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

    Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?


    Yes but with certain restrictions.
    Yes as the laws currently exist
    no
    maybe/other



    Asset forfeiture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Asset forfeiture in the United States

    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. In contrast, criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender. Since the government can choose the type of case, a civil case is almost always chosen. The costs of such cases is high for the owner, usually totaling around $10,000 and can take up to three years.
    The United States Marshals Service is responsible for managing and disposing of properties seized and forfeited by Department of Justice agencies. It currently manages around $1 billion worth of property. The United States Treasury Department is responsible for managing and disposing of properties seized by Treasury agencies. The goal of both programs is to maximize the net return from seized property by selling at auctions and to the private sector and then using the property and proceeds for law enforcement purposes.
    A form of asset forfeiture is roadside forfeiture during a vehicle stop. Usually enforcing State policies by Highway police, local law enforcement have built up seized funds and spent them with oversight only from local judges who sometimes benefit from the expenditures of such funds. The presumption is that travelers hiding large amounts of cash are transporting drug money. Often, the vehicle occupants are required to simply sign a waiver that they will leave the State and not return, thus also not attempt to retrieve their funds. Some complain that this is law enforcement action requires more oversight in order to minimize the impact on travelers who are not involved in drug money but who simply wish to avoid further involvement with law enforcement agents and sign the waiver anyway. Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee is investigating the Tenaha, Texas Police seizures scandal.









    I picked yes but with certain restrictions. A guilty verdict of the accused either in a criminal trial or a civil trial with with the same standards as a criminal trial should have to happen and after that the government should have to prove in a court with the same standards of a criminal trial that all of the property in questions was acquired through illegal means.
    Last edited by jamesrage; 04-07-12 at 11:53 AM.
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Without much thought , the seizure should be legal(given the probable cause), BUT the forfeiture should only be after a trial.
    IMO, its wrong that the costs (usually $10000 or more) and the time ( 3 years) be so excessive.
    Things must be done to improve this situation.
    The Democratic Senator Whitmire is correct in investigating these shady dealings..

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    I picked yes but with certain restrictions. A guilty verdict of the accused either in a criminal trial or a civil trial with with the same standards as a criminal trial should have to happen and after that the government should have to prove in a court with the same standards of a criminal trial that all of the property in questions was acquired through illegal means.
    This sums my view up as well.

    Recent news reports of TN law enforcement for example seizing money they suspect of being part of the drug trade and then forcing persons to file (and in some cases prove it was legally obtained) to receive their money back are very disturbing. A person should not be forced to prove that they were not breaking the law, that falls on the prosecution to prove that someone has broken the law.

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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Law enforcement are not courts and should never be able to seize assets without first obtaining a court order - and then it is the government, not police, who have the assets. Allowing police to just take people's money and property summarily and then only if the person can afford to spend and lose all the attorney fees, court costs, other expenses plus wait a year or two not only seems to have turned polcie into criminals with badges, but fly directly in the face of the Bill of Rights.

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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by joko104 View Post
    Law enforcement are not courts and should never be able to seize assets without first obtaining a court order - and then it is the government, not police, who have the assets. Allowing police to just take people's money and property summarily and then only if the person can afford to spend and lose all the attorney fees, court costs, other expenses plus wait a year or two not only seems to have turned polcie into criminals with badges, but fly directly in the face of the Bill of Rights.
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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    When these forfeiture laws first went into effect in the '80's, our police department went into a gleeful spiral of instant abuse, commandeering cars, setting up stings that wouldn't pass the "entrapment test" smell, selling all their loot and pocketing the profits for themselves. I was certain the law would be struck down within months. Yet here we are, decades later, still profiteering from the abuse by stealing from people who have not only not been convicted of a crime, they haven't even been charged with one.

    It's legalized theft, unconstitutional as hell and I can't believe it hasn't been stopped.

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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    The way the law now is written, the government has a license to steal. We need a complete rewrite of the laws from scratch.

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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    I would be willing to accept asset forfeiture as part of the sentence for a person convicted of a felony. What we have now is nothing short of theft.

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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    since I think the war on drugs has to end, I guess my perspective is different. However, I have seen dozens of forfeiture cases where the government could not prove "guilt" of the claimant but the forfeiture was justified. But the bounty it provides to government agencies has caused massive abuse

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    Re: Should assets seizure and forfeiture be legal by law enforcement be legal?

    I do believe the government has abused this power. I would like to see limitations on it.

    But I will say now what I have said before. I do not think it is pure coincidence that the rise in government seizures - especially by local departments - has occurred at the very time that taxes are reduced and local municipalities find themselves in a economic pinch. As states cut back on revenue sharing, the cities and town try to make it up somewhere - and I fear this is one way they have done it.

    Thus the conservative/right crusade for lower taxes produces an unwanted result that we all complain about.
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