This is the story of a good government gone bad.
I’ll have to admit that, when I first heard about the concept of civil asset forfeiture, I cheered. It was a story about some bad guys getting their stolen stuff taken away by the authorities because they had stolen or embezzled the money that they had used to buy it. It sounded a lot like justice to me. And, in that case, it might have been. People who have their stuff (money or whatever) stolen should get it back.
But that was a long time ago. I don’t even remember the details of the story or where I read about it. And I was young and naive.
THIS IS A STUB ARTICLE WHICH WILL EXPAND ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:
Abuse of government power in several ways:
The victims often (usually? almost always?) don’t get the benefit.
The police departments or municipalities that do the seizing are the beneficiaries. Look up the percent of the budget of some departments that comes from such seizures. The government should not have cash incentives for confiscating people’s assets. Due process should be the priority.
Clearly unconstitutional abuse of illegal “search and seizure.”
The confiscated assets themselves are somehow considered to be the subject of the accusation of illegality independent of their owner. Thus the owner has to sue to get his assets back. And (I think) does not even get reimbursed for the cost of his law suit if he wins.
Look up court cases where it has been somehow been declared constitutional.
Look up cases of abuse. Get information from organizations who are attempting to fight abuse.
We might be able to get some free contributors to this site from this subject.
We could run a series of articles consisting of different abuse cases.
This might be a subject that would do well as a set of memes to publish on FaceBook that would link back to this article and site to expand publication of the site.
ALSO: This is related to (but not legally the same as) recent abuses of the “takings” clause in the Constitution that enables imminent domain. That needs to be a separate set of articles. Note: I’ve seen arguments that these abuses are “okay” because the “good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.” The support of this position contains the fact that communities enact limitations on the use of property all the time, like zoning requirements and building codes. We need to make the point that this is not the same as theft of someone’s property because zoning requirements are part of an existing environment and even usually have “grandfather” clauses.