Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Taking Our Stuff Back

civil asset forfeiture, police, abuse, robbery, Common Sense

There’s been a big push for criminal justice reform, with some recent progress on civil asset forfeiture.

This is the process through which police and government agencies grab a citizen’s money or property — even if the citizen is never charged with a crime, much less convicted. Then, to get one’s stuff back, a citizen must sue to prove the stuff was innocent of being involved in criminal activity.

Asset forfeiture without a criminal conviction turns our system of justice on its head, encouraging bad behavior by police — ahem, stealing — by rewarding departments and agencies that get to keep the loot.

Reform legislation passed through an Oklahoma House committee earlier this week and now goes to the full House. Television News 9 in Oklahoma City began its report by acknowledging that, “A watered down version of the civil asset forfeiture bill has crossed another hurdle in the state Legislature.”

That’s because a bill to end civil asset forfeiture outright had already failed in the Senate. The currently pending legislation requires that citizens who sue to recover their property and win be awarded their legal fees.

It’s progress . . . but still not justice enough.

Late last month, Wyoming’s Gov. Matt Mead signed reform legislation mandating that there be a probable cause hearing before the legal forfeiture process can begin. Good. But that was after Gov. Mead vetoed a better bill, which stopped all official, convictionless snatching of stuff.

Police taking people’s stuff without having to prove a crime must be ended altogether, abolished. That means we better stop waiting for politicians. Instead, petition this important principle directly to the people — use ballot initiatives in cities and states across the country.

No time like the present.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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civil asset forfeiture, police, abuse, robbery, Common Sense


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  1. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    Great comments and hopefully more states will look at this travesty. i Remember a long ago meeting at an LP convention with the early people in FEAR Even most of the libertarians at the time were unaware of this evil practice. Write more on this issue!!!!!!
    Many people do ot know it even exists.

  2. JFB says:

    Civil forfeiture is an abomination and should  be abhorrent to a nation which which bans a taking of life. liberty or property without due process of law.  The burden should NEVER be on the citizen, and the standard should be should be “beyond a reasonable doubt” as such forfeitures are clearly related to criminal prosecutions and punishment.  Stalin, Mao and Hitler would be proud of the progress in the American society.
    Policing for profit is without doubt a practice with many, many detrimental “unintended” consequences. 

  3. Brian Wright says:

    There are no words to express my literal hatred for those who persist in legislating and participating in the atrocity of legal stealing; it is an affront to human conscience and dignity. It is also a violation of American First Principles enshrined in the Declaration, and those who do participate or have participated in any way must be brought before fully empowered citizens’ grand juries, indicted, be convicted at trial, and each sent to prison for decades for each offense. Let’s make that happen this year.

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