• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Should Civil Forfeiture Exist?

Should Civil Forfeiture Exist?


  • Total voters
    75

Carjosse

Sit Nomine Digna
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 14, 2012
Messages
15,834
Reaction score
7,375
Location
Montreal, QC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
A few days ago jamesrage posted this thread about how Mississippi wants to make it easier for police officers to take cash and vehicles through civil forfeiture.

Do you think civil forfeiture should exist? Is it a violation of constitutional rights? If you support it, why?

I see it only as legalized theft by police, there is no reason why police should be able to take property without having to prove it first or charge someone of a crime.
 

Cardinal

Respected On All Sides
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
96,852
Reaction score
81,016
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
It never ceases to amaze me that civil asset forfeiture is a thing that can exist in any Western Democracy. In a sane universe, the revelation that asset forfeiture would be made public, there would be a huge scandal, and then asset forfeiture would be immediately done away with. This does not appear to be that universe.
 

chuckiechan

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Messages
16,568
Reaction score
7,253
Location
California Caliphate
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
A few days ago jamesrage posted this thread about how Mississippi wants to make it easier for police officers to take cash and vehicles through civil forfeiture.

Do you think civil forfeiture should exist? Is it a violation of constitutional rights? If you support it, why?

I see it only as legalized theft by police, there is no reason why police should be able to take property without having to prove it first or charge someone of a crime.

It is used by police to apply pressure to suspects, too. Let's say someone is busted with drugs in their possession at there mother's house. They threaten to take mom's house and throw her ass out on the street unless you confess to whatever they decide you need to confess about.

It never should have existed in the first place.
 

Praxas

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
22,399
Reaction score
11,861
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
A few days ago jamesrage posted this thread about how Mississippi wants to make it easier for police officers to take cash and vehicles through civil forfeiture.

Do you think civil forfeiture should exist? Is it a violation of constitutional rights? If you support it, why?

I see it only as legalized theft by police, there is no reason why police should be able to take property without having to prove it first or charge someone of a crime.

I don't agree with any civil forfeiture before a guilty verdict is handed down. Once a guilty verdict is handed down I have no problem with forfeiture of defendant's property. Now where I am still on the fence about is whether or not that should apply to property not owned by the defendant but used in a crime. A house is the perfect example. If a defendant is found guilty and drugs or money were found in the home and the home belongs to someone else, I am on the fence about whether that property should be included in forfeiture if the owner was unaware of any illegal activities.

EDIT: So I put yes it should exist for the defendant on trial, but just want to clarify, not before a guilty verdict is handed down by a court.
 

DH Kirkwood

Banned
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
1,091
Reaction score
664
Location
Missouri
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
A few days ago jamesrage posted this thread about how Mississippi wants to make it easier for police officers to take cash and vehicles through civil forfeiture.

Do you think civil forfeiture should exist? Is it a violation of constitutional rights? If you support it, why?

I see it only as legalized theft by police, there is no reason why police should be able to take property without having to prove it first or charge someone of a crime.

I'm going to be shocked if this actually turns into a debate. Nobody should like this. I can't fathom how anybody on either side of the fence could defend this, or why.
 

Harshaw

Filmmaker ● Lawyer ● Patriot
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 1, 2005
Messages
38,750
Reaction score
13,844
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
No, it most assuredly should not.

And schemes where law enforcement or the government at large can profit from these forfeitures are abominations.
 

ttwtt78640

Sometimes wrong
DP Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2012
Messages
89,813
Reaction score
53,495
Location
Uhland, Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
A few days ago jamesrage posted this thread about how Mississippi wants to make it easier for police officers to take cash and vehicles through civil forfeiture.

Do you think civil forfeiture should exist? Is it a violation of constitutional rights? If you support it, why?

I see it only as legalized theft by police, there is no reason why police should be able to take property without having to prove it first or charge someone of a crime.

Exactly the same arguments apply to "red flag" laws which allow the "temporary" taking of guns (imposing a sentence) and then (maybe?) holding a due process hearing on "the matter" (up to a year?) later.
 
Last edited:

DH Kirkwood

Banned
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
1,091
Reaction score
664
Location
Missouri
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Progressive
I don't agree with any civil forfeiture before a guilty verdict is handed down. Once a guilty verdict is handed down I have no problem with forfeiture of defendant's property. Now where I am still on the fence about is whether or not that should apply to property not owned by the defendant but used in a crime. A house is the perfect example. If a defendant is found guilty and drugs or money were found in the home and the home belongs to someone else, I am on the fence about whether that property should be included in forfeiture if the owner was unaware of any illegal activities.

So, you're fine with people's houses taken away just because there's drugs in there, something that shouldn't even be illegal in the first place.

I'm sorry, but I may be misinterpreting the spirit of your post, but it sounds a whole lot like, 'well, they're criminals, so **** 'em, go ahead and take their **** on top of locking them up!'

We live in a country with one of the highest, if not the highest rates of incarceration, fueled by for-profit-prisons and an injust drug war that boils down to basically being a war on the lower classes. I am absolutely not fine with seizing the property of convicts. Book 'em, sentence, make them serve out their time, but do not exploit them.
 

Chomsky

Social Democrat
DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 28, 2015
Messages
74,255
Reaction score
60,368
Location
Third Coast
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
I don't agree with any civil forfeiture before a guilty verdict is handed down. Once a guilty verdict is handed down I have no problem with forfeiture of defendant's property. Now where I am still on the fence about is whether or not that should apply to property not owned by the defendant but used in a crime. A house is the perfect example. If a defendant is found guilty and drugs or money were found in the home and the home belongs to someone else, I am on the fence about whether that property should be included in forfeiture if the owner was unaware of any illegal activities.

EDIT: So I put yes it should exist for the defendant on trial, but just want to clarify, not before a guilty verdict is handed down by a court.
That's exactly how it used to be, before the mid-eighties and Reagan's War on Drugs.

Up until then, the accused first had to be found criminally guilty of running a criminal for-profit enterprise (not merely possession, but dealing for profit). After a guilty dealing verdict, the state had to do a separate civil case demonstrating the convicted had profited from his crimes, and only then could a judge rule for forfeiture. I seem to recall the forfeiture amount would not exceed the criminal profits generated, but can't state that definitively.
 

MrWonka

DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
11,689
Reaction score
6,637
Location
Charleston, SC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
Do you think civil forfeiture should exist? Is it a violation of constitutional rights? If you support it, why?

I see it only as legalized theft by police, there is no reason why police should be able to take property without having to prove it first or charge someone of a crime.

The only reason people support this kind of **** is that of white privilege. They're confident that their status in society will make them immune from it, and they trust the police to only use it to hurt people who truly deserve it. They're the same **** heads who support the militarization of police and say blue lives matter. They're confident that the average police officer is as white and as racist as they are so it's only the undesirables that will feel the brunt of police mistreatment.

The only branch of law enforcement these **** heads don't like is the FBI because it's the only one that's coming after them.
 

ludin

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 3, 2013
Messages
57,470
Reaction score
14,587
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
A few days ago jamesrage posted this thread about how Mississippi wants to make it easier for police officers to take cash and vehicles through civil forfeiture.

Do you think civil forfeiture should exist? Is it a violation of constitutional rights? If you support it, why?

I see it only as legalized theft by police, there is no reason why police should be able to take property without having to prove it first or charge someone of a crime.

To me civil foreiture is a violation of the constitution.
if any government agent wants to take my stuff they should first have to prove it in a court of law.

me walking down the street with 10k or 20k dollars in my pocket is 100% legal and constitutional and none
of the government business as to why i have it.

also even if the government seizes my items they are 100% responsible for returning every bit of it back too me if i am cleared of any and all charges.
why courts let them get away with is gross blatant unconstitutional theft is beyond me.
 

ludin

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 3, 2013
Messages
57,470
Reaction score
14,587
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
The only reason people support this kind of **** is that of white privilege. They're confident that their status in society will make them immune from it, and they trust the police to only use it to hurt people who truly deserve it. They're the same **** heads who support the militarization of police and say blue lives matter. They're confident that the average police officer is as white and as racist as they are so it's only the undesirables that will feel the brunt of police mistreatment.

The only branch of law enforcement these **** heads don't like is the FBI because it's the only one that's coming after them.

stop with the race card bull****.

civil forfeiture affects everyone know matter what skin color they are.
only a liberal can turn play the race card and devalue an actual argument into something so base
and stupid.
 

Cardinal

Respected On All Sides
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
96,852
Reaction score
81,016
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
An entertaining dummy's guide to asset forfeiture...

 

Praxas

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
22,399
Reaction score
11,861
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
So, you're fine with people's houses taken away just because there's drugs in there, something that shouldn't even be illegal in the first place.

Drugs are a bad example for me because I don't agree with the war on drugs, so let's take drugs out of the picture. Instead let's say a rape or killing was in the house, that's an example I think we can agree on legality that the crime is legitimately illegal, yes?

I'm sorry, but I may be misinterpreting the spirit of your post, but it sounds a whole lot like, 'well, they're criminals, so **** 'em, go ahead and take their **** on top of locking them up!'

Don't do the crime if someone is concerned with losing their property.

We live in a country with one of the highest, if not the highest rates of incarceration, fueled by for-profit-prisons and an injust drug war that boils down to basically being a war on the lower classes. I am absolutely not fine with seizing the property of convicts. Book 'em, sentence, make them serve out their time, but do not exploit them.

As I said before, the drug war is a poor example because I agree with you that drugs should not be illegal. However, the fact it affects lower classes more can be attributed to lower classes wanting "fast cash" as well as disproportionate legal representation. The first (fast cash) I don't think should be used as an excuse to defend their actions, the second (not the same legal representation) I agree is disproportionate among lower class.

Minus the drug war, I just can't see someone committing a felony and not having some punishment of forfeiture of property not applied. Again, you make interesting points and I'm not against everything you said, I just need to think more on the subject I guess.
 

Praxas

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
Messages
22,399
Reaction score
11,861
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
That's exactly how it used to be, before the mid-eighties and Reagan's War on Drugs.

Up until then, the accused first had to be found criminally guilty of running a criminal for-profit enterprise (not merely possession, but dealing for profit). After a guilty dealing verdict, the state had to do a separate civil case demonstrating the convicted had profited from his crimes, and only then could a judge rule for forfeiture. I seem to recall the forfeiture amount would not exceed the criminal profits generated, but can't state that definitively.

Absolutely agree that no forfeiture should happen before a verdict is determined. DH Kirkwood brought up the drug war which I agree should not be happening anyways IMO. The part I bolded from your quote is interesting too that I could agree with as well.
 

TurtleDude

warrior of the wetlands
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
281,619
Reaction score
100,383
Location
Ohio
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
It never ceases to amaze me that civil asset forfeiture is a thing that can exist in any Western Democracy. In a sane universe, the revelation that asset forfeiture would be made public, there would be a huge scandal, and then asset forfeiture would be immediately done away with. This does not appear to be that universe.

OK let me ask you this (BTW I am opposed to the war on drugs but for the purpose of this discussion, we will assume it is a legitimate area of law enforcement)

here is a case I tried

30 something guy with dubious sources of legitimate income (stuff that could not be confirmed) is busted with 150K of weed in his house and lots of cash, etc) He is arrested and convicted of trafficking and most of the money is criminally forfeited.

DEA Task force gets a tip that he had stashed another 250 K in his parents' house. TF goes to the home on a warrant. They find the safe that was identified by the mope's brother as belong to the mope. The mother is at work-the stepfather of the dealer says he hasn't any clue what is in the safe or what the combination is. Mother returns home./ Her son's phone is tapped (she didn't know that and we couldn't tell that to the jury for reasons not relevant here). She asks him what the combination is and opens the safe-over 200K in bills packaged exactly like the bills at the dealers' home

Dealer denies the money is his. Mom Claims it is her savings. A forensic accountant examines her finances-testifies uncontradicted-that the woman-despite her 85K-95K (depending on overtime) salary per year was NOT sufficient to generate that much cash. Three different trained dogs HIT on the cash. Jury finds that she was not the owner of the cash and it is CIVILLY forfeited to the US Government

now the mother was not charged with trafficking or drug possession or drug abuse.

was that action proper by the feds?
 

Cardinal

Respected On All Sides
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
96,852
Reaction score
81,016
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
OK let me ask you this (BTW I am opposed to the war on drugs but for the purpose of this discussion, we will assume it is a legitimate area of law enforcement)

here is a case I tried

30 something guy with dubious sources of legitimate income (stuff that could not be confirmed) is busted with 150K of weed in his house and lots of cash, etc) He is arrested and convicted of trafficking and most of the money is criminally forfeited.

DEA Task force gets a tip that he had stashed another 250 K in his parents' house. TF goes to the home on a warrant. They find the safe that was identified by the mope's brother as belong to the mope. The mother is at work-the stepfather of the dealer says he hasn't any clue what is in the safe or what the combination is. Mother returns home./ Her son's phone is tapped (she didn't know that and we couldn't tell that to the jury for reasons not relevant here). She asks him what the combination is and opens the safe-over 200K in bills packaged exactly like the bills at the dealers' home

Dealer denies the money is his. Mom Claims it is her savings. A forensic accountant examines her finances-testifies uncontradicted-that the woman-despite her 85K-95K (depending on overtime) salary per year was NOT sufficient to generate that much cash. Three different trained dogs HIT on the cash. Jury finds that she was not the owner of the cash and it is CIVILLY forfeited to the US Government

now the mother was not charged with trafficking or drug possession or drug abuse.

was that action proper by the feds?

That's a nice anecdote, but it does nothing to get to the heart of whether civil asset forfeiture has become systemically abused in order to fund police departments. Your post is basically an argument that the intentions justify any outcome.

The genesis of the practice and its outcome is analogous to the "Rat Effect":

Rat effect

A similar incident occurred in Hanoi, Vietnam, under French colonial rule. The colonial regime created a bounty program that paid a reward for each rat killed. To obtain the bounty, people would provide the severed rat tail. Colonial officials, however, began noticing rats in Hanoi with no tails. The Vietnamese rat catchers would capture rats, lop off their tails, and then release them back into the sewers so that they could procreate and produce more rats, thereby increasing the rat catchers' revenue. Historian Michael Vann argues that the cobra example from British India cannot be proven, but that the rats in Vietnam case can be proven, so the term could be changed to the "rat effect".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect

So did the intentions for the bounty make it a resounding success when the outcome is factored in?
 

Xelor

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 20, 2018
Messages
10,257
Reaction score
4,161
Location
Washington, D.C.
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Civil forfeiture as described in the OP has its time and place, and there are, of course, instances and situations in which it is unjust.
 

TurtleDude

warrior of the wetlands
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
281,619
Reaction score
100,383
Location
Ohio
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
To me civil foreiture is a violation of the constitution.
if any government agent wants to take my stuff they should first have to prove it in a court of law.

me walking down the street with 10k or 20k dollars in my pocket is 100% legal and constitutional and none
of the government business as to why i have it.

also even if the government seizes my items they are 100% responsible for returning every bit of it back too me if i am cleared of any and all charges.
why courts let them get away with is gross blatant unconstitutional theft is beyond me.


I agree but what about this COMMON Scenario

I had another case where a girl was busted for DUI and there was 18K in cash in a paper bag. WE knew it was drug money but we couldn't tell the jury because there was a big investigation going on that lead to 8 people getting over 15 years each for narcotics trafficking, extortion, and one murder of a witness. Now a lottery winner-a friend of the dealer's father-stepped forward and claimed it was his money. He was never charged since he had nothing to do with the drugs. The only offense that could have been charged was perjury (three years later, the dealer ratted this guy out -we declined prosecution for reasons not relevant)

The DEA seized the cash. The jury heard from the lottery winner. After a week of federal trial time, the Jury-in fifteen minutes-found that the claimant was not the actual owner of the cash and the DEA was granted the verdict.

tell me why this is improper
 

TurtleDude

warrior of the wetlands
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
281,619
Reaction score
100,383
Location
Ohio
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
That's a nice anecdote, but it does nothing to get to the heart of whether civil asset forfeiture has become systemically abused in order to fund police departments. Your post is basically an argument that the intentions justify any outcome.

The genesis of the practice and its outcome is analogous to the "Rat Effect":



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobra_effect

So did the intentions for the bounty make it a resounding success when the outcome is factored in?



you ignore the obvious ramifications. If people who have made money illicitly can give that money to confederates for safekeeping, and since the confederates themselves are not part of the actual narcotics trafficking, that means the money cannot be touched by the government
 

Cardinal

Respected On All Sides
DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
96,852
Reaction score
81,016
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
you ignore the obvious ramifications. If people who have made money illicitly can give that money to confederates for safekeeping, and since the confederates themselves are not part of the actual narcotics trafficking, that means the money cannot be touched by the government

Which, again, does nothing to address the fact that it has been systematically abused in order to fund police departments.
 

American

Trump Grump Whisperer
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Monthly Donator
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
94,443
Reaction score
32,289
Location
SE Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Exactly the same arguments apply to "red flag" laws which allow the "temporary" taking of guns (imposing a sentence) and then (maybe?) holding a due process hearing on "the matter" (up to a year?) later.

How about when the police seize your guns because when you have a CCW permit and get ACCUSED by a girlfriend of sexual assault?
 

TurtleDude

warrior of the wetlands
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
281,619
Reaction score
100,383
Location
Ohio
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Which, again, does nothing to address the fact that it has been systematically abused in order to fund police departments.

not denying that-I am asking if it has a proper use
 

PirateMk1

Resident Martian ;)
DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 28, 2012
Messages
19,345
Reaction score
9,339
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Private
OK let me ask you this (BTW I am opposed to the war on drugs but for the purpose of this discussion, we will assume it is a legitimate area of law enforcement)

here is a case I tried

30 something guy with dubious sources of legitimate income (stuff that could not be confirmed) is busted with 150K of weed in his house and lots of cash, etc) He is arrested and convicted of trafficking and most of the money is criminally forfeited.

DEA Task force gets a tip that he had stashed another 250 K in his parents' house. TF goes to the home on a warrant. They find the safe that was identified by the mope's brother as belong to the mope. The mother is at work-the stepfather of the dealer says he hasn't any clue what is in the safe or what the combination is. Mother returns home./ Her son's phone is tapped (she didn't know that and we couldn't tell that to the jury for reasons not relevant here). She asks him what the combination is and opens the safe-over 200K in bills packaged exactly like the bills at the dealers' home

Dealer denies the money is his. Mom Claims it is her savings. A forensic accountant examines her finances-testifies uncontradicted-that the woman-despite her 85K-95K (depending on overtime) salary per year was NOT sufficient to generate that much cash. Three different trained dogs HIT on the cash. Jury finds that she was not the owner of the cash and it is CIVILLY forfeited to the US Government

now the mother was not charged with trafficking or drug possession or drug abuse.

was that action proper by the feds?

Yes because you went after it in a court and I presume you used the court to seize it until disposition is made. A jury made that decision. The government did not. That particular case is a dispute on ownership of property.

I like forfeiture as a penalty, after they have been tried and convicted by a jury of their peers. As for seizing assets in total and preventing them from being used to defend oneself in trial before one is convicted. Absolutely not. I believe there must be a conviction that must proceed any forfeiture of funds. The government must PROVE its case. If they have one then they will be able overcome the defense attorneys and convince a jury their case is legitimate and correct, with the benefit of being challenged most likely by competent counsel and subjecting the case in question to the crucible.
 

TurtleDude

warrior of the wetlands
Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
281,619
Reaction score
100,383
Location
Ohio
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Yes because you went after it in a court and I presume you used the court to seize it until disposition is made. A jury made that decision. The government did not. That particular case is a dispute on ownership of property.

I like forfeiture as a penalty, after they have been tried and convicted by a jury of their peers. As for seizing assets in total and preventing them from being used to defend oneself in trial before one is convicted. Absolutely not. I believe there must be a conviction that must proceed any forfeiture of funds. The government must PROVE its case. If they have one then they will be able overcome the defense attorneys and convince a jury their case is legitimate and correct, with the benefit of being challenged most likely by competent counsel and subjecting the case in question to the crucible.

how do you convict someone with a clean record who claims money is his when it was actually given to him for safekeeping by a drug dealer?
 
Top Bottom