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Thread: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

  1. #1
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    Default Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    [IMc - This disgrace is 100% on Republican leadership.]

    APR 2, 2018 @ 12:10 PM

    Congress Killed Efforts To Undo Sessions's Civil Forfeiture Expansion, Despite Unanimous House Votes

    Nick Sibilla, Contributor

    It was a brief moment of bipartisan unity. Last September, the U.S. House of Representatives approved several amendments to block an infamous civil forfeiture program that had been revived by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Under civil forfeiture, the government can permanently confiscate property even if the owner is never criminally charged. Tellingly, not a single representative voted against the amendments or voiced support for Sessions’ new forfeiture policy.

    Sessions’ forfeiture announcement was deeply unpopular. A survey taken by Morning Consult/Politico shortly after his decision found that Americans opposed the new Justice Department policy by a margin of almost 3:1. Only 19 percent of Americans thought expanding civil forfeiture would do “more good than harm.” Even many on the right blasted the decision, including Republican Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee as well as the editorial board for National Review.

    Yet despite this overwhelming consensus, none of the anti-forfeiture amendments made its way into the final version of the omnibus spending bill President Donald Trump signed last month. (The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment for this story.)

    “Congress’s failure to exercise its power over the purse to rein in even the most outrageous forfeiture practices is a disheartening setback in the fight to protect Americans’ private property rights,” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Darpana Sheth.

    Over the summer, Sessions reversed a 2015 policy by then-Attorney General Eric Holder that placed strict limits on so-called “adoptive” forfeitures. Under these kind of forfeitures, state and local agencies can seize cash and other valuable property, transfer what they have confiscated to federal agencies (like the DEA or ICE), who then “adopt” the property to pursue forfeiture under federal law. Typically, forfeiting property under federal law is easier or more lucrative because safeguards for property owners found in many states’ laws are often missing.

    Moreover, under adoptive forfeitures, participating state and local agencies can collect up to 80 percent of the proceeds from forfeited property. That provides a significant incentive to skirt state law and police for profit. In the year before Holder’s announcement, local and state law enforcement collected $65 million in funding from adoptive forfeitures.

    But less than two months after the policy change, as Congress debated a massive appropriations bill (HR 3354) to fund multiple federal agencies, several representatives saw an opportunity to rebuke the Attorney General. Republican Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner, Justin Amash, Tim Walberg, and Mark Sanford, along with Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin and Steven Cohen, backed amendments to the bill that would cut off any funding for the adoption program until the next fiscal year. Each of their amendments passed unanimously by voice vote. Later in September, the House voted to pass the entire appropriations bill, including the amendments to defund adoptive forfeitures.

    But the Senate never voted on HR 3354. And since both chambers of Congress had not approved an appropriations bill, Congress instead had to repeatedly scramble to scrape together continuing resolutions to keep the government funded. During this time, a broad reform coalition of nearly two dozen organizations, including the Institute for Justice, the ACLU, the NAACP and the American Conservative Union, wrote to House and Senate leadership “to ensure that the House-passed amendments regarding civil forfeiture be included in the year-long appropriations bill” that were being finalized.” Those amendments, the coalition wrote in a February letter, would be “the best, first step” to broader reform.

    It seems those appeals fell on deaf ears. In March, Congress transformed a separate piece of legislation, HR 1625, into an omnibus spending bill. Despite its bewildering size—2,232 pages—not a single page includes the House-approved amendments against civil forfeiture.

    This is just the latest example of how Congress has utterly failed to rein in civil forfeiture, even though forfeiture reform has been endorsed by both the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms and has the backing of 84 percent of Americans. For instance, since 2014, Sen. Rand Paul has sponsored and reintroduced the FAIR Act, which would greatly strengthen due-process protections for property owners and end equitable sharing.

    Despite its clear popularity among voters, the Senate Judiciary Committee has never held a full committee vote on the FAIR Act, preventing it from getting considered on the chamber floor. More modest efforts like the DUE PROCESS and RESPECT Acts have also failed to get across the finish line. In fact, the last time Congress enacted any significant federal forfeiture reform was back in 2000, during the final days of the Clinton Administration.


    Fortunately, there have been some bright spots for protecting Americans’ constitutional rights from abusive seizures. More than half the country has enacted civil forfeiture reform since 2014. Eight of those states have either completely banned or sharply restricted their agencies from participating in adoptive forfeitures. Two of those states—Nebraska and New Mexico—even abolished civil forfeiture entirely.

    But only Congress can fix the glaring defects in federal forfeiture law.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/institu.../#3ef636764549

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    What an evil thing! It is nothing more than making cops into judges to create an end run around the law.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    I am surprised, or maybe not, that this is not headline news,at least in the US. There is already a few "shake-down States" where police can confiscate or fine with total impunity. Do they envy Russia so much they think appropriations are a good thing? Its a bit like being thrown in jail and never being allowed to see the evidence against you. What does it take for people to see that "democracy" went out the window?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post
    I am surprised, or maybe not, that this is not headline news,at least in the US.
    Too much other absurd stuff crowding it out; the Trump scandal-of-the-day (some days, of the hour). I agree with you 100% on this; civil forfeiture is legalized theft.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Theft? Pshaw.

    It's just a retirement fund for southern sheriffs and police chiefs, so they can buy deluxe boats and motor-palaces (which helps the economy: it's really a jobs program).

    Another source of supplemental income for these Christian patriots, beloved by Sessions, is to skim money off the contracts for private prisons, so the money taken from feeding and caring for inmates is funneled to their big 'ol fat-boy pockets.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    Theft? Pshaw.

    It's just a retirement fund for southern sheriffs and police chiefs, so they can buy deluxe boats and motor-palaces (which helps the economy: it's really a jobs program).

    Another source of supplemental income for these Christian patriots, beloved by Sessions, is to skim money off the contracts for private prisons, so the money taken from feeding and caring for inmates is funneled to their big 'ol fat-boy pockets.
    The prison management are also hiring out inmates to all sorts of employers. Technically, the inmates get paid for their labor, but it's like seventy cents an hour. Whatever organization is paying for the labor gets it at a stupid low rate, the prison management gets a big payday, the more outsourced labor the more money.
    I don't care to know what the tough do when the going gets tough.

    I am interested in what the enlightened do.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Welcome to the worlds, best armed gangster republic.

    Republic. If you can keep it……………..

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    The possible upside is, the Trmp mob may have all their assets seized. It could be something the Evil Elf is holding over Pres. Spanky's head.
    Greg H. - from before the great crash, 20th century member 108

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    So the 2nd amendment is irrelevant?
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    a very bad thing... I'll fight back at the polls
    The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
    Personal failures are too important to be trusted to others.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Allen View Post
    a very bad thing... I'll fight back at the polls
    A bit late...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Wisconsin just passed a bill limiting this action. At least ONE good thing came out of Madison.
    The best helping hand you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Article the seventh... No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, 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.
    from https://www.archives.gov/founding-do...hts-transcript

    So much for the US Constitution.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sessions' Civil Forfeiture Expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    from https://www.archives.gov/founding-do...hts-transcript

    So much for the US Constitution.
    It seems to be a moveable feast depending on what political appointments have sway on the USSC, and you'll always find a legal gun for hire to push any line you like to pay for.

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