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US Supreme Court Rules against Civil Forfeiture

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  • US Supreme Court Rules against Civil Forfeiture

    In a limited ruling the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Civil Forfeiture.

    A 9 to 0 ruling united the court.

    This is an issue that conservatives, liberals and constitutionalist can agree on.

    I have no problem with seizures that are done following rules and due process. But I've seen many examples of it being excessive.

    http://fortune.com/2019/02/20/suprem...cessive-fines/

    https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinio...ped-ncna974086


    The case of Tyson Timbs is a good example of this abuse with which the system has become rife. Timbs was charged and ultimately convicted of selling a small amount of heroin to an undercover police officer. In addition to a suspended six-year sentence, the state seized Timbs’s $42,000 Land Rover — even though he could prove that the vehicle was purchased with money received from a life insurance policy and not the proceeds of his low-level criminal enterprise. So while $10,000 is the maximum fine under Indiana Law for the offense of which he was convicted, he was effectively fined much more than that amount when the state seized his car.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/20/u...eme-court.html

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for eight justices, said the question before the court was an easy one. “The historical and logical case for concluding that the 14th Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming,” she wrote.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that the Eighth Amendment, which bars “excessive fines,” limits the ability of the federal government to seize property. On Wednesday, in a 9-to-0 decision that united justices on the left and right, the court ruled that the clause also applies to the states under the 14th Amendment, one of the post-Civil War amendments.

    I'm not a big fan of Justice Ginsburg, but when your right your right.
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    About time, thanks for the post, I saw the decision but was too lazy to post it.
    We hunt the hunters

    Comment


    • #3
      Really about time. This has become little more than legalized thievery by government.

      Comment


      • #4
        A very bad move.

        The thing OC leadership feared the most was asset forfeiture, They can isolate themselves from the products and practices of their criminal organization, but they can't isolate themselves from the money. First seizure, then tax evasion was the formula.

        This is a long step towards the emancipation of criminal leadership from any sanction by the authorities.

        Comment


        • #5
          Politics - Ginsburg just returned to the Court, and for the first time in forever the decision is 9-0 and not the standard 5-4? And the decision just happens to be written by Ginsburg?
          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

          Comment


          • #6
            I think they're all being nice to her. Sort of like..."Welcome back, Ruthie, we'll give you this one just 'cuz you're such a trooper..." Wait'll the Trump torts start...
            ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
            IN MARE IN COELO

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jose50 View Post
              I think they're all being nice to her. Sort of like..."Welcome back, Ruthie, we'll give you this one just 'cuz you're such a trooper..." Wait'll the Trump torts start...
              They may well have had Justice Ginsburg WRITE the opinion as a welcome back. Typically one Justice writes the majority opinion and one writes the dissenting . Occasionaly there are multiple majority and dissenting opinions.

              No justice is going to change their opinion just to welcome back Justice Ginsburg. In this case it was a 9-0 ruling. The issues in this case were fairly straight forward.

              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
                No justice is going to change their opinion just to welcome back Justice Ginsburg. In this case it was a 9-0 ruling. The issues in this case were fairly straight forward.
                Not at all. The issues in this case will be coming back to haunt the American people for a long time to come.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
                  A very bad move.

                  The thing OC leadership feared the most was asset forfeiture, They can isolate themselves from the products and practices of their criminal organization, but they can't isolate themselves from the money. First seizure, then tax evasion was the formula.

                  This is a long step towards the emancipation of criminal leadership from any sanction by the authorities.
                  The problem is that civil forfeiture has become a cash cow against individuals who might-- might-- have committed some criminal act. The times it's used against organized crime is small by comparison. The other issue is that it is often done before a person is convicted of anything. That is to say, their property is confiscated up front (ostensively to prevent their using ill-gotten gains for their defense). This means they have effectively been fined before the fact. Worse, if found not guilty or the charges dropped, it is difficult to impossible to get their property back and likely that the property will have been mishandled or used diminishing it's value without recourse against those that confiscated it.

                  I would rather see the government forced to take all of this to court, prove their case, then confiscate property rather than snatch it up from the get go. The bad move is giving government the power to take property without going through the legal system to do it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

                    The problem is that civil forfeiture has become a cash cow against individuals who might-- might-- have committed some criminal act. The times it's used against organized crime is small by comparison. The other issue is that it is often done before a person is convicted of anything. That is to say, their property is confiscated up front (ostensively to prevent their using ill-gotten gains for their defense). This means they have effectively been fined before the fact. Worse, if found not guilty or the charges dropped, it is difficult to impossible to get their property back and likely that the property will have been mishandled or used diminishing it's value without recourse against those that confiscated it.

                    I would rather see the government forced to take all of this to court, prove their case, then confiscate property rather than snatch it up from the get go. The bad move is giving government the power to take property without going through the legal system to do it.
                    Nonsense.

                    No property is forfeited without due process, ie, a court hearing. I do not know of any state which allows property to be seized prior to the resolution of a criminal case.

                    And it certainly isn't a cash cow (except for when cash is involved) because it usually takes a year or more to resolve the criminal case, if not longer. At the end of that time the value seized is divided two to five ways, which means no one is getting much (unless, again, you nab a mound of cash). A lot of agencies only go after cash, because even brand new vehicles aren't really worth the paperwork and hassle.

                    If charges are dismissed or dropped, the property or cash is returned. I've handled over a hundred forfeiture cases that I can recall, and not once was one ever returned.

                    Again, asset forfeiture is the only thing the the top echelon of OC organizations fear. And now the USSC has weakened that lone tool.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post

                      Nonsense.

                      No property is forfeited without due process, ie, a court hearing. I do not know of any state which allows property to be seized prior to the resolution of a criminal case.

                      And it certainly isn't a cash cow (except for when cash is involved) because it usually takes a year or more to resolve the criminal case, if not longer. At the end of that time the value seized is divided two to five ways, which means no one is getting much (unless, again, you nab a mound of cash). A lot of agencies only go after cash, because even brand new vehicles aren't really worth the paperwork and hassle.

                      If charges are dismissed or dropped, the property or cash is returned. I've handled over a hundred forfeiture cases that I can recall, and not once was one ever returned.

                      Again, asset forfeiture is the only thing the the top echelon of OC organizations fear. And now the USSC has weakened that lone tool.
                      Then you aren't paying attention.

                      https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/...n_6623972.html

                      https://www.forbes.com/sites/institu.../#5ba8b7a9561b

                      https://www.offthegridnews.com/curre...from-citizens/

                      http://www.news9.com/story/32168555/...ion-of-a-crime

                      https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...r-broke-no-law

                      As these and hundreds of other articles point out, the property, and cash in particular, is taken and held. Even after someone proves their innocence, they have to generally sue and often end up taking a settlement to get their property back. That shouldn't be happening.
                      They have no reason ZERO, to scan pre-paid cards for amounts on them prior to bringing charges or going to court, and then only to determine the amount. If the person isn't charged or is found innocent, then the police have a duty to return ALL OF THEIR PROPERTY INTACT AND IN GOOD CONDITION AS THEY FOUND IT.] There is absolutely no excuse for someone having to fight law enforcement or the government for what belongs legally and justly to them. Nor is there any excuse for law enforcement to not take proper and careful care of someone's property while in their custody.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The toxic relationship between criminal enforcement and civil forfeiture is further exacerbated by the lack of regulations on spending forfeiture proceeds. 51. See Carpenter et al., supra note 13, at 7. Many police budgets depend on forfeiture revenues to fund crime-fighting equipment, salaries, and officer bonuses. 52. See Stillman, supra note 1. In some Texas counties, forfeitures fund nearly 40% of police budgets. 53. See id. The Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney’s office’s 2016 budget anticipated $4.96 million in forfeiture revenues, which it earmarked to pay forty-one full-time employees’ salaries and benefits. 54. Joel Handley et al., Inside the Chicago Police Department’s Secret Budget, Chi. Reader (Sept. 29, 2016), https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicag...t?oid=23728922 [https://perma.cc/ELV9-MKC4]. But forfeiture proceeds are not just used for policing activities; with little accountability, law enforcement officials have also spent them on extravagancies like expensive dinners, parties, and personal expenses.
                        https://harvardlawreview.org/2018/06...w-enforcement/
                        Forfeiture is Reasonable, and It Works

                        Asset forfeiture has become one of the most powerful and important tools that federal law enforcement can employ against all manner of criminals and criminal organizations -- from drug dealers to terrorists to white collar criminals who prey on the vulnerable for financial gain. Derived from the ancient practice of forfeiting vessels and contraband in Customs and Admiralty cases, forfeiture statutes are now found throughout the federal criminal code.
                        https://fedsoc.org/commentary/public...e-and-it-works


                        The argument for or against the way forfeiture has been handled depends on review of individual cases and how extensively it has been abused. I lean towards the first argument based on the second argument lacking any case by case review and the lack of statistical data provided by the opponents of reform.

                        The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right To Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How To Save It

                        The ‘trial penalty’ refers to the substantial difference between the sentence offered in a plea offer prior to trial versus the sentence a defendant receives after trial. This penalty is now so severe and pervasive that it has virtually eliminated the constitutional right to a trial. To avoid the penalty, accused persons must surrender many other fundamental rights which are essential to a fair justice system.
                        https://www.nacdl.org/trialpenaltyreport/

                        It would be fair to say that defense attorneys may be prejudiced and that the above report is biased but the inability of the individuals to defend themselves against a government with unlimited resources have been illustrated recently by the Michael Flynn case. We now live in a world where if the Federal government wants to get you they will. The preferential treatment that the government can engage in is also shown by the difference in the way the Clinton email case was handled and the way the "Russian collusion" investigation was handled. In such an environment the burden of proof must be on the prosecution and law enforcement not the defense. Any time it is advantageous to plead guilty to a crime that you did not commit there is something wrong with the system.

                        The overburdened court system relates to the forfeiture issue in so far as we don't know how many times people have lacked the resources to fight forfeiture. 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. It is estimated that 20 percent of these cases are people pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit.

                        If the problem was law enforcement the situation would be completely different. Prohibition and the "War on Drugs" prove however that the problem isn't law enforcement but the pervasiveness of crime. Our prisons are overflowing, in 2008, approximately one in every 31 adults (7.3 million) in the United States was either behind bars or being monitored (probation and parole). Those numbers only reflect a small percentage of actual criminals, especially if you include illegal immigration, unreported crimes, "minor" crimes, illegal firearms and drug possession. We have a lawlessness problem.

                        Reform of the forfeiture procedures is going to have little impact on turning back the tidal wave of criminality.



                        We hunt the hunters

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wolfhnd View Post

                          https://harvardlawreview.org/2018/06...w-enforcement/
                          Forfeiture is Reasonable, and It Works

                          https://fedsoc.org/commentary/public...e-and-it-works


                          The argument for or against the way forfeiture has been handled depends on review of individual cases and how extensively it has been abused. I lean towards the first argument based on the second argument lacking any case by case review and the lack of statistical data provided by the opponents of reform.

                          The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right To Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How To Save It

                          https://www.nacdl.org/trialpenaltyreport/

                          It would be fair to say that defense attorneys may be prejudiced and that the above report is biased but the inability of the individuals to defend themselves against a government with unlimited resources have been illustrated recently by the Michael Flynn case. We now live in a world where if the Federal government wants to get you they will. The preferential treatment that the government can engage in is also shown by the difference in the way the Clinton email case was handled and the way the "Russian collusion" investigation was handled. In such an environment the burden of proof must be on the prosecution and law enforcement not the defense. Any time it is advantageous to plead guilty to a crime that you did not commit there is something wrong with the system.

                          The overburdened court system relates to the forfeiture issue in so far as we don't know how many times people have lacked the resources to fight forfeiture. 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains, with defendants pleading guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence. It is estimated that 20 percent of these cases are people pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit.

                          If the problem was law enforcement the situation would be completely different. Prohibition and the "War on Drugs" prove however that the problem isn't law enforcement but the pervasiveness of crime. Our prisons are overflowing, in 2008, approximately one in every 31 adults (7.3 million) in the United States was either behind bars or being monitored (probation and parole). Those numbers only reflect a small percentage of actual criminals, especially if you include illegal immigration, unreported crimes, "minor" crimes, illegal firearms and drug possession. We have a lawlessness problem.

                          Reform of the forfeiture procedures is going to have little impact on turning back the tidal wave of criminality.


                          According to criminal specialists, here in Colorado only one person per one hundred ever does time. This leaves an enormous number of criminals out on the streets for various legal and quasi-legal reasons.
                          Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                            According to criminal specialists, here in Colorado only one person per one hundred ever does time. This leaves an enormous number of criminals out on the streets for various legal and quasi-legal reasons.
                            What do you think of the theory that inequality not poverty drives violent crime?
                            We hunt the hunters

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

                              According to criminal specialists, here in Colorado only one person per one hundred ever does time. This leaves an enormous number of criminals out on the streets for various legal and quasi-legal reasons.
                              Our jails in Ohio are packed. For many low level crimes people are cited and realeased immediatly. Many will not show up for court appointments.
                              "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                              Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

                              Comment

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