She also serves as a state-registered caregiver for five other patients.

 

Hency's compliance with state law explains why a St. Clair County judge dismissed the charges against her. But when she asked about getting back her property, she reported, "The prosecutor came out to me and said, 'Well, I can still beat you in civil court. I can still take your stuff.'" When she heard that, Hency said, "I was at a loss. I literally just sat there dumbfounded."

 

 

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