Toothless Asset Forfeiture Bill Draws Fire From Georgia Sheriffs

Great Beyond Foter.com CC BY-NC-SAGreat Beyond Foter.com CC BY-NC-SAThe Georgia Sheriff’s Association is worried that a bill purporting to reform the state’s asset forfeiture laws would cripple law enforcement’s ability—nay, will—to fight crime.

From the Newton Citizen:

"I can categorically say that the provisions of this bill will only benefit criminals and the lawyers who represent them," wrote [Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, president of the Sheriffs' Association]. ... “If it is passed, it will literally demoralize the law enforcement community to a point where we will see little public benefit in enforcing the law when it comes to drug dealers and other criminal entrepreneurs."

Speaking of the law, Sheriff Sills' department has not released the annual forfeiture reports that Georgia law requires—despite hauling in $1 million-plus over the course of his tenure. Sadly, that’s all too common. Only 58 of the 628 law enforcement agencies in the state filed a report for 2011 according to a recent study by the Institute for Justice,* a libertarian public interest law firm.

But back to HB 1, the bill in question, which would so demoralize police. The sheriffs interpret it to mean the profits from forfeited property would go to municipalities—earmarked for law enforcement purposes—instead of going directly to the agency that seized the property. By my reading, however, the sheriffs are just wrong. Instead, the bill seems to leave the present arrangement—virtually all proceeds go to law enforcement—mostly intact but for a proviso allowing, but not requiring, municipalities to take control of seized houses and land.

The bill does not fix any of the main problems with asset forfeiture in Georgia: the government can take property without convicting anyone of a crime, law enforcement can keep what it seizes, and reporting requirements are vague and frequently ignored.

The bill does increase the government’s burden of proof (from preponderance of the evidence to clear and convincing). But that only helps property owners once their case reaches court—most don’t. Often the forfeited property is worth less than the cost of a lawyer.

According to IJ’s study, the average value of seized property reported by law enforcement agencies is $1,300. The median value of the same is a mere $647. This innocent owner spent $12,000 on a lawyer, though a minimal amount of actual investigation would have revealed the confiscated property was earned legally.

*I am a former employee of the Institute for Justice.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    Look, if we can't keep the property that we steal from people who haven't been convicted of anything, then what's the point of stealing it in the first place?

  • ||

    + 1 shot dog

  • In Time Of War||

    Demoralize...I have an idea, why don't they use the fact they're paid to do their job as motivaion to, y'know, do their job?

  • Professional Target||

    Wage slaves? Our Betters couldn't see fit to be that!

  • In Time Of War||

    As for the reports...I started to keep a spreadsheet of all the laws the government passes to make itself do something which it then blithely ignores without consequence, but finally gave up.
    I'm guessing they knew they were lying when they passed them. Probably had their fingers crossed when they voted.

  • ||

    there are a lot of things motivating about being a cop and a lot of things demotivating. money is not the primary concern.

    arresting a minor for auto theft and learning that (at the time in the state of WA), he had FOUR prior convictions for auto theft and had served less than a WEEK of jail time total for those convictions was demoralizing

    at the time, it took 6 (SIX!) convictions before a minor could get any substantial jail time in my jurisdiction. for AUTO THEFT.

    some of the biggest motivators i get are the thanks and appreciation of the people i serve, otoh. that is a big part of what makes the job worthwhile. i remember a big arson case i had, and community members got together and had a little celebration for me, and that meant a lot more than a paycheck.

    i'm paid VERY fairly, and the benefits (medical etc.) are awesome. but to me, the motivation to do the job is stuff like that - seeing people get help, crimes solved, vicious predators caught, and having people respect and rely on us. that's the motivation. it's an exceptionally rewarding job, but sometimes , the "system" can bring you down

  • In Time Of War||

    Fair enough, but I spent a lot of time demoralized in the army and still did my job to the best of my ability and in a military manner. Claiming that demoralization may lead to them not enforcing the law is not a wise idea.
    And yeah, that auto theft bit was crap, and lead to at least one owner chasing down and shooting a car thief, if I remember correctly.

  • ||

    i agree. it's certainly not cause for officers to shirk their duties.

    these officers (and this sheriff guy) have the same right as anybody else to advocate for change in laws they see as unjust. in fact, i would argue people have a moral duty to do so.

    they have no right to threaten depolicing or any such nonsense because they are butthurt over new legislation that they (he) perceives as anti-law enforcement. that's kind of thuggish and childish

  • In Time Of War||

    BTW, I'm constantly amazed you still post here. You are truly a glutton for punishment.

  • ||

    i enjoy it, thx.

  • Hugh Akston||

    If he didn't thrive on people hating him and wishing he would go away, he wouldn't have become a cop in the first place.

  • ||

    except polling data and personal experience show that you are full of shit.

    you can't argue with the facts - most people in the US like cops, and we consistently rank near the highest in respect amongst all professions (right up there with teachers). lawyers and journalists consistently rAnk near the bottom.

    that's one of the things that is so rewarding about being a cop... MOST people like us, and i constantly get respect and accolades. heck, the other night at dinner, some other diner anonymously paid for my meal. people who hate cops don't do that.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Statistics aren't the same as facts, polls aren't the same as statistics, and facts themselves are fuzzy things. People consistently rank Congress somewhere between earwax and child molesters, but the recidivism retention rate for legislators is always in the 90s. So I always take citations like that with one of those 10lb saltlicks.

    And how many people are really going to come up to an armed thug with an entire organization devoted to corroborating sufficient cause and tell him to his face that he and his buddies are reckless, arrogant, criminals?

  • Agreenweed||

    I swear I see this crap on every other thread I read. Can we stop whining about how good the police are? Yes, I am sure we all concede that there are some policemen and women that are fundamentally good people. We realize, however, that as a community, law enforcement has the opportunity to screw citizens quite frequently, and they often do, and ironically many of the people they screw are simply those who cross them, not necessarily those who have done something wrong. Asset forfeiture is a big issue...

  • In Time Of War||

    At the risk of bringing everyone's righteous, fiery verbal wrath down upon me, I have to wonder about this group's vitriolic hatred of law enforcement.
    I consider an innate distrust of authority to be an excellent trait, but if we are to have laws, doesn't someone have to enforce them?
    Keeping in mind the nature of humans and the bounds of, well, reason, exactly what sort of law enforcer would libertarians not hate?

  • ||

    most of the cop hatred comes towards stuff done pursuant to the war on drugs. the war on drugs exists because LEGISLATORs created it, but cops get the blame constantly.

    i've been told that because i occasionally have to enforce drug laws, that i cannot be a libertarian, and that i am evil, etc.

    ultimately, though, most people here make no positive difference in the world at large - they are opining from their ivory towers, whereas cops are on the front lines. and yes, we make mistakes, etc. sometimes, but overwhelmingly we are a force for good.

    in use of force analysis, there is this belief here that my defense of varius use of forces is defending EXCESSIVE force despite the fact that i frequently come down against BAd uses of force, and when i defend UOF's, it's coincidental that the prosecutors are also finding no law violations?

  • ||

    i look at it this way. i have posted for years at volokh.com , full of whipsmart attorneys, some of whom are nationally renowned. and nobody considers me a cop apologist. i get plenty of respect, even from people who work as defense attorneys (who i have great respect for). these are adults. they can understand and DO understand the case law surrounding uses of force, which is why we almost always agree on when it is and isn't justified.

    the reasonoid hatred of cops is childish. it leads people to call for me die in fire, pig and stuff like that.

    you will get plenty of people saying i'm a liar, etc. (with no evidence), or a cop apologist or the ilk. i've done my best to maintain the highest ethical standards in 20 yrs+ of police work and i am incredibly proud of what i do. that also rubs people the wrong way - i LOVE my job, and i am very proud of it

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The problem with cops is they violate due process, coerce people, and then commit perjury.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I don't think you're a liar, dunphy, I just think you don't know what the truth is.

  • DenverJay||

    A few points, officer:

    1. Yeah, the WOD is a hue part of the problem.

    2. Partly because of the WOD, a partly for other reasons, we are no longer talking about a police presence that attempts to serve and protect. Instead, we see the militarization of the police, on every level. And people tend to dislike people who act like an occupation army.

    3. Asset forfeiture, zero tolerance, helicopters patrolling small cities and towns, pets being killed, arrogance, lack of respect, oh my god, I don't have enough time.

    4. Lastly, in my personal xp, there was the time that I was told by an officer in the Denver Police Department, while I was handcuffed (because he was so fucking tough and I was so fucking dangerous) "you better watch your mouth, its dark out here and you never know what might happen"

    But no, why in the world would anybody dislike the police?

  • sloopyinca||

    the reasonoid hatred of cops is childish. it leads people to call for me die in fire, pig and stuff like that.

    Coming from the guy that brought you this litany of idiocy.

    Examples:

    moron dies of gunfire.

    he drew a gun on the cops and paid the price

    fuck him

    this guy chose his own fucking fate

    It goes on and on and on... If you ever needed a reason to despise a cop who so flippantly mocks a person murdered on his front porch by cops that intentionally hid their identities and then opened fire when they roused a man at 1:30 am and then changed their story multiple times after shooting him, then here it is.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "the reasonoid hatred of cops is childish"

    Stop it. I've read plenty of your material. I like you in spite of some of the bullshit I disagree with. I see you as largely logical and beneficial to a Libertarian society. I am hardcore critical of policing in general- I am NOT hardcore vicious toward the honest ethical cop. Not going there. I appreciate these rare individuals who wear a badge with pride and genuine integrity. You are likely one. However, acting as if you are a plucked hen in the Reason oven sauce is a cheap shot. In light of the FACT that there exists a violent blight within unionized law enforcement I suggest you should be a bit more understanding of the non-cop Libertarian here who simply has a zeal for a peaceful open society that employs the few good men and women who are intellectually capable of serving the community without brutalizing it.

    Frankly, we need a few good cops here and there but these good badged folk also should be at peace with the liberty-minded logician- many of who will strongly support the hard-working and Libertarian-minded cop such as yourself.

    Be an example to the cop community. Teach it. Educate it. Perhaps in the distant future law enforcement can be humble enough to understand their limited role within a free society. Until then, there is a pile of work to accomplish on the tyranny that absolutely thrives within contemporary unionized American law enforcement.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Dunphy, I'm sure a super-genius like yourself realizes what an arrogant ass you sound like when you say things like

    ultimately, though, most people here make no positive difference in the world at large - they are opining from their ivory towers, whereas cops are on the front lines.

    You do realize that most of us work productive jobs in order to improve our lives and the lives of our friends and families right? We own businesses and employ people and create, market, and transport the goods and services that make people's lives easier and better.

    But you say we make no positive difference because we don't collect a paycheck for intimidating the populace into obedience. And then you wonder why we hate cops.

  • sloopyinca||

    most of the cop Death Camp Guard hatred comes towards stuff done pursuant to the war on drugs Jews. the war on drugs Jews exists because LEGISLATORs created it, but cops Death Camp Guards get the blame constantly.

    Plays the same either way. Your "just following orders" justification for egregious and persistent violations of individual rights has been used before by agents of the state to terrible effect.

  • Cloudbuster||

    "Death Camp Guards ... Your 'just following orders' justification for egregious and persistent violations of individual rights has been used before by agents of the state to terrible effect."

    If cops were out there refusing to enforce any law they personally disagreed with, you'd all be complaining about the lawless cops.

  • DenverJay||

    Really, you think we would be complaining about police who DON'T act like a middle-school principal? "Lawless cops" would pertain to officers who make up their own rules, where there is no law authorizing them to do whatever they are doing.
    An officer who chose NOT to prosecute every petty offense he could is referred to as a "normal, socially healthy, member of society"

    But hey, the next time a traffic cop lets you off with a warning, make sure that you insist on being charged with the maximum penalty possible.

  • sloopyinca||

    n use of force analysis, there is this belief here that my defense of varius use of forces is defending EXCESSIVE force despite the fact that i frequently come down against BAd uses of force, and when i defend UOF's, it's coincidental that the prosecutors are also finding no law violations?

    You mean the same prosecutors that are on the same team as you, and are often only given evidence about potential cop wrongdoing b the cops and their coworkers, and witness intimidation is roundly used to suppress any dissenting opinions from "civilians".

    Also, people like the rest of us face grand juries for potential crimes while you and your kind face "internal investigations" and "review boards" packed with ex-cops and union appointees. That's hardly what I would consider equal protection under the law.

  • Cloudbuster||

    "the war on drugs exists because LEGISLATORs created it, but cops get the blame constantly."

    QFT. The drug laws and the asset forfeiture laws are all legislative creations. Cops don't make the laws.

    Kind of silly to make bad laws and then blame the people whose duty it is to enforce the bad laws.

    Most of our legislatures, at both the state and federal levels, deserve to be ridden out of town on a rail. But we keep electing the same party machine politicians and incumbents (but I repeat myself) over and over. What does that say about us?

  • Chris Mallory||

    "Just following orders" still gets you hanged.

  • Coeus||

    I have to wonder about this group's vitriolic hatred of law enforcement.

    For many of us, it's experience.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I consider an innate distrust of authority to be an excellent trait, but if we are to have laws, doesn't someone have to enforce them?

    "Someone" need not include thugs who imagine themselves to be above the law, nor men interested in brigandage via badge.

    Keeping in mind the nature of humans and the bounds of, well, reason, exactly what sort of law enforcer would libertarians not hate?

    Personally, I'd like to term limit cops. Just as I don't believe it is in the best interest of the republic to have a permanent class of legislators, I don't think having a permanent, lifelong, and in some cases, generational, class of law enforcers is conducive to the republic. From what I've observed, in both instances, it breeds contempt for those not in government or law enforcement (read: the citzens).

  • DenverJay||

    Years ago, I had an idea that sheriffs should be chosen like members of a jury...

  • DWC||

    It is still utterly incomprehensible to me, even in the USSA, that the state can take your property merely because you might or could be engaged in an illegal activity. I can't believe even Americans, who seem only to care if they are personally being victimized by the government, would tolerate this or that the courts would allow this. Isn't utterly fundamental to the principles of American justice that you need to be convicted of a crime before being punished for it?

  • sloopyinca||

    Isn't utterly fundamental to the principles of American justice that you need to be convicted of a crime before being punished for it?

    Of course it is. But I'd also be willing to bet that if you asked a majority of Americans would be OK with police being able to search their and your cars any time they pull you over because "if you've got nothing to hide" and all that other crap.

    Hell, just go to a TSA checkpoint and start bitching about the violation of privacy and individual liberty. A few may bellyache with you but they'll keep moving right through the line and be rapescanned when their turn comes up.

  • ||

    The bill does not fix any of the main problems with asset forfeiture in Georgia: the government can take property without convicting anyone of a crime, law enforcement can keep what it seizes, and reporting requirements are vague and frequently ignored.

    Well won't it all end up at an auction anyway?

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Alt- Text
    Just the good ole' boys, Never meanin' no harm. Beats all you never saw, been
    in trouble with the law since the day they was born

    Yes I'm old and had a terrible thought. I probably don't want to see Daisy Duke in her Daisy Dukes now.

  • ||

    By todays standards those things are as big as pants anyway.

  • Jerryskids||

    I'm not familiar with Putnam County, the home of Chief Sills, but you may not be far off. Putnam is not one of the metro area counties where you have a decent chance of having enough people keeping an eye on the local good ol' boys to keep them honest. Putnam may be one of the Deliverance-style counties - and those places are stereotyped for a reason.

    The thought of those guys having every incentive to seize assets from the passers-by on the highway is unsettling to say the least.

  • ||

    "the government can take property without convicting anyone of a crime"

    this is hardly limited to georgia. and i say this as somebody who has testified in many asset forfeiture hearings.

    convicting somebody of a crime requires proving all elements beyond a reasonable doubt. asset forfeiture requires no such thing - in ANY state.

    iow, if it's a problem, it's not a problem withe georgia asset forfeiture, it's a problem with asset forfeiture in general.

    imo, GIVEN asset forfeiture, the proceeds absolutely should not go to the law enforcement agency. they should go to the municipality or county or whatever. law enforcement should not be a profit/asset seeking industry. setting it up that way is inherently corrupting.

    raising the standard of proof from preponderance to clear and convincing, which is glossed over in this article, is a HUGE improvement imo. preponderance of the evidence is (the standard civil standard) a standard that is lacking (imo) (although as somebody who has sued somebody in civil court, it worked well for me), whereas clear and convincing is much more protective of rights.

    while i have seen some people go to asset forfeiture hearings without an attorney, i agree that the cost of an attorney is prohibitive and gives the advantage to the govt.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Giving seized assets to the state or municipality still perverts incentives. Patrol cops are already glorified revenue collectors.

  • ||

    considering i almost never write traffic tickets, i'm not glorifyin' much revenue collection, personally.

    patrol cops are the meat and potatoes of law enforcement and we are the ones people can depend on when they are in need. i say that as somebody who worked years as both a detective and an undercover operative, but patrol is where my heart is.

    stop being so cynical :)

    it's harshing my buzz

  • sarcasmic||

    Today, driving home from work, a cop pulled out behind me with his high beams on. He tailed me for a bit before ducking into a parking lot at a spot where the speed limit transitions from 45 to 25. They can't keep what they steal, but they can still be dicks.

  • ||

    no doubt. my job gives me IMMENSE opportunity to be a dick. otoh, it gives me immense opportunity to be a good guy, and even on occasion to be a hero.

    (when i talk about the heroic stuff, i recognize that ALL sorts of people would be heroes IF given the opportunity. law enforcement because of the nature of the calls we respond to just gives us far more OPPORTUNITY to do heroic shit. i've seen some officers pussy out and i've seen others rise to that rare occcasion)

    the immense opportunity for garden variety dickishness that negatively affects others is why i am such a firm believer in progressive discipline and in holding cops accountable. my agency has adopted "blue team" which although it has its warts, does a good job at helping our agency be proactive in weeding out problem officers and intervening BEFORE shit gets too fucked up

    fair or not, every incident of police misconduct hurts me personally. i don't like dickish, let alone corrupt cops. i have testified before IA in a case, for example, where a cop slapped somebody i was field interviewing. this happened after the kid spit on the officers shoes. understandable? sure. justifiable? no. he got 3 days and held a grudge for a long time

    i think he's over his butthurt now, but that kind of shit doesn't fly.

  • sloopyinca||

    the immense opportunity for garden variety dickishness that negatively affects others is why i am such a firm believer in progressive discipline and in holding cops accountable.

    Yes, and every department in your region has a stranglehold on the transparency of the progressive discipline process and stacks citizen review boards, hides behind Garrity and refuses to even attempt to weed out bad cops until they get caught on video their "brothers" aren't able to seize and suppress the FOIA requests for.

    Seattle-area police departments have routinely come under the scrutiny of the DoJ for totally abusing their authority and suppressing criminal complaints against officers and use the public purse as a slush fund to silence the victims of police abuse as well as the press.

    Sorry, but when a police department would rather just take taxpayer money and pay the fines instead of releasing the information they're required by law to release as public records, you've got a systemic problem.

  • Agreenweed||

    We can depend on you showing up after we are dead or beaten, ya, sure.

  • ||

    oh btw, i agree about the perversion of incentives. i have mixed feelings about asset forfeiture. there is a huge ick factor to it. otoh, since people have the right to sue other people for stuff (and i have sued others and won!), there is a part of me that says govt. should have the same right to sue for offenses, which is essentially what asset forfeiture is. but it is so inherently corrupting and icky, that it needs to be done, if it is done at all, in a manner that is much more regulated and restrictive of state power, than it is done now, in most jurisdictions.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Governments don't have rights. You can't harm the government or offend against the government. Government's only legitimate interest is in protecting the people under its jurisdiction.

    When you open the door for government to recoup costs or claim reparations for offenses, you turn it into a den of thieves with police power.

  • ||

    my point stands. should govt. have the AUTHORITY (vs. "rights" you are correct on the terminology) to sue themselves, JUST as people do.

    assume a guy making proceeds dealing in stolen weaponry who buys tons of assets. should the govt. have the authority to seize and go forward with asset forfeiture?

    like i said, i have serious issues with asset forfeiture in general. but i'm not willing to say the entire process should be thrown out. i DO think it should be done BETTER, with greater protections, and i think this bill is a good example of how the balancing can be done in a manner more protective of rights.

    fwiw, whether or not you can "harm" the govt. , in criminal cases, the govt. is the victim e.g. "state vs. smith" that's how the criminal justice system works.

    offenses are seen as being committed against the peace and dignity of a given jurisdiction, if you have ever read an indictment or charging sheet.

    so, in the eyes of the CJ system , govt. CAN be the victim, and in fact is the victim in lots of criminal cases.

  • Hugh Akston||

    All the more reason that the legal system (lets not kid ourselves with the "justice system" descriptor) is such a sick joke.

  • ||

    it could be better, but when comparing it to OTHER nations, i think ours compares favorably

  • Hugh Akston||

    Sure, I mean it's no accident that the US has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world.

    U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

  • ||

    that has to do with policies and laws. i am talking about the court system (trial by jury, rule of law, etc.).

  • Hugh Akston||

    There is no rule of law in this country.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is no rule of law in this country.

    Rule of law would mean that the fry cook at dirty spoon, the son of a city councilman's best friend, and the head mechanic at the dealership that maintains the police department's cars would all get the same treatment under the law.

    The first one is fucked, the second might get charges dismissed, while the third would be shown professional courtesy.

  • Agreenweed||

    Hey, at least in the Philippines or in Indonesia I can get away from a bad cop with a 5 dollar bill.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "stolen weaponry"

    Restoring stolen property to the owner is not the same thing as asset forfeiture, which involves taking someone's property and declaring it forfeit to the govt.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "assume a guy making proceeds dealing in stolen weaponry who buys tons of assets. should the govt. have the authority to seize and go forward with asset forfeiture?"

    No.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Asset forfeiture is nothing like a lawsuit because lawsuits name a defendant. Asset forfeiture involves stealing property without any kind of process, due or otherwise. Fuck you.

  • ||

    So let me get this straight- it should be OK for the government to "sue" for loot, with the judgment being made by... the government. And with the government folks having qualified or absolute immunity. And the defendant bearing all the costs with no hope of recompense- or not being able to afford to defend himself and losing everything.

    Right.

  • NowWhatian Boghog||

    It is not the same as suing. I don't get to grab your stuff and keep it unless you sue me and win to get it back. I have to win in court first.

  • Professional Target||

    If the 4th Amendment isn't in effect, neither is the Constitution. That means the POTUS isn't President, the Governors aren't the Governors, and the cops aren't the cops. They're all just thugs. I wonder how long it will be before we can print a ready-to-go RPG?

  • sloopyinca||

    raising the standard of proof from preponderance to clear and convincing, which is glossed over in this article, is a HUGE improvement imo.

    It's a bullshit standard either way. Until someone is convicted of a crime, their property should remain theirs. If the municipality has standing to file a civil suit then let them do so and make a claim for that person's property.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Who cares if they're are convicted? The state should get nada, and any victims should be able to sue in civil court.

  • sloopyinca||

    I meant to write one more sentence at the end of that paragraph: They do not have that standing by definition

    Sorry for the omission and thanks for pointing it out.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I thought it strange, knowing your position on things, that you'd think the state has any claim on someone's property, regardless of the crimes they've committed.

    Guess you don't.

    Good shit.

  • Aresen||

    This is a turf war between thieves, not a debate over proper course of a law.

  • sarcasmic||

    One nice thing about the state in which I live is that when the courts steal stuff the proceeds go into the General Fund.

    Takes away some of the incentive to be a dick.

  • ||

    that's how it should be. seizing stuff for their own personal use imo is just revolting from a moral perspective, and that's how asset forfeiture works in too many places. granted, i have issues with the concept of asset forfeiture IN GENERAL, but it's especially odious in those places

  • Coeus||

    They get around that by calling the feds, giving it to them, and keeping a percentage of the loot.

  • Coeus||

    that was supposed to be in reply to sarcasmic.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "I can categorically say that the provisions of this bill will only benefit criminals and the lawyers who represent them..."

    I take he does not accept that a suspect is not legally a criminal until there is conviction?

    It also says a lot when police see a, at best, morally compromised tactic as being an absolute necessity for enforcing the law.

  • ||

    a criminal is a criminal aside from whether they have been adjudicated as such, though. that's tangential to whether they are LEGALLY considered a criminal.

    i just think he should consider that this bill DOES benefit criminals, but it also benefits those who are in fact innocent, but had their assets seized anyway.

    it's always about balancing.

    the guilty beyond a reasonable doubt standard clearly benefits criminals vs. a lower standard. duh. for example. but it also benefits the innocent who get caught up in criminal suspicion but are in fact innocent. it's always about balancing

    requiring a clear and convincing standard, as this proposal does, for example, imo is a huge improvement over the lowly preponderance standard

  • Mickey Rat||

    It may be a huge improvement, but asset forfeiture sans conviction is theft despite it being legal.

  • ||

    why is it theft when govt. does it but when i sue somebody and get their assets (as i have done), that's not theft?

    i sued somebody for what could be considered criminal fraud. no conviction. and i won. was that theft?

  • Mickey Rat||

    You really think winning a civil suit is comparable to an asset forfeiture?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    There is usually not even a lawsuit in forfeiture. Fuck you.

  • Coeus||

    but when i sue somebody and get their assets (as i have done), that's not theft?

    So when you sue someone, they have to prove you're weren't wronged and you don't have to prove they did anything? Damn, I should start suing people.

    Maybe you should spend more time with the lawyers on Volokh. I don't think the lawyers are teaching you much.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    why is it theft when govt. does it but when i sue somebody and get their assets (as i have done), that's not theft?

    Due process, preponderance of evidence, right to counsel, right to trial by a jury of ones peers...

    Any of these terms ringing any bells?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Not to mention, that the aggrieved party has to show some sort of loss, whether it be financial or otherwise.

  • Coeus||

    Which makes it difficult when the defendant is an inanimate object.

    State of Texas vs. 2009 Dodge Charger

    That shit is ridiculous.

  • ||

    No "right to counsel" in a civil action. Nor in asset forfeiture (where the presumption swings toward the "plaintiff"). You're on your own.

    It's plain old armed robbery, no lipstick on that pig.

  • Cloudbuster||

    The difference between asset forfeiture and suing someone to get their assets is obvious.

    With asset forfeiture, your assets are seized first, without the necessity of a suit, then you have to sue to get them back, at your own cost.

    A private person can't first seize your assets and force you to sue to get them back. That's called theft.

    See? With a private person the suit comes first *then* the forfeiture of assets.

    If the state wants to sue me and prove in a court of law that they deserve my assets, and pay all my court costs and legal fees if they lose, that's one thing. But that's absolutely not what happens with asset forfeiture.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I see, Dunphy favors stealing property from people who were never convicted of any crime. I declare forfeiture of all personal property of pigs.

  • DWC||

    "a criminal is a criminal aside from whether they have been adjudicated as such, though. that's tangential to whether they are LEGALLY considered a criminal." Did you really just say this???
    If you have a reason to believe someone is a criminal, then you have a reason to charge them with a crime. If you can not charge someone with a crime, you have no business calling them a criminal. And does breaking a law, however illegitimate it may be, make anyone a "criminal"? And does malum prohibitum/malum in se factor into it at all for your typical LEO?

  • Cloudbuster||

    Apparently we're all criminals in the eyes of the law. There's just the ones that have been caught and the ones that haven't.

    Reference Glenn Reymolds' "Due Process When Everything is a Crime": http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa.....id=2203713

  • sloopyinca||

    i just think he should consider that this bill DOES benefit criminals, but it also benefits those who are in fact innocent, but had their assets seized anyway.

    it's always about balancing.

    Yeah, it's about "balancing." I guess if cops steal 50% of their assets from innocent people and 50% from those they have rightfully prejudged to be guilty, then all is ok. Besides, they have a process in place for the innocent to prove their worthiness and get their personal property back, so fuck you.

    As a matter of fact, the entire "Asset Forfeiture" racket needs to be renamed the "Fuck You That's Why Forfeiture" process for accuracy's sake.

  • Capt Ace Rimmer||

    "a criminal is a criminal aside from whether they have been adjudicated as such"

    That's exactly the way I feel about cops and the other people who support the oppressive majority.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    a criminal is a criminal aside from whether they have been adjudicated as such,

    Who needs protections and process when we have Street Judge DunphyDredd to decide who is a criminal and who isn't?

  • buybuydandavis||

    “If it is passed, it will literally demoralize the law enforcement community to a point where we will see little public benefit in enforcing the law when it comes to drug dealers and other criminal entrepreneurs."

    Translation: We only enforce the law if it lines our pockets.

  • Swamp Think||

    Typical. When you need Mann Coulter to call someone a pussy she's never around.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    OT Rant!

    I'm having an asthma flare-up, the first one I've had in about 4 years, and I used up the last of my Bronkaid yesterday. I knew that my state had changed the laws regarding Bronkaid for the derpier since I bought it last, being made of ephedrine and all, but I had no idea how bad it had gotten. I spent the better part of the day going through the whole rigamarole to get a prescription, with the unnecessary last-minute doctor appointment, etc.

    They don't carry it anymore.

    The pharmacist called around to several local stores trying to see if they could get it. (See, he had to do it because according to Arkansas law, you have to buy cold medicines at the place you get your prescriptions filled. If they don't have it, they have to order it. If they don't want to order it, tough shit.) The supplier doesn't seem to send much to Arkansas anymore. Wonder why.

    I fought this asthmatic cough for 11 YEARS and I sure don't want to see it come back because some dipshits in Jos. A Bank down in Little Rock thought it might save just one child from meth addiction. I'm calling up friends in other states trying to ascertain the relative derp level regarding ephedrine to see if they can get some for me.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    I've checked my online pharmacy to see if I can buy it through them (Bitcoins are EXPENSIVE!) but of course, the sources are international and the quantities are enough that I have to be concerned about the effects of tear gas on my sensitive lungs should I be considered in receipt of large quantites of meth precursors.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    So angry right now.

  • Thane of Whiterun||

    I can sympathize. I used to have terrible migraines (they still crop up now and then, just not as much) and one of the only abortive medications that worked for me was being marketed before the FDA required efficacy tests. The "grace period" passed without any manufacturers sponsoring efficacy trials, since they couldn't justify spending the money on a non-patented drug, especially when their competitors would just free-ride.

    I get safety trials, but seriously, the FDA needs to fuck off and let me decide "efficacy" for myself.

  • Ted S.||

    Fuck you. You deserve to die so that children can be prevented from getting meth.

    /Jos. A. Bank-wearing state legislator

  • ||

    Poor widdle snowflakes! They're right up there with crippled children on the pitiable list!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    “If it is passed, it will literally demoralize the law enforcement community to a point where we will see little public benefit in enforcing the law when it comes to drug dealers and other criminal entrepreneurs."

    Heaven forbid you should direct your energies toward solving(!) real crimes with actual victims, instead of stealing from people who engage in consensual economic activities.

    Fucking pig.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Sooo, you're pro-private property today? Just checkin'.

    sorry, couldn't resist

  • ||

    Always worth posting....

    joe from Lowell says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:38 am
    Matt,

    Don’t get suckered by the IJ. They seize on cute, fuzzy poster boys in order to push radical changes to the law in the service of corporate deregulation.

    “Simply put, the government is not allowed to require people to get a license in order to talk.”

    Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech.
  • Cloudbuster||

    Because I remember that clause in the first amendment, that says "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, unless it's commercial speech."

  • XandPand||

    lol, georiga cops are corrupt as trhe day is long anyways lol.

    www.GotzAnon.da.bz

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "*I am a former employee of the Institute for Justice."

    What's with footnotes like this? I even see people post disclaimers that they own some stock on other forums when they mention a company. What the fuck?

  • Thane of Whiterun||

    Because the internet makes it easy for some dick to Google your name and find a potential conflict-of-interest to go apeshit over.

    Also I'm sure many outlets have disclosure policies.

    I dunno about people on forums wrt stock, but I wouldn't be surprised if some heavy traders are wary of being accused of market manipulation. Kind of like how you'll often see doctors and lawyers end posts with this is not medical / legal advice, for liability purposes.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Assets should not even be siezable unless it is to directly compensate a victim for some established value. The shit about reimbursing law enforcement for the favor of being charged with some crime is bullshit.

  • Coeus||

    “If it is passed, it will literally demoralize the law enforcement community to a point where we will see little public benefit in enforcing the law when it comes to drug dealers and other criminal entrepreneurs."

    Feature, not a bug you dipshit.

  • sloopyinca||

    If sheriff Sills is worried about funding his department, he ought to use asset forfeiture and take the cruisers and other equipment of the corrupt GA cops caught in the net of a corruption scandal to protect drug runners.

    As a matter of fact, I think asset forfeiture ought to mean that when cops are found to be responsible for criminal or civil infractions against "civilians", that the civilians recompense ought to come from the department itself and the retirement fund of the officers instead of from the taxpayers pockets.

  • sloopyinca||

    If these officers were smart, they'd go ahead and seize this apartment that was the scene of the horrible crime known as contempt of cop.

    Note, for LULZ, how the Sergeant rubber-stamped the officers actions based on nothing more than "what they knew at the time". Yet someone on here wonders why we roundly have animosity toward cops.

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