Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.Denninger continues
This will not stop all civil forfeiture, but it will stop nearly all of it.I've written about civil forfeiture incidents here before, and it's not a new problem. It goes back to drug laws first passed in 1970, when Congress allowed police to seize aircraft, boats and other property used to transport narcotics or bought by drug lords with ill-gotten gains. Like all laws useful to the police state, it has expanded over the years. As I wrote a couple of years ago:
States can certainly continue to try to proceed with their programs under state laws, but the "Equitable Sharing" program made it very easy and thus cheap to administer -- and also gave the states a wide degree of immunity from being hammered in the courts with civil suits, since the underlying action was federal.
Around Daytona, Florida, in the 1990s, sheriff Bob Vogel was notorious for stopping cars on I-95. If you had cash, you must be a drug dealer, so the cash was seized. Drivers were virtually never charged with a crime, guilt was therefore never proven and the police made over $8 Million dollars for a department fund.This pattern has expanded and been used repeatedly all over the country. My previous article featured a story of the laws being used to sue an inanimate object.
This town’s police department is conniving with the federal government to circumvent Massachusetts law — which is less permissive than federal law — to seize his livelihood and retirement asset. In the lawsuit titled United States of America v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, the government is suing an inanimate object, the motel Caswell’s father built in 1955.But the stories can go on endlessly. The WaPo article reports that since 2008, more than 55,000 civil forfeitures have been used to seize cash and property worth $3 billion from people whom are rarely if ever charged with crime. The usual approach would be to seize cash if it appeared it was from a small business or individual, because they would be least likely to afford a legal staff that would be a threat to the states, then drag the cases out and run up legal bills until the victim went bankrupt trying to get their money back. Case in point:
That includes people such as Mandrel Stuart, who was stopped in 2012 by Fairfax County police, detained without charges, handcuffed and stripped of $17,550 in cash that was to be used for equipment and supplies for his barbecue restaurant in Staunton, Va. He eventually hired a lawyer, and a jury gave him his money back in 2013. But he lost his restaurant while fighting the government, because he had no working capital.Of course, the police departments see a threat to their undocumented funding efforts and are upset:
“It seems like a continual barrage against police,” said John W. Thompson, interim executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “I’m not saying there’s no wrongdoing, but there is wrongdoing in everything.”Read that last sentence again. Sounds like Otter in Animal House. "The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests - we did. But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals" This whole thing sounds like organized crime to me. If you have something valuable and don't seem to have the legal force to protect it, the state is taking it.
So why would that despicable little troll Holder do this now? Has he become sensitive to his legacy, and wants to be known for doing something right? If so, this is a good candidate because it seems that there is no political base that likes civil forfeiture. Left or right, I've never heard anyone say it's a wonderful thing. Maybe statists think so, but I've never come across them saying it.
Although it burns my mouth to say this, I have to acknowledge that Holder did something right. I always heard that while it's not strictly true, if something happens less than 5% of the time, it's probably a random event. They used to say "even a blind pig finds a few acorns".
from) By the way... did you know there's an entire "Eric Holder looks like sloth" meme out there?