Archive for the ‘Asset Forfeiture’ Category

The Big Business of Asset Forfeiture

A system that proved successful at wringing profits from drug cartels and white-collar fraudsters has also given rise to corruption and violations of civil liberties. Over the past year, I spoke with more than a hundred police officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and forfeiture plaintiffs from across the country. Many expressed concern that state laws designed to go after high-flying crime lords are routinely targeting the workaday homes, cars, cash savings, and other belongings of innocent people who are never charged with a crime. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/08/12/130812fa_fact_stillman?currentPage=all


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Land of the Free Watch: Guns of Pot Users to be Confiscated

The Obama Administration through the Justice Department has given the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the authority to “seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.” In effect: those who are convicted of crimes involving alcohol and/or substance abusers will have their right to bear arms revoked. By misuse of the civil-forfeiture doctrine, constitutional rights can be circumvented while the owner of the property will have it taken without recourse. http://www.infowars.com/new-attack-on-2nd-amendment-obama-says-substance-abusers-cannot-own-firearms/


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Land of the Free Watch: Under Asset Forfeiture Law, Wisconsin Cops Confiscate Families’ Bail Money

When the Brown County, Wis., Drug Task Force arrested her son Joel last February, Beverly Greer started piecing together his bail. She used part of her disability payment and her tax return. Joel Greer’s wife also chipped in, as did his brother and two sisters. On Feb. 29, a judge set Greer’s bail at $7,500, and his mother called the Brown County jail to see where and how she could get him out. “The police specifically told us to bring cash,” Greer says. “Not a cashier’s check or a credit card. They said cash.” So Greer and her family visited a series of ATMs, and on March 1, she brought the money to the jail, thinking she’d be taking Joel Greer home. But she left without her money, or her son. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/20/asset-forfeiture-wisconsin-bail-confiscated_n_1522328.html


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The Return of Debtor’s Prisons: Thousands of Americans Jailed For Not Paying Their Bills

Federal imprisonment for unpaid debt has been illegal in the U.S. since 1833. It’s a practice people associate more with the age of Dickens than modern-day America. But as more Americans struggle to pay their bills in the wake of the recession, collection agencies are using harsher methods to get their money, ushering in the return of debtor’s prisons. http://poorrichards-blog.blogspot.com/2011/12/return-of-debtors-prisons-thousands-of.html


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U.S. Government Asset Seizures On the Rise

The Wall Street Journal published a disturbing article earlier this week entitled “Federal Asset Seizures Rise, Netting Innocent With Guilty.” You can already imagine the crux of the article. In the United States, there are hundreds of regulations which authorize dozens of federal agencies to confiscate private property – homes, cars, bank accounts, gold, company shares, and even personal effects. Ironically, most Americans still think that they live in a country where you’re innocent until proven guilty. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it’s just another clear example of how the U.S. Constitution has become a worthless piece of toilet paper for the federal government. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/guest-post-us-government-asset-seizures-rise


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Stealing Camp Zoe: The Forfeiture Gang Strikes

Witnesses estimate that as many as 200 law enforcement officers took part in the assault on Camp Zoe. Given the size of that mobilization, some would expect that the police were dealing with a heavily armed gang that posed an imminent threat to public safety. Yet no criminal activity was found during the raid, and not a single person was led away in handcuffs. This should come as a surprise only to those who persist in believing that “law enforcement” is connected in some way to the protection of life, liberty, and property. Those who invaded Camp Zoe didn’t find criminal activity because they weren’t looking for any. They weren’t there to arrest criminals; they were preparing to steal the property in the name of “civil asset forfeiture.” http://www.lewrockwell.com/grigg/grigg-w181.html


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The Forfeiture Racket

Over the past three decades, it has become routine in the United States for state, local, and federal governments to seize the property of people who were never even charged with, much less convicted of, a crime. Nearly every year, according to Justice Department statistics, the federal government sets new records for asset forfeiture. And under many state laws, the situation is even worse: State officials can seize property without a warrant and need only show “probable cause” that the booty was connected to a drug crime in order to keep it, as opposed to the criminal standard of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Instead of being innocent until proven guilty, owners of seized property all too often have a heavier burden of proof than the government officials who stole their stuff. http://reason.com/archives/2010/01/26/the-forfeiture-racket/print


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Rwolf

Re: The Forfeiture Racket Most property and business owners that defend their assets against Government Civil Forfeiture claim an “innocent owner defense.” This defense can become a criminal prosecution trap for both guilty and innocent property owners. Any fresh denial to the government when questioned about committing a crime “even when you did not do it” can “involuntarily waive” your right to assert in your defense"the “Criminal Statute of Limitations” has passed for prosecution. Any fresh denial of guild, even 30 years after a crime was committed may allow Government prosecutors to use old and new evidence, including information discovered during a Civil Asset Forfeiture Proceeding to launch a criminal prosecution. For that reason many innocent property and business owners are reluctant to defend their property and businesses from Government Civil Asset Forfeiture. Re: waiving Criminal Statute of Limitations: see USC18, Sec.1001, James Brogan V. United States. N0.96-1579. There are over 200 U.S. laws and violations mentioned in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 and the Patriot Act that can subject property to civil asset forfeiture. Under federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. In the U.S. private security companies and their operatives work so closely with law enforcement to forfeit property"providing intelligence information, they appear to merge with police. Under the USA Patriot Act, witnesses can be kept hidden while being paid part of the assets they cause to be forfeited. The Patriot Act specifically mentions using Title 18USC asset forfeiture laws: those laws include a provision in Rep. Henry Hyde™s 2000 bill HR 1658"for “retroactive civil asset forfeiture” of “assets already subject to government forfeiture”, meaning "property already tainted by crime" provided “the property” was already part of or “later connected” to a criminal investigation in progress" when HR.1658 passed. That can apply to more than two hundred federal laws and violations. Just recently Obama signed Executive Order EO 12425 that included authorizing INTERPOL to act within the United States without being subject to 4th Amendment Search and Seizure." Obama™s executive order will allow U.S. police to circumvent the Fourth Amendment by working with INTERPOL in criminal and Civil Asset Forfeiture investigations, including wiretapping. After the Patriot Act passed, several European Countries entered into Asset Forfeiture Sharing Agreements with the U.S. It is problematic INTERPOL working with U.S. law enforcement and private government contractors will want access to telecom/NSA and other government wiretaps perhaps illegal, to secure evidence to arrest Americans and or civilly forfeit their homes, inheritances, intellectual property and businesses under Title 18USC and other laws. Thanks to Obama, U.S. Police can now use INTERPOL to circumvent the Fourth Amendment to share in assets seized from Americans.

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