The U.S. House Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing to examine the need for civil asset forfeiture reform. In her opening statement, Subcommittee Ranking Member Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) emphasized civil asset forfeiture creates a “seize-first, ask questions later” incentive for authorities and too often subverts an individual’s right of … Continue reading Mace: Congress should seriously debate and consider civil asset forfeiture reforms
A new federal class action lawsuit from the Institute for Justice (IJ) aims to end a corrosive feature of Indiana’s civil-forfeiture system: the practice of giving private lawyers a personal financial stake in forfeiture prosecutions. Unlike every other state in the nation, Indiana outsources forfeiture prosecutions to private lawyers on a “contingency fee” basis. Forfeit … Continue reading New class-action lawsuit aims to end for-profit prosecutions in Indiana
Kermit Warren, a New Orleans grandfather and head deacon of his Lower Ninth Ward church, will get his life savings back after the federal government agreed to dismiss its civil forfeiture case with prejudice, effectively clearing Kermit’s name. In November 2020, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized Kermit’s money at the Columbus, Ohio, airport. Kermit … Continue reading New Orleans man gets back life savings and federal government agrees to dismiss case, clearing his name
Law enforcement uses civil forfeiture to shake down innocent people and minor offenders rather than fight serious crime. Only about 1 in 4 of Philadelphia respondents was found or pleaded guilty to wrongdoing, but 69% saw their property forfeited forever.
Americans now lose more of their property each year to police claiming "asset forfeiture" than is stolen by thieves.
“We live in a country where law enforcement officers regularly take property from civilians stemming from unproven police allegations of criminal conduct, with little chance of ever having the property returned,” explained report author Dan Greenberg, attorney and former state legislator. “The U.S. Constitution is supposed to protect the property of its citizens, but civil asset forfeiture does the opposite.”
“It never occurred to me just how vast and immoral civil forfeiture was until I was robbed of my hard-earned money on the side of the road by a bunch of rogue pirates with badges and guns,” said Lara. “Police officers have a duty to protect and serve the public, not rob them of their life savings. I fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’ve seen abuses by government firsthand. I never thought I’d see it in my own country.”
Despite explicit orders to not open safe deposit boxes, FBI agents broke into every box and looted the contents.
Because America’s Founding Fathers properly wanted to protect citizens from government abuse, the Constitution has several provisions (presumption of innocence, ban on warrantless searches, right to jury trial, 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination, and other due process legal protections) to protect our liberties. So one can only imagine how Jefferson, Madison, Mason, et al, must … Continue reading Jeff Sessions wants to steal your stuff