WSJ Report on Excessive Use of Federal Forfeitures

As the Wall St. Journal says, the feds' ramped up use of forfeitures is snaring the property of the innocent as well as the guilty.

It's an issue both the right and the left agree on:

The expansion of forfeiture powers is part of a broader growth in recent decades of the federal justice system that has seen hundreds of new criminal laws passed. Some critics have dubbed the pattern as the overcriminalization of American life. The forfeiture system has opponents across the political spectrum, including representatives of groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union on the left and the Heritage Foundation on the right. They argue it represents a widening threat to innocent people.

As David Smith, author of the leading text book on forfeiture law, says:

"We are paying assistant U.S. attorneys to carry out the theft of property from often the most defenseless citizens," given that people sometimes have limited resources to fight a seizure after their assets are taken, says David Smith, a former Justice Department forfeiture official and now a forfeiture lawyer in Alexandria, Va.

This needs a lot more attention. The money does not just go to crime victims. In drug cases, for example, there are no financial victims. Very rarely do you see a restitution order in a drug case. The Government just gets to keep the funds -- or share them with local law enforcement. It's such a racket.

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    Another way of looking at this: (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 02:55:39 AM EST
    Asset forfeiture helps fund federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies--thereby decreasing the necessity of raising taxes. (Semi-snark.)

    I Know it's Snarky, but... (none / 0) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 10:20:44 AM EST
    ... it's self funded agency building.  

    To me one of the ways Congress keeps a leash on the various agencies is through the budget process.  Letting these agencies keep the treasure they seize, is bypassing an important check.

    What if the military kept the treasury they seized in the normal operations.  That would certainly lead to different operation goals based on their own interests rather than the interest of the country.

    Agencies expanding their operations using proceeds from the very criminals they are tasked to police is unethical at best.

    These proceeds should go into a general fund for victims.  Plenty of victims w/o resourceful perpetrators who need help.  This would eliminate decisions based on dollars, and prevent agencies from expanding their power without approval.


    Give that man a Kewpie doll! (none / 0) (#8)
    by Rojas on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:19:24 PM EST
    Hell, even a blind pig finds an acorn ever now and then....
    Mah friend Scott, in all his glorious ignorance, has finally found a connection between incentives and unconstitutional policies.  
    Why with progress like that, we'll be ready to take on the East coast financial establishment in another 175 years or so....

    My Stalker Returns... (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 12:05:53 PM EST
    If only Rojas could find someway to flex his intellectual superiority without having to wade through the infinite ignorance of my posts...

    The anguish, the suffering, the overwhelming need to read my writings.  Waiting patiently in the shadows for that perfect moment to pounce on your prey, delivering an unfathomable burst of greatness in a show of total superiority.

    Back in reality, you, like my mother, quick with the well crafted insults from a defective brain that some how derives satisfaction from others pain.  If only you could get past the rudimentariness of it all and deliver something real.  Use that self-hatred to make others truly suffer, you are better than 'blind pig' insults on a political blog...  Good god man, quit wasting your potential.

    Me, I'm just tired of you directing your ugliness, at me.  So once again Rojas, I am asking that you stop, while realizing that you won't, and in all likelihood, can't.


    i agree. (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 02:04:17 AM EST
    that said, a majority of these new criminal laws were legislated by a republican congress, and signed into law by george bush. american fascism has a name and face, it is the republican party.

    note that the vast majority of forfeitures occur in drug cases, and a huge majority of those for dealing pot. there is an incestuoustness in all of this, involving everyone from congress on down to the local sheriff, all of whom financially and politically benefit.

    until you break that chain, by legalizing pot, the world's largest organized criminal enterprise will carry on unabated.

    Cognitive dissonance (none / 0) (#4)
    by Rojas on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:53:46 AM EST

    Unlish the government on the defenseless (none / 0) (#3)
    by koshembos on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:55:30 AM EST
    The government has been using its unlimited resources, relative to individuals, for decades. The new tougher laws brought about by the allegedly libertarian Republican party are not only contradictory in term but they are cancerous.

    I hope the new Libyan government is taking notes (none / 0) (#5)
    by ruffian on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 09:14:17 AM EST
    wouldn't want them to miss any tricks.

    Forfeiture (none / 0) (#7)
    by PatHat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 12:17:06 PM EST
    My daughter was driving a friend in my wife's truck when they were stopped by a cop and the friend found to be delivering drugs. The cops IMMEDIATELY looked to steal my wife's truck.

    Luckily the truck was leased and the local police department thought it would be too much trouble. Just another Constitutional amendment that is simply ignored.

    Why Pat (none / 0) (#9)
    by Rojas on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:45:21 PM EST
    doncha' know, the best thing to do would have been to give up that ol' ford and assign any residual value to bying ol' Oc a opera ticket?? By god, widows and orphans and ADAs need 'em some love...
    Lots more love than any sixth amendment claims. Just ask herr reno.. strike that. I mean the civil rights generation..