A Solution For Dealing With Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse

Musings of your humble servant

As I noted early in the presidential process in 2015, I believed civil asset forfeiture was a good subject for the 3 or 4 serious presidential candidates to focus on. And a public that is justifiably suspicious (at best) of the meddling nature of the federal leviathan? Well, they would almost certainly find civil asset forfeiture reform to be of interest to them as well.

Image result for civil asset forfeiture

I suggest stricter rules are needed in this area. However, the importance of removing any temptation to harass citizens without just cause for doing so is also needed. The only targets for civil asset forfeiture as a rule should be folks who are formally charged with a crime. The principle here is simple: the government has no business meddling in the affairs of private citizens. To dissuade government agents from violating this principle, there should be an appropriate penalty so here is what I suggest:

If someone not formally charged with a crime has assets seized, the government should reimburse them 300% and whomever screwed up either gets fired or (at a minimum) a 50% pay cut!

The benefit of the doubt should always lay with private citizens along with the presumption of innocence, not with the government and its agents “erect[ing]a multitude of New Offices, and send[ing] hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.”{2} And as the only way meddling bureaucrats will learn is to be given sufficient penalties to dissuade them from abusing their functions, the aforementioned ones should suffice.

Every rule admits of exceptions however. I would also be willing to consider seizing the assets of any federal agent who seizes the assets of any person not formally charged with a crime. The latter assets could then be sold at public auction. This would strongly discourage any federal agents from being too zealous to seize anyone’s assets without just cause.

Notes:

{1} Yes, most of the candidates who ran were clowns!

{2} Cf. Declaration of Independence. 

About Shawn McElhinney 13 Articles
I call fair balls and strikes on all subjects I write on. I do not believe in spin nor do I believe in being a slappie for any person or cause -even those causes I happen to generally agree with. I write from a predominantly conservative point of view but I am not wedded to conservatism and when I view it as wrong or lacking on an issue, I will where applicable say so. I am also a longtime Independent voter and while being an Independent is all the rage now after the last election season, to paraphrase that great western philosopher Barbara Mandrell: I was Independent, when Independent was not cool.

3 Comments

  1. I like your article.

    however, sadly as a result of public school systems you merely tell of your opinion, but do not point out something which has been around since 1792.

    which states that nothing can be taken from a citizen without due process.

    now, the typical person seisure happens … ARE guilty as sin, and looking at prison time. so they don’t have time to dispute the seisure.

    • [sadly as a result of public school systems you merely tell of your opinion,]

      #AdHominemFallacy

      [but do not point out something which has been around since 1792.]

      We are not discussing lawful forfeiture here so why do I need to go into the latter? What is being discussed is civil forfeiture abuse.

      [which states that nothing can be taken from a citizen without due process.]

      But folks have assets seized from them without being charged with a crime, it happens quite often, and has been increasing over the decades. You would do well to look into this matter further. Here is a link you may find of interest:

      http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/311762-george-will-presses-sessions-on-civil-asset-forfeiture

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