Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Let’s eat all of these people!” — Venom

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, November 27, 2015

To Protect and to Steal

You are more likely to have your stuff stolen by the cops than by burglars.
Between 1989 and 2010, U.S. attorneys seized an estimated $12.6 billion in asset forfeiture cases. The growth rate during that time averaged +19.4% annually. In 2010 alone, the value of assets seized grew by +52.8% from 2009 and was six times greater than the total for 1989. Then by 2014, that number had ballooned to roughly $4.5 billion for the year, making this 35% of the entire number of assets collected from 1989 to 2010 in a single year. According to the FBI, the total amount of goods stolen by criminals in 2014 burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.9 billion in property losses. This means that the police are now taking more assets than the criminals.
The cops in DC were essentially mugging people; if you had a joint in your pocket and $20 in the other pocket, the cops kept the $20.

It's no longer a game of "cops and robbers", the cops are the robbers.


Murphy's Law said...

Asset forfieture gets a bad rap from the folks who don't understand it. I personally love it because it hits criminals in their pocketbooks. Normal law-abiding citizens very rarely run afoul of asset seizure and if/when they do, all they need do is show up in court at the hearing and show that they came by the property--usually cash--legally. It's not hard at all for anyone who derives their money from paychecks or a lottery or insurance payout. Fact is, most people who are transporting large amounts of cash ARE involved in the drug trade and it usually is drug money, and that's why most of them refuse to challenge the seizures in court--they do not want any scrutiny of their finances and choose to write the money off as a cost of doing business.

CenterPuke88 said...

Wear blinders much, Murphy? I guess as a "respectable citizen" (read as white male), rarely running afoul is an acceptable standard, eh? How about we make the standard "innocent until proven guilty"? I've heard about that standard somewhere, but I just can't remember where...

Murphy's Law said...

Innocent until proven guilty is great for criminal cases, but these seizures are civil in nature, and our Constitution says that no one shall lose their property to the government without a hearing, which is standard in these cases. Why do you hate the Constitution?

Comrade Misfit said...

It is armed robbery with a badge, any which way you slice it. How many people are going to hire a lawyer and fight the cops for stealing $500 or $1,000? It's going to cost several times that to fight it.

And note that you have to prove that it's your money. They take it and the presumption is against you, right from the start.

Robbery by government, pure and simple. If they're going to take your cash or property because they say it's fruits of a crime, they should have to prove the charge. This is pernicious and evil.

Deadstick said...

"these seizures are civil in nature"

That's as absurd as it sounds. They're seizing the money because they claim the possessor is a criminal...they justify it on the grounds that they're "arresting the money, not the person, and money has no rights."

And if the money is indeed crime money, then the cops are accessories to the crime because they're keeping the profits.

CenterPuke88 said...

Murphy, care to cite the portion of the Umited States Constitution you are referring to? Perhaps, before you go accusing people of hating things, you should read them. Also, since only about half of all forfeiture cases are civil, that's quite a jump you made there.

Murphy's Law said...

I cite that Fifth Amendment that mentions that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. When money or other items are seized, there is always a forfieture hearing where the government still has to make the argument for forfieture and the prior owner has the absolute right to attend and speak and provide whatever rebuttal evidence that he or she wishes.
So long as there is a public hearing, we're good.

CenterPuke88 said...

Murphy, the Constitution doesn't say what you said it did. The Fifth Amendment might have some bearing, but it doesn't address what you are talking about, because the Fifth Amendment addresses the rights of a person, while civil forfeiture has the Governemnt suing the money or property, removing those protections you mention (the Fourteenth Amendment also bears in this). You could say I hate some judicial mosh-mosh interpretation of the Constitutiom as amended by Amendments Five and Fourteen, but even those Amendments don't say what you say they do because, again, courts have held the person is not being sued here, the money or property is.

A couple of dates for you: June 21, 1788, December 15th, 1791 and July 9th, 1868. Those are the effective dates of ratification of the United States Constitution, the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment respectively. Just as a matter of interest, do you accuse a person who objects to the income tax as hating the Constitution? Or do you say they hate the Sixteenth Amendment? How about a person who hates the duly elected President of the United States of America? Do they hate the Constitution, or are they expressing an opinion?

By the way the correct quote is "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, with just compensation"...but again, the money or property is being sued, not the owner. Remember, "the" and those commas (not to mention the semi-colons) in a legal document can be pretty important in judicial interpretations/rulings.

CenterPuke88 said...

I hate blogger and no edit plus small screens:

"...taken for public use, without just compensation."

Comrade Misfit said...

So, Murph, you're diving down the street, a cop putts you over, kicks you out of your car and drives away with it. You get notice of a hearing a month later. As long as you can go to court and argue that you should either get your car back or be paid for it, it's all good?

Murphy's Law said...

Comrade, that's not realistically going to happen. If it ever does, I'll likely change my mind.
As it stands today, cars are seized because they are either being used to transport drugs or other contraband, used in other criminal activity (picking up street hookers in some jurisdictions) or when it is believed in good faith that they were purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity. And in all cases, a judge still has to review the evidence proffered and ok the seizure. If seized in conjunction with an arrest, a judge may order the cars to be forfeit. If taken civilly, it's usually after an investigation develops evidence to suggest that they are proceeds of a crime--example being a 23 year old high school drop-out with no verifiable income who, upon being arrested for drug dealing, is found to have a new BWM and a Bentley tucked away. Those cars are likely going to the feds, and rightfully so.