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Forfeiture Endangers American Rights

Submitted by Thinking CAP on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 - 1:26 pm

http://www.fear.org

Contains a directory of lawyers by state who specialize in helping victims of this heinous evil being perpetrated by our government.

From their home page:

Incredible as it sounds, civil asset forfeiture laws allow the government to seize property without charging anyone with a crime. […]

[…] Eighty percent of property forfeited to the US during the previous decade was seized from owners who were never even charged with a crime! Over $7 billion has been forfeited to the federal government since 1985. […]

Over 200 federal forfeiture laws are attached to non-drug related crimes. Even a false statement on a loan application can trigger forfeiture. Physicians are subject to forfeiture of their entire assets based on a clerical errors in medicare billing. The government even tried to forfeit a farmer's tractor for allegedly running over an endangered rat. […]

Innocent owners who are never charged with a crime still must prove their innocence in complex proceedings, where many cases are lost before even coming to trial. Most forfeiture cases are never contested, in part because contesting the proceedings can cost more than the value of what's been confiscated. […] Under civil asset forfeiture laws, the simple possessoin of cash, with no drugs or other contraband, can be considered evidence of criminal activity.

FEAR is a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping the drift into tyranny that unfair forfeiture laws encourage. […]

Civil asset forfeiture laws pervert law enforcement priorities at your expense.

"Even if you're a law-abiding citizen who's never been convicted of a crime, local police are allowed to confiscate your property and money and keep up to 80 percent of it for themselves, with the legal stipulation that this windfall be spent only on programs likely to result in additional confiscations where the police can keep up to 80 percent of the booty for themselves," wrote Jennifer Abel in an October, 2007, article published by the Hartford Advocate.

[…]

Now is the time to:

  • Establish the right to trial by jury with assistance of counsel inall forfeiture cases;
  • Require criminal conviction of the owner before property may be forfeited;
  • Limit excessive forfeitures for minor crimes;
  • Eliminate the fiscal incentives that corrupt law enforcement priorities; and
  • Reform state laws that were modeled after the old draconian federal laws.

It has always been unreal to me that America has these kinds of laws, yet is considered in compliance with the Fourth Amendment and Bill of Rights.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

You'd have to be a complete idiot or a total liar to believe asset forfeiture is compatible with the Fourth Amendment.