11 Nov 2014

Police Can Seize And Sell Assets Even When The Owner Broke No Law : The Two-Way

You don't have to be convicted of a crime — or even accused of one — for police to seize your car or other property. It's legal. Several videos online are shedding some light on the controversial practice.

The practice is called civil asset forfeiture, and every year it brings cities millions of dollars in revenue, which often goes directly to the police budget. Police confiscate cars, jewelry, cash and homes they think are connected to crime. But the people these things belong to may have done nothing wrong.

In one video posted by The New York Times, Harry S. Connelly, the city attorney of Las Cruces, N.M., gleefully describes how the city collects these "little goodies," calling it a "gold mine." 

He describes to a roomful of local officials from across the state how Las Cruces police officers waited outside a bar for a man they hoped would walk out drunk because they "could hardly wait" to get their hands on his 2008 Mercedes, which they then hoped to put up for auction.

"We could be czars," he tells the room. "We could own the city. We could be in the real estate business."

It is legal for law enforcement agencies to take property from people who haven't been convicted of a crime.

Ezekiel Edwards, director of the criminal law reform project at the ACLU, tells NPR you don't even have to be charged with a crime.

"That's one of the surprising things to people," Edwards says. "It's also what makes it so rife for abuse."

The concept is that police are, in theory, bringing charges against the property. They are saying this property is being used in the furtherance of a crime. That's why, Edwards says, the cases are titled U.S. v. $4,000. Or U.S. v. White Cadillac.

Prosecutors say the seizures are helpful tools to combat drug dealers and drunken drivers. But for people who haven't committed a crime, the cases are expensive to contest and often disproportionately affect people without means or access to a lawyer.

Read more:http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/11/10/363102433/police-can-seize-and-sell-assets-even-when-the-owner-broke-no-law


  1. THAT is the price of having a Constitution which only adheres to COMMON LAW instead of NATURAL LAW.

    Natural Law states we have Absolute and Inherent NATURAL RIGHTS to LIFE, LIBERTY and PROPERTY Ownership

  2. I don't know why anyone can say this is legal with a straight face. It's obviously completely unconstitutional. Just as a reminder, here's what it says: "...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or PROPERTY [my emphasis] without due process of law...". Just taking it because they can get away with it would only pass for due process in the most corrupt Third World dictatorship, which is apparently the level America has sunk to.

  3. This is a clear example of taking property without due process and regardless of whether our founding documents adhere to common law or natural law it is now well documented that civil asset forfeiture is wrong, anti-constitutional and is corrupting law enforcement agencies nation-wide, while fueling the militarization of the police and the destruction of the concept of peace officers vs code enforcement revenue generators. It's no wonder that respect for the police is low. The argument that civil asset forfeiture is needed to combat crime is the same appeal that tyrants always make; "You need to give up your rights so that we can protect you." Agenda for the next election - Eliminate civil asset forteiture and vote out the trough-feeders that support it!