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Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: June 23, 2022 11:45AM
[www.fivefourpod.com]

>When one night, John doesn't come home at the usual time after work. Now Tina, a concerned wife, she's frantic, she starts making phone calls, and the next morning, finally she gets ahold of a donut addict at the Detroit police station and she learns that, what do you know, dear husband John is in jail 'cause he was arrested last night for soliciting a sex worker. And as if this isn't bad enough for Tina's life, her rolling stone was caught engaged in illegal sexual activity inside the car that John and Tina owned together, it's a 1977 Pontiac. So John and Tina in fact had split the $600 cost and purchase that car together, and now Tina's cheating ass husband is in jail and she doesn't have a car, 'cause the county seized it when John was arrested, saying that it was part of his criminal activity in soliciting a sex worker.

>In a criminal case, like the case name, right, we're all familiar with that. It'll be like State of Texas versus Don Johnson, name of the person, but like the accompanying civil forfeiture case, that case is called State of Texas versus 2014 Hyundai Elantra. It is a civil proceeding against a piece of property.

---

As best I can tell, if they wanted, police could take people's shoes for jay walking.

What. A. Country.



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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 23, 2022 11:50AM
It turned from civil penalty to a routine source of police funding, gonna be hard to break that cycle.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: DeusxMac
Date: June 23, 2022 12:22PM
If John and Tina both signed a loan contract to pay for that 1977 Pontiac, and loan payments were in default, repossession would occur regardless of Tina paying her half the loan.

If John totaled that 1977 Pontiac while driving alone, she would still be without it despite no responsibility for the accident.

If Tina cosigned John's student loan, and John defaulted, Tina would still be responsible for that loan.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: June 23, 2022 12:51PM
Deusx,

And, If John totaled that 1977 Pontiac while driving alone and still hadn't paid off the loan he and Tina took out to pay for it, they (both John and Tina) would still have to pay off the loan.

Robert
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: June 23, 2022 12:56PM
I'm not sure what the status of ownership of the car between the two of them has to do with the OP. A car was taken because a victimless crime took place in the car. They could have performed the victimless crime on the ground right next to the car and the police wouldn't have had grounds to take the car. The car really had nothing to do with the crime. It's ridiculous that they took possession of the car under these circumstances.



e pluribus unum



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2022 01:31PM by Ted King.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: June 23, 2022 01:08PM
Why did it ever exist?



It is what it is.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: Ted King
Date: June 23, 2022 01:29PM
To amplify my previous post - suppose the guy had engaged in the same activity with the prostitute on the ground of property he owned free and clear that his house sat on. By the same rationale that the police used to take his car, wouldn't that mean that the police would be able to take all of his property including his house on the property?



e pluribus unum



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2022 01:30PM by Ted King.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: June 23, 2022 01:54PM
Quote
Ted King
To amplify my previous post - suppose the guy had engaged in the same activity with the prostitute on the ground of property he owned free and clear that his house sat on. By the same rationale that the police used to take his car, wouldn't that mean that the police would be able to take all of his property including his house on the property?

The vehicle was confiscated as evidence because it is a crime scene.

A house that is the scene of a crime can not be confiscated, but it can be closed down.



It is what it is.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: June 23, 2022 02:08PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Ted King
To amplify my previous post - suppose the guy had engaged in the same activity with the prostitute on the ground of property he owned free and clear that his house sat on. By the same rationale that the police used to take his car, wouldn't that mean that the police would be able to take all of his property including his house on the property?

The vehicle was confiscated as evidence because it is a crime scene.

A house that is the scene of a crime can not be confiscated, but it can be closed down.

Wrong on both counts. They can hold a car as evidence, but what they did in this case was civil forfeiture where they took ownership of the vehicle. As for the second, it depends on local laws. They have done civil forfeiture of houses in a number of locations around the country.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: June 23, 2022 02:12PM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Ted King
To amplify my previous post - suppose the guy had engaged in the same activity with the prostitute on the ground of property he owned free and clear that his house sat on. By the same rationale that the police used to take his car, wouldn't that mean that the police would be able to take all of his property including his house on the property?

The vehicle was confiscated as evidence because it is a crime scene.

A house that is the scene of a crime can not be confiscated, but it can be closed down.

Wrong on both counts. They can hold a car as evidence, but what they did in this case was civil forfeiture where they took ownership of the vehicle. As for the second, it depends on local laws. They have done civil forfeiture of houses in a number of locations around the country.

If they have strong reason to believe that real estate was purchased with drug money, for example, they will confiscate, and if proven, they will sell off the property.



********************************************
“A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand.” Seneca the Younger

The police have no duty to respond. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) or Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)

Judge Lee wrote that “we cannot jettison our constitutional rights, even if the goal behind a law is laudable." 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

[www.youtube.com]
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: June 23, 2022 02:27PM
This is a case where an actual crime exists. The MORE frequent cases are police cash seizures from people
Who are carrying lots of cash for major purchases and get stopped by police. No crime, and the cash is seized and never returned.

And it gets worse…
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 23, 2022 02:39PM
There's a fairly well known case from about 20years ago. The synopsis: A Los Angeles County sheriff's detective determined that a certain prime mountain/hilltop property in a neighboring county was the scene of illicit or illegal drug activity. The property was valued at over 5 million (1990 or so $) and if he could make a case his department would be funded for the near and distant future.

He obtained a warrant and staged an early morning raid during which the property owner was shot and killed. A less than immediate or strenuous follow up investigation showed the deceased victim to have no connection with drug dealing and the title legitimately a passed down family legacy to that remaining family member.

The LASD detective retired under a cloud but with full benefits and not without some agita, the rancher was still dead.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: kj
Date: June 23, 2022 04:23PM
I thought usually it is done with guns, which makes it an awesome thing, right? It's just another thing that started for a good reason, but isn't always used as intended. It's use depends on the ethics of the user.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: June 23, 2022 04:47PM
It is a very narrow use case when I don't have a problem with seizing a vehicle if police can prove it was bought with drug profits and/or it was instrumental in a crime (like human trafficking).

I DO have a problem with police seizing cash during traffic stops, when people can prove was legal funds (recent bank withdrawal, cash a paycheck, etc.).



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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: btfc
Date: June 23, 2022 04:52PM
“ when people can prove was legal funds “

Isn’t that kinda backwards? Presumption of innocence and all?
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: June 23, 2022 04:54PM
It's use depends on the ethics of the user.


This.


Asset seizure/forfeiture was and is a valuable tool for crippling criminal enterprise, large and small.

Like all great power, it comes with great responsibility.

It has been used by some entities as a revenue source, and that's completely wrong.

Using monies from lawfully and ethically seized assets for police use is a good thing.

Abusing the power is absolutely wrong.

It needs oversight as draconian as the application of seizure.

Within that envelope, it's a great tool for law enforcement.

I think it's too good to abandon and should be fixed.

But I don't see that happening with any cases that should make it to SCOTUS, unless the suspect is a friend of SCOTUS.






I am that Masked Man.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 23, 2022 05:20PM
It's become a revenue stream for local police, that was never the intent. When abuse (or even potential abuse) outweigh benefits the concept needs to be, not revamped, but abandoned.

A cursory search of the daily calendar for most LA courts will list dozens of forfeiture cases also known as police overtime pay funding.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 23, 2022 05:22PM
It's become a revenue stream for local police, that was never the intent. When abuse (or even potential abuse) outweigh benefits the concept needs to be, not revamped, but abandoned.

A cursory search of the daily calendar for most LA courts will list dozens of forfeiture cases also known as police overtime pay funding.

Forfeiture laws have become government corruption at the most base level.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: June 23, 2022 05:29PM
Quote
RAMd®d
I think it's too good to abandon and should be fixed.

IMO the whole thing can be put in the trash and replaced with criminal punishments that include what would have happened with civil forfeiture in the cases where it would have been fair and just.



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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: June 23, 2022 05:34PM
Quote
Racer X
If they have strong reason to believe that real estate was purchased with drug money, for example, they will confiscate, and if proven, they will sell off the property.

They don't need to prove anything.

All they need to do is allege so much as any tangential relation to any potential crime and they can take any property they want and use it, sell it or send it to auction.



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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: kj
Date: June 23, 2022 05:43PM
>A cursory search of the daily calendar for most LA courts will list dozens of forfeiture >cases also known as police overtime pay funding.

You can't know whether that's legit or not though. It could all be legit.

But after reading a bit, it does sound like serious reform is needed. Maybe those who abuse it should have consequences (right).

One thing I read:

[www.forbes.com]
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 23, 2022 05:52PM
It stopped being legit decades ago. If you bring young inspired police officers into a system and then show them how they are expected to support that system, how long will they stay inspired?

Corruption at that level destroys both their aspirations and faith in the system and it's been the rule since before their predecessors took their pensions and bailed out.

There are retired LEOs on this forum, ask them what they think of forfeiture practices.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: June 23, 2022 06:01PM
A lot of the abuse of civil forfeiture started with the Reagan administration. The GOP pushed through a law expanding its application and providing for sharing the proceeds from forfeiture between federal and local/state law enforcement. A few GOP members opposed it on various grounds but enough Democrats crossed over to pass it. It has become a several billion dollar a year operation for law enforcement. Hard to get exact amounts, the Feds keep good track of the amount of seizures, but state and local agencies don't.

The cash seized averaged out to about $1300 each a few years ago. Much of it was from low income and minorities who often don't have the financial ability to hire a lawyer and fight the seizure in court.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 23, 2022 06:43PM
The money flow is great enough that city/county/state police fellowships will go all out to oppose any sort of reform.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: kj
Date: June 23, 2022 06:53PM
Quote
Tiangou
Quote
Racer X
If they have strong reason to believe that real estate was purchased with drug money, for example, they will confiscate, and if proven, they will sell off the property.

They don't need to prove anything.

All they need to do is allege so much as any tangential relation to any potential crime and they can take any property they want and use it, sell it or send it to auction.

In the article I posted it says there are courts, but in this case it was a rigged court. This one was reformed, and a fund set up for repayment, but not until it had seized 30k peoples' stuff. Apparently reform can happen, but it's not easy, of course.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: June 23, 2022 07:05PM
Apparently reform can happen, but it's not easy, of course.

Nor does it stick or impact other jurisdictions.
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Re: Civil forfeiture is crazy. Why does it still exist?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: June 27, 2022 07:30PM
FBI and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department accused of illegally seizing marijuana [retailers] cash
https: //www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-28/marijuana-cash-seized-armored-car-fbi-san-bernardino-sheriff

Just a reminder, Boehner, a former Republican Speaker of the House is on the board of a cannabis company. But even he can't seem to browbeat his former compatriots to make it legal federally. It's a legacy effect of Slavery, too many law enforcement agencies across the country depend on forfeiture for funding.



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