Civil Asset Forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture is a process whereby law-enforcement authorities take and sell your property without ever convicting, or even charging, you with a crime.  Civil libertarians complain that abuse of the process is increasing, and now there is evidence that some police departments have wish lists of property they would like to take from the citizenry.  The potential for corruption in such a system screams out.

• One city attorney called his legal documents a “masterpiece of deception” and has won 96 percent of his forfeiture cases.

• An assistant district attorney takes property, even from owners who have been acquitted, because “people are not found innocent, they are found not guilty.”

• One government official doesn’t want to disclose information about civil forfeiture, because it might become a “bullet-point for people that are trying to fight the program.”

• A prosecutor teaches other attorneys how to take property from innocent people. He even offers this piece of advice, “IF IN DOUBT…TAKE IT!”

Here is a videoclip of a seminar for public officials in which civil asset forfeiture is discussed.  The video is long and not all of it is relevant, so start listening at about the 1 hour, 27 minute point and continue for about 15 minutes:

It’s hard to believe that this practice exists in this country.  It’s not consistent with that we were taught to believe America stands for and is something one would expect to see in a banana republic.

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Civil Asset Forfeiture

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