Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Shameful Government Overreach: Civil Forfeiture

Imagine you own a million-dollar piece of property free and clear, but then the federal government and local law enforcement agents announce that they are going to take it from you, not compensate you one dime, and then use the money they get from selling your land to pad their budgets—all this even though you have never so much as been accused of a crime, let alone convicted of one.

Find out more from the Institute for Justice here and here.


At 10/04/2011 10:38 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

this whole civil forfeiture notion is disgusting.

it goes against every principle of our constitution and our legal system.

it's the sort of banana republic fascism you expect in cuba, not here.

to take property because it was "suspected of being used in a crime" and then selling it without due process or even without charges ever being brought is obscene.

how can that possibly be reasonable seizure?

what about the presumption of innocence?

this is the literal equivalent of having sentencing before you have a trial and tossing you in jail before you are even charged and keeping you there even if you are not charged.

At 10/04/2011 11:17 AM, Blogger Chris Burrows said...

Nobody cares because it is a "tax" on illicit drugs. That's why there is no incentive to end the drug war and plenty of reason why the government is not interested in legalizing drugs.

At 10/04/2011 11:28 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Unfortunately, this is not the only method that the government has devised in order to seize private property without the commission of a "crime":

Mike and Chantell Sackett are being treated as criminals by EPA regulators who contend their vacant lot in northern Idaho is a "jurisdictional wetland," and the gravel fill they placed on the lot to prepare for construction of a new home is a violation of the Clean Water Act. There's no standing water on the property, or anything that resembles a wetland. Given no choice by the EPA or lower courts to directly appeal the wetland determination, the Sacketts, represented by PLF attorneys, are fighting back. This winter, their lawsuit will be heard in the United States Supreme Court.

PLF fights the EPA to protect a couple's dream

At 10/04/2011 11:44 AM, Blogger JustanotherJoe888 said...

Gee, not like this is American History 101... Ask an American Indian for sympathy...

At 10/04/2011 11:49 AM, Blogger Hans said...

Our governments and their agents have become corrupt...

At 10/04/2011 12:17 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I'm reminded of the story of a Texas farmer who was going to an equipment show in Oklahoma. He took a big wad of cash with him, in case he found a good used tractor to buy. Got stopped and searched by state police who confiscated the cash as potential drug money. Farmer is still trying to get it back.

At 10/04/2011 12:40 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 10/04/2011 12:41 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Gee, not like this is American History 101... Ask an American Indian for sympathy..." - JustanotherJoe888

Which American Indians should we ask? The Susquehanna, or the Delaware who had their lands taken by the Iroquois? The Apache, who had a large part of their lands taken by the Comanche? Or, one of the scores of tribes whose lands were taken by the Sioux? I guess for a racist, like you, it's only really a "crime" when a white guy comes out on top.

At 10/04/2011 2:07 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Local governments effectively seize or decrease or increase the value of land routinely, through zoning or taxation.

Try building a skyrise condo in GOP-centric Newport Beach, CA. You can't. Even land away from the shore was recently aggressively downzoned, as existing property owners forced other landowners not to develop.

At both the federal and state level, being part of a "conspiracy" can get you crushed. I know a courier who owned a warehouse. He delivered unmarked envelopes, never opened the envelopes. It was drug money. A lawyer got him off, but it was iffy for a while.

But, hey, we did steal all this land to begin with, so what goes around comes around....property rights begin with the Spanish conquest of the Southwest....right? And not a second before.

At 10/04/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Local governments effectively seize or decrease or increase the value of land routinely, through zoning or taxation.


Yup. I own land that has been successively downzoned six times. Eventually they will have reduced its value by more than 99% and then maybe I can sue.

At 10/04/2011 5:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

as existing property owners forced other landowners not to develop


Ususally it is the other way around. New landowners move in and then get the rules changed so no one else can move in. it is the existing landownes that preserved their property the longest that get hurt the most.

I have seen this occur in three different locations.

At 10/04/2011 9:20 PM, Blogger JohnL said...

WOW, living here as your neighbour to the "socialist" north, this story completely amazes and scares me. Can't say I've seen anything close to this up here. I sure can see why people are upset and hanging out on Wall street. Best of luck, cause sure we sure need it up here as well.

At 10/04/2011 11:18 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Only a million bucks? My wife got tagged for several times that, and IJ wasn't interested. As long as they don't actually take the property, they can take multiple, even tens of millions of value out of your property, and you do not even have standing to sue.

30 years ago my county and the neighboring one were similar. Today the neighboring county is worth $14 billion more than my county - $10,000 pet person more, and they earn $4000 more, per person.

At 10/05/2011 9:32 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

A few of the victims of civil forfeiture need to demonstrate their ire on a few of the bureaucrats involved...

These people are nothing but petty tyrants, and one of the best preventers of petty tyrants is a little violence once in a while.

Note: Not advocating RANDOM terrorism/violence, here. Some people need to decide to do a little bureaucratic "housecleaning" of the individuals who screwed them over.

"A Monarch's neck should always have a noose about it... It keeps him upright."
- Robert Heinlein, 'The Cat Who Walks Through Walls' -

Unfortunately, too many bureaucrats don't think the noose is there any more, that the people have become such total sheep that they'll bleat when they're sheared and nothing more.

At 10/05/2011 9:47 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> property rights begin with the Spanish conquest of the Southwest....

Tell that to the Jews, who apparently have no rights to live in Israel whatsoever.

That land was stolen from them, 2000 years ago, fair and square!!

Personally, the property rights on land last about 100 years after a taking. Anyone alive when it was taken who could inherit it has a rightful claim to it. After that, it's in the wind.

Otherwise, you get ridiculous suits in Europe where some guy sues a german who sues a russian who sues a pole who sues a czech who sues a hun who sues a vandal who sues an assyrian who sues a caveman... who beat the neanderthal Ugh over the head with a rock and tossed his family out of their cave.

At some point, the ownership has to be fixed, and "from then on" the rule of law should be applied as to ownership rights, and, if not possession, then at least reparation.

I'm open to suggestion but that 100 year rule above seems reasonable.

If no one you've personally known has ever lived on it, then you really have no claim to it. It may have been stolen from a distant relative of yours, but neither you nor anyone alive is/was a part of that, so it's kind of impractical to screw anyone alive now for the errors of their distant ancestor.

That's one of the central tenets of modern society -- a man is not guilty of, hence not responsible for, the crimes of his father.

When you start talking about the crimes of someone's great-great-grandfather, you're getting a bit ridiculous.

At 10/05/2011 3:17 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

At some point, the ownership has to be fixed, and "from then on" the rule of law should be applied as to ownership rights, and, if not possession, then at least reparation.


Oregon had a pretty goode rule in that regard, but it got repealed.

Under Oregon law if a locality reduced the value of a property by downzoning or other restrictions they had to pay the owner the lost value, or grant a waiver to the restriction.

Owners could file clams for damages going back 25 years, or as long as it was under contnuous family ownership.

At 10/15/2011 5:40 PM, Blogger jdgalt said...

Not only is civil forfeiture unconstitutional in multiple ways (due process but also "excessive fines", and even "bills of attainder" if applied to someone who hasn't been convicted of a crime); it also creates a cash incentive for police to victimize the innocent, since they're answerable to no one even in the rare event the forfeiture is overturned.

This is the kind of "war against the people" [Locke's term] that justifies revolution -- not to overthrow our constitutional form of government, but to get it back!


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