Sarah Stillman: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture : The New Yorker
Jay Jamison stashed this in Politics
Stashed in: New Yorker
This is ridiculous and unconstitutional.
<Forfeiture in its modern form began with federal statutes enacted in the nineteen-seventies and aimed not at waitresses and janitors but at organized-crime bosses and drug lords. Law-enforcement officers were empowered to seize money and goods tied to the production of illegal drugs. Later amendments allowed the seizure of anything thought to have been purchased with tainted funds, whether or not it was connected to the commission of a crime. Even then, forfeiture remained an infrequent resort until 1984, when Congress passed the Comprehensive Crime Control Act. It established a special fund that turned over proceeds from forfeitures to the law-enforcement agencies responsible for them. Local police who provided federal assistance were rewarded with a large percentage of the proceeds, through a program called Equitable Sharing. Soon states were crafting their own forfeiture laws.
Revenue gains were staggering. At the Justice Department, proceeds from forfeiture soared from twenty-seven million dollars in 1985 to five hundred and fifty-six million in 1993. (Last year, the department took in nearly $4.2 billion in forfeitures, a record.) The strategy helped reconcile President Reagan’s call for government action in fighting crime with his call to reduce public spending. In 1989, Attorney General Richard Thornburgh boasted, “It’s now possible for a drug dealer to serve time in a forfeiture-financed prison after being arrested by agents driving a forfeiture-provided automobile while working in a forfeiture-funded sting operation.”>
There were stories back in the 90's of law enforcement literally seeding (throwing marijuana seeds) into vehicles they wanted for their own.
It feels like America is on the cusp of a sea of change.
The abuses have gotten too large to ignore, and the lawmakers will have to deal with it.
Lawmakers created this mess to begin with. I think we, the people need to deal with it.