Civil Asset Forfeiture

Philadelphia Family Loses Home Over A Single Drug Charge

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Sam Leino was ultimately convicted on a single charge of possessing prescription drugs with intent to distribute. For that, his wife and their three children are homeless. Welcome to the wonderful world of asset forfeiture.

Because the owner of a piece of property—be it land, cash, a car, or a home—needn't even be charged to lose the property under forfeiture laws, the Leinos had already lost their home by the time Sam Leino was convicted on that single charge. 

Read the full article at The Agitator.

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  1. C’mon, guys. You’re supposed to post these on Friday afternoon. Balko wasn’t gone that long.

  2. Goddammit, I will not rest until Reason starts officially calling me a super user. My comments are at least as good as this, right? …Right?

    HUFFPOST SUPER USER
    Dinah Kaman
    54 Fans
    58 minutes ago ( 7:00 AM)
    you can not judge all cops on some bad cops,cops are just human and some of them should never be in a uniform,but like any other job if they pass all their test and back ground then until they screw up, you are unaware of who you have hired.Just like people their is good an bad in all people.

    1. I thought HuffPo put those discriminatory labels on based on number of posts, not quality of content.

      1. It’s based on number of likes, actually. So the more simplistic your statist talking points, the quicker you become a super user.

    2. Just like people their is good an bad in all people.

      I’m sure the cops see it that way too, right?

    3. Yes, they are!

      I’m sure you would never have left out the important fact that cops are held to a much higher standard than the serfs civilians.

    4. You certainly have a better grasp of spacing.

    5. I haven’t seen a comment that uses more words to convey less of a point in a long time.

      And I read one of Tony’s posts not -that- long ago!

    6. To steal a line I saw recently, posts like this make my inner grammar nazi want to go into full holocaust mode.

  3. So the phrase “due process of law” has been replaced?

    1. Unless as the law says as part of the process they can seize your assets

      1. The legal and the moral never perfectly overlap. In fact, I’d say we’re lucky to get 10% agreement.

  4. The US Drug War: Keeping the Fine Traditions of the Spanish Inquisition Alive in the Modern Age.

  5. Asset forfeiture is blatant, no holds barred theft. True, “fuck you that’s why” theft. But it’s “legal”! Isn’t the law wonderful? Rule of law FTW!

    1. I remember when the Supreme Court signed off on the practice. I was completely shocked, given that it’s a blatantly unconstitutional abuse of power. Zero due process, in effect, and the government clearly has every incentive to abuse the practice all the more because of the money.

      1. You were shocked when a government–which you call for, though you at least call for a “minimal” one, whatever that is–increased its own power and allows direct stealing from the people? Why would you be shocked? This is government. This is what it does. This is all it does.

        You know what shocks me? Your persistent, mind-boggling inability to see that.

        1. Your story grows tiresome.

          The asset forfeiture decision was back in the mid-90s. I wasn’t as convinced that we were doomed back then. Now, I grow to expect penaltaxes and undeclared wars.

          1. So are you admitting that government always leads to this? Is this a breakthrough for you, ProL?

            1. Unchecked government, sure. And government almost always goes into unchecked mode. Again, the problem is people. The same people any system relies on to avoid the rise of an oppressive class.

              Anyway, my whole point is that in our system, with what few vestiges we have of limited government, the only possible way to reverse things even a little is to treat the slightest variance from constitutional government as a big deal. Simply shrugging and commenting that it’s par for the course won’t slow down anything. Maybe nothing will, but I’m not in favor of just waving the cape as the bullshit runs past me.

              1. that’s why i take to being the political ass….i feel bad for having to be “that guy” but people need to wake up so i bring it up as much as i can without obviously turning people off. I bug the shit out of my wife with these stories to get her involved.

            2. So are you admitting that government always leads to this?

              Yes, and it is the duty of the people to ensure its constraint. There is no free lunch.

              1. That’s the key to everything. Anarchy, minarchy, even despotic states. If you want to limit excesses, people have to say no at some point.

                1. I just don’t get the anarchy thing. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy and haven’t read enough of the theory.

                  Seems to me the entire concept is negated by the fact that there are bad people, with weapons greater than anything an individual or even a small group of individuals could possibly afford, who will eventually get around to taking your shit.

                  I have NEVER, had an anarchist be able to refute that argument. Now, it may be that the “how” is just too complicated to be explained in 1500 characters or less and, as I said, I may just be lazy. But it seems to me that the best philosophies are simple.

                  1. I just don’t get the minarchy thing. Maybe it’s because I’m lazy and haven’t read enough of the theory.

                    Seems to me the entire concept is negated by the fact that there are bad people, who will inevitably seek office in any government, and having access to weapons and power greater than anything an individual or even a small group of individuals could possibly afford, who will just take your shit.

                    I have NEVER, had an minarchist be able to refute that argument. Now, it may be that the “how” is just too complicated to be explained in 1500 characters or less and, as I said, I may just be lazy. But it seems to me that the best philosophies are simple.

                    1. It is simple. You limit their powers via a constitution. But people need to be involved enough and care enough about their liberty to fight for it and ensure the constitution is adhered to.

                      Your turn.

                    2. It is simple. You limit their powers via a constitution.

                      I’m sorry, how does a paper limit their powers?

                      If you have been paying attention to current events you no doubt have noticed that the strictures U.S. Constitution are routinely violated without consequence.

                      But people need to be involved enough and care enough about their liberty to fight for it and ensure the constitution is adhered to.

                      Your answer is that people have to be culturally predisposed to respect the constitutional limits. That cultural predisposition would also serve without an explicit constitution as well.

                      If Obama started randomly shooting people with his personal side arm, he’d be out on his ass in days constitution or no constitution, because the vast majority of people would find it unacceptable.

                      So congratulations, you’ve just defended anarchy.

                    3. It is simple. You limit their powers via a constitution.

                      I’m sorry, how does a paper limit their powers?

                      If you have been paying attention to current events you no doubt have noticed that the strictures U.S. Constitution are routinely violated without consequence.

                      But people need to be involved enough and care enough about their liberty to fight for it and ensure the constitution is adhered to.

                      Your answer is that people have to be culturally predisposed to respect the constitutional limits. That cultural predisposition would also serve without an explicit constitution as well.

                      If Obama started randomly shooting people with his personal side arm, he’d be out on his ass in days constitution or no constitution, because the vast majority of people would find it unacceptable.

                      So congratulations, you’ve just defended anarchy.

                    4. Screw you, server squirrels!

                    5. It is simple. You limit their powers via a constitution.

                      I’m sorry, how does a paper limit their powers?

                      If you have been paying attention to current events you no doubt have noticed that the strictures U.S. Constitution are routinely violated without consequence.

                      But people need to be involved enough and care enough about their liberty to fight for it and ensure the constitution is adhered to.

                      Your answer is that people have to be culturally predisposed to respect the constitutional limits. That cultural predisposition would also serve without an explicit constitution as well.

                      If Obama started randomly shooting people with his personal side arm, he’d be out on his ass in days constitution or no constitution, because the vast majority of people would find it unacceptable.

                      So congratulations, you’ve just defended anarchy.

                    6. It is simple. You limit their powers via a constitution.

                      I’m sorry, how does a paper limit their powers?

                      If you have been paying attention to current events you no doubt have noticed that the strictures U.S. Constitution are routinely violated without consequence.

                      But people need to be involved enough and care enough about their liberty to fight for it and ensure the constitution is adhered to.

                      Your answer is that people have to be culturally predisposed to respect the constitutional limits. That cultural predisposition would also serve without an explicit constitution as well.

                      If Obama started randomly shooting people with his personal side arm, he’d be out on his ass in days constitution or no constitution, because the vast majority of people would find it unacceptable.

                      So congratulations, you’ve just defended anarchy.

                    7. Another victim of the 3 PM squirrels. They do some sort of sever thing at 3 PM every day that prevents uploads. You keep hittin submit and you’ll get a post per click.

                      Anyway, I might have defended anarchism. There are certain aspects of it that are VERY appealing. The part I don’t like is the part you have no answer for. Who stops China or Russia from waltzing in, setting up a dictatorship and taking all your shit?

                    8. The part I don’t like is the part you have no answer for. Who stops China or Russia from waltzing in, setting up a dictatorship and taking all your shit?

                      In 1941 Yamamoto counseled against invading the United States because behind every blade of grass there would be a gun. The Japanese Navy was so superior the U.S. Navy that the U.S. government would be helpless to prevent an occupation of Hawaii or California.

                      Yet they didn’t invade. And the Japanese army lost soldiers to backward hunter gatherers in Java and Indonesia.

                      The US left Iraq not because the Iraqi army defeated them (it didn’t), but because the cost of keeping the place subdued was not worth the trouble.

                      Similarly the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is dependent on bribes paid to Taliban-friendly militias in Pakistan to keep the supply lines open.

                      The Soviet Union was bankrupt by its attempt to subdue and take the shit of what 1/6th of the world?

                      It had been at least 60 years since the Indians won any military victory against the British when the British walked away, exhausted by their inability to subdue them.

                      In the meantime, you can tell me how wonderful a military was in keeping Belgium from being overrun by the Wehrmacht, twice(!), the CSA from being overrun by the Union and the Germans from being looted by the French, British and the Russians.

                      A standing army can preserve independence, but not only is it unnecessary to do it, but is far more often a tool for oppression.

                    9. there is no proof of that quote

                      “In 1941 Yamamoto counseled against invading the United States because behind every blade of grass there would be a gun.”

                      He never said that as far as ANY historical records. There is some rumors he said that after the war in some special meeting or something.

                      Or at least that is all i could find on the interwebs about it but please prove me wrong. I am bookmarking this post so maybe you will post a link and down the road i’ll see it.

          2. Government’s only purpose is to prohibit or compel; coercion is its core competency.

        2. Life always leads to death. Might as well end it now. Or, you know, hold out against entropy as long as possible.

    2. It’s worse than theft. If someone steals your stuff and you have evidence of who did it, in theory you can send the government after them. When the government steals your stuff, you’re just fucked.

      1. hell you can possible get revenge against an individual but the government? Good luck on your kamikaze mission :/

  6. God bless the People’s State of Pennsylvania and the shitbags she propagates.

    Never met a group of people so subservient to authority as Pennsylvanians. “NEVER QUESTION” should be the state motto.

    1. Yes, because every person in PA is the same and they are all Borg who slavishly follow authority. Isn’t collectivism fun? Oh, let’s be racists now! That’s even more collectivist fun! Or maybe misogynists! Oh, such fun!

        1. It’s the funnest!

      1. This is government. This is what it does. This is all it does.

        I think maybe you’re not always consistent in your COLLECTIVISM WARZ.

        1. Government is literally collectivism. It says “these people represent all the people”, even though they don’t. Maybe you should rethink your statement.

          1. People in Pennsylvania don’t all hold the same view on the role of government so they can’t be collectivized.

            People in government don’t all hold the same view on the role of government but they can be collectivized.

            Whatever.

            Government is literally collectivism.

            Be sure to get those goalposts back in place before the games on Sunday.

            1. Are you seriously contesting the fact that government is collectivism? That it is the literal definition of it? That the fact that Chuck Schumer is one of two senators, and therefore “representative” of the people of NY, even though huge portions of them might hate or totally disagree with him?

              Please, explain to me how that isn’t collectivism.

      2. Yes, because every person in PA is the same and they are all Borg who slavishly follow authority.

        I believe I said, “Never met a group of people so subservient to authority…”

        That means, the vast majority, not necessarily, as you claim I said, “every person”. Certainly there are enough of them to allow and accept laws like this one.

        I’ve earned the right to criticize that shithole. I was born, raised and educated there until, in my 24th year, I escaped.

      3. The Steelers and the Eagles. That should be enough to disqualify any state from being considered civilized.

    2. It must depend on where in Pennsylvania you are talking about.

      Where I grew up, at the time I grew up, jobs paying in cash were the Holy Grail of jobs. No taxes.

      Folks used to head out of state to smuggle fireworks back into the state. They used to head out of state for cheap booze.

      Delaware wasn’t that far away. I knew plenty of folks that drive down to Delaware for big purchases, and then never pay the use tax on the purchase.

  7. Society needs that house more than those hippie dopers do.

  8. Balko, just read your new book. It was great, keep up the good work. The drug war is insane and should be ended.

    1. Balko’s not here, man.

      1. “Balko’s not here, man.”

        Yeah, I know. But if he does drop in I want him to know that it was an excellent read. He does great work and I hope more people realize that the drug war is horrendous and that nothing good comes from it.

      1. Yeah, you and Auric luck out on this issue.

      2. is a high score good or bad -_-

  9. Come on, Libertarians. Where is you EMPATHY? Don’t you know that the cops need this money? Do you want to see homeless starving cops, eating dog food?

    1. Do you have a link to where we can watch this?

    2. Do you want to see homeless starving cops, eating dog food?

      Yes

      1. Well, as a result of police conduct quite a bit of dog food in America is going uneaten so it seems fitting.

    3. Is “dog food” some kind of euphemism like “cow food” for beef?

    4. Do you want to see homeless starving cops, eating dog food?

      Sounds like it’d make a good youtube vid.

  10. When Radley left Reason, I let out a bit sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to guard my testicles all the time. But I let my guard down and here comes Radley jumping out of the bushes for a surprise nutpunch.

    1. It’s worse now. When Balko was here, we knew when the nutpunches were coming. Now they can come from anyone at any time.

    1. Someone care to catch me up on the Lucy theme. I understand she used to work for Reason, but that’s the limit of my knowledge.

      1. theme meme

      2. She was here one day and just gone the next, with no notice. It was like she was disappeared. I took the meme to be like “don’t talk about Minister Trotsky, tovaritch.”

  11. I was on a flight back from Berlin last Friday, and the German lawyer who I was chatting with next to me said, you know, there’s this really troubling thing happening in your country… and proceeded to describe asset forfeiture. I don’t know what to think that the first person to bring it up to me was a German citizen… I have yet to experience an American talking about it (in fact, some of my friends didn’t believe me that it exists!).

    1. and that is coming from some socialist -_- *face palm*

  12. Yeah, the LP of Penna. could scream about this until the cows come home but the friends and neighbors of those being victimized will still re-elect the same aholes that passed this forfeiture law and give maybe 1% to the crusading Libertarian candidate.

  13. I don’t understand why the forfeiture didn’t survive foreclosure. If the property is guilty, it doesn’t matter who owns or owned it.

    Funny, though, how once the property is seized by the gov’t, it’s no longer guilty and can be sold to others.

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