I like this clip from a few years ago with John Oliver’s episode about Civil Forfeiture done by police: (698) Civil Forfeiture: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) - YouTube
So scary and so accurate! Lots of car forfeitures here because it’s a high drug area. People say, “I have no worries. I don’t use drugs.”
Perhaps the worst. Young man suspected of dealing drugs so the PD raids the house. They find drugs there, so they take his parent’s house…!
This is tangentially related to forfeiture:
The overlap here is the use of police force to take things away from supposed criminal actors.
Remind ourselves to have places to safely protect our computers and phones from uncalled for seizing.
I was curious when Civil Asset Forfeiture got into full swing. Wikipedia here:
According to journalist Sarah Stillman, a major turning point in forfeiture activity was the passage of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. This law permitted local and federal law enforcement agencies to share seized assets. According to Stillman, civil forfeiture allowed federal and local governments to “extract swift penalties from white-collar criminals and offer restitution to victims of fraud”. From 1985 to 1993, authorities confiscated $3 billion of cash and other property based on the federal Asset Forfeiture Program, which included both civil and criminal forfeitures. The methods were supported by the Reagan administration as a crime fighting strategy:
It’s now possible for a drug dealer to serve time in a forfeiture-financed prison after being arrested by agents driving a forfeiture-provided automobile while working in a forfeiture-funded sting operation.
The politics of civil forfeiture were somewhat unusual. The federal forfeiture laws were introduced and pushed through Congress by Republicans in the 1980s, with some Democrats supportive and some critical. Additionally, some libertarian-leaning Republican members of Congress have been critical of civil forfeiture, considering it offensive to property rights. Civil liberties organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union have long been opponents of civil forfeiture. A common criticism of civil forfeiture is that it adversely affects minorities and people from low-income communities (whose seizures are typically less than $500).
In Wikipedia, there is a chart of state laws about civil asset forfeiture. It’s very interesting to read – some states require a prosecutor to prove assets were linked to a crime. Other states require the owner to prove their innocence!
That is just so wrong.