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Friday, October 31, 2014

 

Civil Forfeiture

The Police. We see them as the eye of the government and the best example of what we consider as government “force” when we see them out there serving for us citizens - protecting us. While Police Officers are there to serve us, are they all doing it for us? I am not talking about the events that have been occurring in Ferguson, Missouri – I am talking about the fact that things like racial profiling is still an issue in a lot of cities, and not only that – Civil Forfeiture.

We all know about racial profiling, so I am going to leave that subject be. However, Civil Forfeiture is a huge issue. If you do not know what that is, Civil Forfeiture gives the government (the police in this case) the right to take away your property with absolutely no charge or conviction of any crime. This property can essentially be anything: Houses, vehicles, even money (cash). The police can do this during a simple traffic stop and take away whatever they find “suspicious” without ever convicting you, or even charging you of a crime. This is a huge threat to our property rights.

Basically, the police can take away these items and proceed under legal fiction that cash, vehicles, or even houses can be “guilty” for their involvement of criminal activity. When this occurs, the agency that takes these items are free to sell them and/or use them – they essentially own them once they force you to forfeit these items without ever charging you of any crime. This is causing a profit-hungry ideal that is causing officers to attempt to seize or forfeit as much property as possible for the financial benefit of their agency.

First of all, your property should not be taken away if you are not even charged of any crime. A “suspicion” isn’t a valid reason for seizing property. This is a violation of YOUR rights. Second, these items can be used or sold by agencies for their own profit and financial benefit. Now, I completely support making sure law enforcement has the money they need to make sure they can do their jobs at the best of their ability, however this is encouraging a “police-for-profit” trend that is causing quite a stir and people are finally noticing how much of a problem this is after thousands of cases of abuse from law enforcement.

It is too easy to abuse Civil Forfeiture. Your property shouldn’t be taken away from you if you are not charged with a crime. Your property should not be sold for-profit or used by the agency that seized it without being charged and convicted. This violates your rights. If you have not heard much about Civil Forfeiture, I encourage you to look this up and read up on it.

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