Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Watcha Gonna Do?

civil asset forfeiture, forfeiture, police, abuse, theft, Trump, corruption, incentives, illustration, money, cops

At a White House meeting last week between President Trump and law enforcement officials, a Texas sheriff raised a concern about legislation introduced by a state senator to require a conviction before police could take someone’s property.

Mr. Trump asked for that senator’s name, adding, “We’ll destroy his career.” The room erupted with laughter.

“That joke by President Trump,” Fox News’s Rick Schmitt said on Monday, “has the libertarian wing of the Republican Party raising their eyebrows, instead of laughing.”

Not to mention the civil libertarians in the Democratic Party and the Libertarian Party itself.

Civil asset forfeiture, as we’ve discussed, allows police to take people’s cash, cars, houses and other stuff without ever convicting anyone of a crime — or even bringing charges. The person must sue to regain their property.

Lawyers aren’t free.

Two bedrock principles are at stake:

  1. that innocent-until-proven-guilty thing, and
  2. Our right to property.

Since police departments can keep the proceeds of their seizures, they’re incentivized to take a break from protecting us — to, instead, rob us.

“Our country is founded on liberties,” offered Jeanne Zaino, a professor at Ionia College. “[G]overnmental overreach is not something that is natural for Republicans to embrace.”

Schmitt acknowledged that “Libertarians would hate this. They don’t want big government. But they don’t have a lot of pull.”

Libertarian-leaning Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Justin Amash are trying to end civil forfeiture, but the president will likely veto their legislation.*

Let’s not wait. Activists in three Michigan cities put the issue on last November’s ballot and won. You can, too.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


* reported that, “Trump signaled he would fight reforms in Congress, saying politicians could ‘get beat up really badly by the voters’ if they pursue laws to limit police authority.”

Printable PDF


By: CS Admin


  1. Mario Guillont Jr. says:

    We do need civil forfeiture in cases where organized crime is rampant, however like with privacy, law enforcement has to persuade a judge to give his/her permission for a wiretap by proving or coming up with just cause to do this. Measures must be written into law that would achieve the same thing with civil forfeiture. As of now, this is a joke in the eyes of law enforcement be it federal or local, especially local. I remember when many years ago officers of the L.A. County Sherriff Dept. raided the home of a friend of mine, who was accused od selling drugs. They scared the daylights out of his family forcing them, including their 3 year old son to face down on the floor, while the place was ransacked, looking for drugs. My friend was arrested and I bailed him out of jail. When he was got to the jail he gave the jailer all that he had on him, plus about $700 to $800. That was the RENT money he had just taken out of the bank. The charges were dropped, but he got back his belongings, except the rent money. He never saw that again…………………this has been going on for decades within law enforcement, …..and you wonder why, among other things, that they do not get the respect many of the officers in the street need and deserve, nor are they believed when there is a shooting.

    The other form of civil forfeiture is in the issuance of tickets for purposes of revenue enhancement, but then that’s another story, and another fish to fry.

    • Paul Jacob says:

      Charge a crime and convict the person and then police can pursue “criminal asset forfeiture.” There should be no civil asset forfeiture, which by definition means no crime has been proven to gave occurred.

  2. George Parker says:

    I will not vote for Trump again if contuines to support this practice. It is also one of the reasons I dropped out of the Republican Party after 43 years,

  3. Doug Hornig says:

    We have a Congress that will never limit abusive police power for fear of seeming “soft on crime,” and a Supreme Court whose “strict constructionists” appear totally unaware of the 14th Amendment. Or, as Mencken put it: “Our whole practical government is grounded in mob psychology and the Boobus Americanus will follow any command that promises to make him safer.”

  4. A couple decades ago, I had property seized through civil asset forfeiture, even though never arraigned, let alone convicted. My wife’s jewelry (only worth a few hundred, but important to her because it was the last thing her father gave her before he died) went into a narc’s pocket and never made it onto the report.

    My lawyer’s advice: “Don’t mention it. You’ll only make it worse.”

  5. Michael Foudy says:

    Power corrupts. I’ve been hearing horror stories on forfeiture since the early 90s when I first became aware of this abuse. 60 Minutes has even done a piece pointing out the abusive nature of the practice. It will be interesting to watch those two initiatives.

  6. Tjphn says:

    I personally know a couple, absolutely innocent of a crime committed by a relative who had their home and property seized. They lost everything in their home and cannot afford a lawyer. In my humble opinion, the judge(s) that allow this un-civil abuse should be impeached and removed from office.

  7. Drifter says:

    Asset forfeiture is a big problem but right now, with citizens involved in the criminal acts of sedition and the overthrow of a legitimately elected government, we have bigger fish to fry…

    • Wayne Harropson says:

      I agree, that is a big fish to fry, and better fried after the whale of domestic sedition is fully fried. Think of the delay as a soft Martial Law for the protection of the Republic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 Common Sense with Paul Jacob, All Rights Reserved. Back to top