Saturday, January 18, 2014

This Is A Scary Law...!

Some laws are just not right! Most laws are supposed to be for the protection of the general populace, but this one is just another example of the average citizen being taken to the cleaners by the PTB...again!

Why does it seem that we are constantly being inundated with new and old laws that strip us of both our rights and our property? Almost every day one or more of these laws come to light, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

US Police Can Simply Seize Your Belongings
By J. Wisniewski on Friday, January 17, 2014

Regardless of whether or not you have committed a crime (or even been charged with one), in most parts of the United States, police officers may confiscate your belongings under a provision called civil forfeiture. “Probable cause” that your possessions may in some way be connected to perceived criminal activity is sufficient for seizure in most cases. In these cases, the burden of proof of innocence rests with the civilian.

You’re probably aware that if you get caught selling drugs or if the police pull you over trafficking coke across the US-Mexican border, the police can (and will) seize your assets (cash, car, cool hat, etc.). This is called criminal forfeiture and the idea is the police can help fund their crime-fighting by, well, fighting crime. The “catch” with criminal forfeiture is the confiscated property must have been used in the commission of the crime. Not exactly the steadiest stream of income.

So, let’s say you get pulled over for speeding or some other infraction and the citing officer detects a whiff of marijuana or suspects you of possession. A search reveals no contraband, but you do look suspicious. Can that police department take everything in the car and all your cash without arresting you or charging you with a crime? Yes, they certainly can (and do).

The laws which govern this civil forfeiture provide little recourse for property owners. The burden of proof is on the owner to prove any seized property was not connected in any way to any crime. As a result, civil forfeiture is a regular occurrence across much of the nation. And since police departments keep approximately 90 percent of the profits from seized property, the law in its current form effectively incentivizes abuse. Which might explain why in 85 percent of the NYPD’s forfeiture cases the property owner was never even charged with a crime.

So, why don’t property owners challenge these questionable seizures? The “civil” nature of the provision means the government is basically suing you for your stuff, and you need to prove your stuff is innocent. Cases like “The United States vs. One Pearl Necklace” are common. And since your possession is not a person, it has no constitutional rights and thus has no legal right to an attorney. So, if you want your iPod or 500 bucks back, you would need to hire an attorney yourself. And chances are any attorney with the skill to win your stuff back is going to charge legal fees which exceed the value of your confiscated possessions. You could represent yourself, but in most cases the governing law is an arcane beast over a century old which even most uninitiated lawyers and law students struggle to comprehend.

If it sounds like the deck is stacked against the defendant, it’s probably because it is. Civil forfeiture is a convenient, legal way for District Attorneys’ offices and police departments to fund their budgets. While cars and houses are frequently seized, most often the property value is just small enough it makes far more sense for the owner to forget about contesting the forfeiture. But all those small amounts add up, and as a result some states make millions of dollars annually from such forfeitures.

Imagine going to court against the unlimited (compared to your own) resources of the state and trying to prove your iPhone, or car, or even your house is innocent. It really sounds like something from which a citizen should be guaranteed protection.

Whether or not the PTB ever use these laws, the very fact that they exist bothers me. It bothers me a LOT! IMHO these laws should be removed from the books, or at the very least modified. To me it's just another fancy way to steal, and I don't like it!

It's coffee out on the patio again today. Cool enough for a jacket, but at least there's no rain!

12 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

My wife and I went out of town yesterday and LIMITED the amount of cash that we took with us due to crooked cops and forfeiture laws. Isn't it amazing that we now have to worry more about cops stealing our money than common thieves?

Sissy said...

It happens very often! Conditions these days makes one feel "guilty" of something, no matter which way you turn. Tragic situation life has become. Cousin fell dead in his bathroom from heart problem. Several $Thousands were removed from my dead cousin's billfold right under the nose of his father in the home. Cousin had just cashed check for a month long remodel job he did. Unbelievable? Yes but the truth. PTB are often more crooked than real crooks. Unbelievable? No, it's a way of life these days - Sad and SICK situation.

Mamahen said...

It is a scary world we live in that's for sure. Then the powers that be wonders why the average citizen bashing respect for them, or maybe as long as they get there's they don't care.

edifice rex said...

That is sickening. But, unless the people revolt against it and force change it will stay that way.

Chickenmom said...

And when people don't go out to stores anymore, this will push this economy further into the dumpster. We are not free anymore. Didn't take very long, did it?

BBC said...

Living in a small town in a more or less remote area I don't think it is that bad here.

Dizzy-Dick said...

There is suppose to be checks and restraints on the government's power, but it seems that things have gotten out of control and the advantage has shifted from the common people to the PTB.

linda m said...

Makes a person not want to leave their house anymore. However, until people get the guts to rebel we will continue to have this happen.

JO said...

Lots of the old laws need to be updated or modified. But will it matter in the name of the so called law. I have seen plenty of PTB that were bigger thieves than some so called criminals.

Love to sit on the patio even with a jacket. Doesn't take long to warm up.

Mamahen said...

Auto spell ...(smh) ment has no respect not bashing

Rob said...

Do a search on "the constitution free zone" if you want to see another piece of our freedom fading away.

I-40 running thru Tennessee is a know area where law enforcement are acting as armed highwaymen & seizing cash from travelers.

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
Too sad that things have gotten so out of control! So many folks are surprised this will happen!

Thanks for coming over!



Hey Sissy...
Getting to the point that we don't know who to trust! Sad!

Thanks for dropping by today!



Hey Mamahen...
Gets a little more scary every day.

Thanks for coming by this morning.


Hey Anne...
I'm afraid you are right about that!

Thanks so much for the visit today!



Hey Phyllis...
Seems like it's been coming for a long time, but we didn't pay attention!

Thanks for stopping by today!



Hey BBC...
That's probably very true! That's a good thing.

Thanks for the visit this morning!



Hey Dizzy...
Saddest thing is that we let them get away with it for so long!

Thanks for coming by today!



Hey Linda M...
Shame to be a prisoner in your own home, but it is getting bad!

Thanks for the visit today!



Hey Jo...
Some house cleaning sure does seem to be called for!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!



Hey Rob...
That's pretty bad, I'd say! Sure seems like it's time to take back some control!

Thanks for coming this morning!