Civil forfeiture: The grabbing hand of the law | The Economist.
I’m always amazed at how many people still don’t understand the way our government has changed. Our government that was formed ONLY to PROTECT our rights has somehow morphed into something intent on destroying them instead. Asset forfeiture or civil forfeiture as they call it in this article is just one particularly horrible example.
I started paying more attention to this issue years ago when I heard about a case where a man had his airplane stolen (confiscated) by the government. He spent years and thousands of dollars trying to get it back. It’s hard to fight the government when they’ve already stolen every asset you might have to pay for a lawyer to fight them with. 😦
Since then, I’ve heard of SO many cases around the country. It’s really sad. The laws are written so that they are technically filing charges against the PROPERTY. Property is not a person. Property has no rights. Property can not defend itself. Property is guilty until proven innocent (which is VERY hard to do)!
We now have over 200 federal forfeiture statutes!! Any one of which could be used to steal everything you own. You are not likely to win any part of it back (unless you have big bucks hidden away someplace). Even then, good luck!
This article from the Economist concentrates on the Dehkos, who are fighting right now to keep their grocery store. Grocery store! Apparently the grocery store has been ‘money laundering’ for the last couple of years! Pretty obviously the grocery store is NOT guilty of anything, much less ‘money laundering’ (which is not a crime anyway since there is no victim).
This charge against the ‘grocery store’ leaves the Dehkos (who actually own/operate the store) in deep trouble. The government has already confiscated all the money they had in the bank. How hard do you think it is to run a business when all your money has just been stolen?
Thanks to the Institute for Justice (www.ij.org), the Dehkos might just have a fighting chance. They’ve stepped in to help fight government overreach and will try to help these people recover their money and their lives.
The article mentions a case involving a motel. This case was just recently settled. The Caswells spent almost 4 years fighting the attempted government theft of the property that had been in their family for generations. Thanks to the help of the Institute for Justice they were finally able to prevail. Here’s a link for more on that case http://www.ij.org/massachusetts-civil-forfeiture-release-3-15-2013. Its a pretty good example of the kinds of things going on around the country.
Sorry to say, most people in this country don’t have the help of the Institute for Justice. I wish more did. I’ve been a supporter of the IJ for years, I REALLY appreciate everything they do. Most people don’t have the resources to fight the government. So most people will lose.
It’s a legal fiction to charge the property. It is ONLY done to make it easier for the government to win its case. Cases that most probably could NOT be won if they had to play by the rules.
Take a look at some of the information posted by the Forfeiture Endangers American Rights Foundation (F.E.A.R.- www.fear.org). They’ve been at the forefront of this issue for years. They’re trying to make some very needed changes but seems they’re not making much headway. Here’s a link to a ‘position paper’ from F.E.A.R. on asset forfeiture http://www.fear.org/fposit.html.
I keep hoping that if more people only knew about all these violations of our rights. Of all the ways the government is stealing our freedoms. Of all the ways they are making our society poorer and meaner. Then people would stand up for themselves and put a stop to it. Say ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’. I keep hoping…