In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court moved Wednesday to limit states’ ability to seize private property involved in a crime, saying the forfeitures are subject to Eighth Amendment protection against excessive fines.
Civil Asset Forfeiture has become big business for politicians and law enforcement. They seize property belonging to an alleged criminal, not even a convicted criminal, and there is almost no way for a person to get it back without accruing extensive legal costs.
They don’t have to find the person guilty, just the property. Civil asset forfeiture is a proceeding by the government that can find PROPERTY guilty of a crime.
THE UNANIMOUS DECISION FOR TYSON TIMBS
Tyson Timbs, a 37-year-old recovering opioid addict from Indiana, brought the case after state officials seized his $42,000 Land Rover following a drug conviction in 2013.
A judge had sentenced Timbs to probation and a modest $1,200 fee. Timbs’ argued the subsequent seizure of his vehicle by Indiana was excessive and unconstitutional.
“The protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority. This safeguard, we hold, is fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty, with deep roots in our history and tradition,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the court’s opinion.
“The historical and logical case for concluding that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming,” she said.
This will affect changes at the state level nationwide to put limits on civil asset forfeiture. It’s wholly unconstitutional.
THEY CAN STEAL YOUR STUFF IF YOU ARE INNOCENT
Civil asset forfeiture is a policy update which gives the IRS and law enforcement agencies a personal slush fund. They can seize your accounts or possessions without criminal charges or any criminal connections. You then have to prove you are innocent to get your assets back.
It’s becoming a popular practice and it has affected farmers, veterans, and restaurant owners who have no connection to a crime.
Law enforcement agencies can take property they say they suspect is tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.
The so-called update is actually performing as law and it is based on a false threat with nothing more than anecdotal evidence to back it up. It uses a supposed crisis or extreme threat – like the mob or cartels – to enforce what is nothing less than a tyrannical law. It makes law the IRS’ and law enforcement’s job easier but it violates American’s basic rights.
The loose guidelines are not based on any statistics that more organized crimes are stopped and criminals are being caught.
Civil asset forfeiture is turning into “policing for profit”.
THE IRS LOVES IT
Thanks to civil forfeiture laws, the ever-expanding IRS can seize the accounts of innocent people without their ever having committed a crime. The victims aren’t given notice and are subjected to expensive court proceedings to get the money or property back if they get it back at all. Victims have to prove their innocence without ever having been found guilty.
There are fewer procedural protections under this law. There is no right to notice, no right to a hearing until after the property has been held for a long time. The person who owns the property must prove their own innocence.
The law allows law enforcement agents to take property or money they suspect of being tied to crime without criminal charges ever being filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.
Critics say this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multiagency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize.
1. Chris and Mark Sourbouelis of Philadelphia had their home seized by the government after their son sold $40 worth of drugs from their home.
2. Russ Caswell owned the Russ Caswell Motel, a family business, and a perfectly fine motel. Some people who frequented the motel did things that weren’t legal. He did what he could to assist the police. He even gave rooms to the police for free so they could investigate the criminals in adjoining rooms.
That wasn’t good enough for the police. The police took the entire motel because some guests were criminals. The police were assisted by the feds and they all shared in the loot.
It’s called equitable sharing.
3.Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, VA, began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe-deposit box. All of the money came from paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he deposited it in a bank, he would be forced to pay taxes on the money again. So he asked the bank teller what to do.
“She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’”
The government seized $66,000; settling cost Sergeant Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.
“Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”