View Poll Results: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

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  • Yes with certain restrictions(please specify)

    10 41.67%
  • Yes as the laws currently exist

    0 0%
  • no

    13 54.17%
  • maybe/other

    1 4.17%
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Thread: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

  1. #31
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    There are two types of forfeiture cases, criminal and civil. Almost all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil. In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant. Once the government establishes probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, the owner must prove on a "preponderance of the evidence" that it is not. The owner need not be judged guilty of any crime.
    So what ya'll are really saying is, not that due process must be followed (because it actually is...nobody's driving off with someone's SUV and automatically confiscating it), but that you believe "due process" should have to include a criminal conviction.

    If you'll notice in the quotation above, the due process that is followed lets the government state its case for confiscation and then gives the owner of the property an opportunity to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence that it should not be seized because it wasn't used in nor acquired through illegal means. "Preponderance of the evidence" is a much lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt."

    The standard is met if the proposition is more likely to be true than not true. Effectively, the standard is satisfied if there is greater than 50 percent chance that the proposition is true.
    After reading everyone's comments, I was just about to say I'd changed my mind. After researching the actual due process involved in confiscating assets, I stand by my original opinion.

    Change the law, then.
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  2. #32
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caine View Post
    I have no problem with asset forfeiture as long as the assets can be very thoroughly connected with a particular crime that a person is being charged with.

    No charge? No seizure.

    Seizure? Review by judge 1 business day after the seizure to ensure probable cause.
    And I pretty much agree with this. Only thing I would add would be that forfeiture be tied to a conviction.

    My railing against asset seizure/forfeiture is in its present form. If the money/property is from criminal activity, and it can be proven in court, and proper due process is followed, I'm fine with it. But, the way it's too often done now? No. Absolutely not.

  3. #33
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    And I pretty much agree with this. Only thing I would add would be that forfeiture be tied to a conviction.
    No conviction? Items/Property Seized returned.

    I also must add, things like vehicles and money and other movable items should be seized immediately, and released if judge's review (1 business day later) determines that the items cannot be connected to the crime.
    Real property (houses, condos, etc) should not be seized until after conviction.

    Movable items seized shall not be touched until after the case has been fully adjudicated in court. (To include any appeals).
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  4. #34
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    So what ya'll are really saying is, not that due process must be followed (because it actually is...nobody's driving off with someone's SUV and automatically confiscating it), but that you believe "due process" should have to include a criminal conviction.

    If you'll notice in the quotation above, the due process that is followed lets the government state its case for confiscation and then gives the owner of the property an opportunity to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence that it should not be seized because it wasn't used in nor acquired through illegal means. "Preponderance of the evidence" is a much lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt."

    After reading everyone's comments, I was just about to say I'd changed my mind. After researching the actual due process involved in confiscating assets, I stand by my original opinion.

    Change the law, then.
    I appreciate your willingness to consider the other side, but I stand by my original opinion that the current process is flawed. One, it presumes guilt. Excepting the IRS, where else do we do this? Second, sure there's a process to appeal, but you have to prove your innocence, not the other way around. Third, the bar has been set so high that it's virtually impossible to prove innocence... especially when any assets you might have to pay for your attorney have been seized. It's really an appeal process for show only, not to give people a legitimate chance. Fourth, they have set up *a* process, but they are skirting "due process". The two are not necessarily one and the same.

  5. #35
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    I appreciate your willingness to consider the other side, but I stand by my original opinion that the current process is flawed. One, it presumes guilt. Excepting the IRS, where else do we do this? Second, sure there's a process to appeal, but you have to prove your innocence, not the other way around. Third, the bar has been set so high that it's virtually impossible to prove innocence... especially when any assets you might have to pay for your attorney have been seized. It's really an appeal process for show only, not to give people a legitimate chance. Fourth, they have set up *a* process, but they are skirting "due process". The two are not necessarily one and the same.
    Well, I was rather taken that many were saying I was in favor of avoiding due process, so I thought I'd look into it further. Now I can at least see everyone's point. It's not that there's not a due process, it's that most posters don't like the due process that's in place. Most don't think that that "due process" is "due process enough."

    I can understand that.
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  6. #36
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    So what ya'll are really saying is, not that due process must be followed (because it actually is...nobody's driving off with someone's SUV and automatically confiscating it), but that you believe "due process" should have to include a criminal conviction.
    That's what due process means. If you deprive someone of life, liberty, or property, without having convicted him of a crime, then you are denying him due process, and violating his rights under the Fifth Amendment.

    We don't get to sentence someone to prison, or a fine, or any other punishment, until that person has been properly convicted of a crime, in accordance with the processes that we have established to do this, and in accordance with the protections that we give to those accused of a crime.

    Asset forfeiture, as currently practiced, is an attempt to get around due process, to deprive someone of property without convicting that person of a crime, or even giving him a fair chance to defend himself against the accusation. As such, it rather blatantly violates the Fifth Amendment, both in letter and in intent.
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  7. #37
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by LaMidRighter View Post
    The biggest problem is that people have had property auctioned off while they were still in court over charges iirc. That IS a major problem, if someone is convicted of a crime and the monies are tied to the property then it makes sense that through due process that property is forfeit. However if property is lost simply because of a charge we have a major problem as a society.
    Exactly. By the time these people actually get to trial, their cars, even their homes, have already been auctioned off. Even if they are acquitted, they're left with nothing but a massive legal bill. Even worse, in all too many instances cars and other property are being confiscated and auctioned, and the owner is never even charged with a crime.

    I don't understand how anyone can not be outraged by this.

  8. #38
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Blaylock View Post
    That's what due process means. If you deprive someone of life, liberty, or property, without having convicted him of a crime, then you are denying him due process, and violating his rights under the Fifth Amendment.

    We don't get to sentence someone to prison, or a fine, or any other punishment, until that person has been properly convicted of a crime, in accordance with the processes that we have established to do this, and in accordance with the protections that we give to those accused of a crime.

    Asset forfeiture, as currently practiced, is an attempt to get around due process, to deprive someone of property without convicting that person of a crime, or even giving him a fair chance to defend himself against the accusation. As such, it rather blatantly violates the Fifth Amendment, both in letter and in intent.
    Right. "Due Process" has a specifically narrow legal definition. This does not meet that. A process is not due process.

  9. #39
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by DiAnna View Post
    Exactly. By the time these people actually get to trial, their cars, even their homes, have already been auctioned off. Even if they are acquitted, they're left with nothing but a massive legal bill. Even worse, in all too many instances cars and other property are being confiscated and auctioned, and the owner is never even charged with a crime.

    I don't understand how anyone can not be outraged by this.
    It is absolutely outrageous for someone to be aquitted to return to nothing because they couldn't fend off a seizure and criminal charges at the same time, the whole reason for the many of the protections of not only the fifth but as well the fourth and in combination with the other ten was to prevent the "taking at will" of rightful possessions such as liberty, property, and even body without a thourough vetting of the situation.
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  10. #40
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Yes, I would support keeping the vehicle in that kind of situation. I know it's abused. And those abuses should be stopped immediately. But if your car is carrying 500# of MJ (my example), I have no problem at all with it being seized as evidence and then kept by virtue of a court order outlining facts that are as plain as the nose on one's face.

    I'm guessing this situation rarely happens, though -- that property is seized without charges being pressed. As to having to find them guilty first, we all know that a finding of not-guilty often has little to do with innocence.
    It sounds to me like you want to justify allowing government to punish someone who you “know” committed a crime, but whose guilt cannot be proven to the necessary standard to obtain a conviction.
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