ELDER PATRIOT – There can no longer be any argument about whether or not we are living in an ever more restrictive and confiscatory environment. Many refer to it as a police state and that has become increasingly difficult to refute as decommissioned military materiel continues to find its way into our municipal police departments.
Civil forfeiture laws are one more example of an out of control government giving them selves utilizing one tool with which to feed their insatiable demand for your money.
Ostensibly enacted as a tool to aid law enforcement in combating criminal organizations such as those trafficking in narcotics it effectively reduces the legal action to a dispute between law enforcement and the property itself, not the holder of the property. In order to secure the return of the property the burden is on the owner to prove it wasn’t the product of a criminal enterprise.
This turns the Bill of Rights on its head by violated the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments:
Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated
Fifth Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, …nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
Sixth Amendment: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial…
Seventh Amendment: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved…
Civil forfeiture cases are based on the legal construct that cash, cars or homes can be “guilty.” Because these cases are technically civil actions, property owners receive few, if any, of the protections that criminal defendants enjoy. Making the whole process even more questionable is that when law enforcement agencies take and sell your property, they frequently get to keep all the proceeds for their own use. This gives agencies a direct financial incentive to itself act in a criminal manner by seizing and forfeiting as much property as possible.
Think this can’t happen to you? Wrong! It’s happening all over the country and over 80% of the people from whom assets were seized were never charged with a crime.
In just twelve Oklahoma counties along Interstate 40 over $6 million dollars were seized. Charges were brought against less than one-third of that total.
At the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport college student Charles Clarke had $11,000 in cash confiscated simply because he was traveling with more cash than thought necessary.
In North Carolina Lloyd McLellan had almost $108,000 seized by the IRS who claimed that the money was derived from illegal activity even though charges were never brought against Mr. McLellan. McLellan had saved the money over the past decade while running a business.
On Long Island in New York the federal government seized $446,000 from the business account of Bi-County Distributors a small business that supplies candy, snacks and other goods to convenience stores all over Long Island. The offense? The three brothers who own the business made too many deposits under $10,000. Yeah, you read that correctly. After two and a half years the money still has not been returned.
All over the country police are unconstitutionally seizing property and using the proceeds to buy new police vehicles, arms, and even to build completely new sub-stations. All told over $1 billion dollars has been seized under these laws in just the last year. Most of it by rogue federal agents and police with little or no justification. It’s time to fight back or one day you just might find yourself crying foul.