The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I don't get it, which is why I'm asking here: Why is this "stop-and-seize" not considered unconstitutional? Has it just not been challenged that far yet, or is there a legal rationale that I have not heard yet?
For a small amount of money, it is not worth it to some people to invest the time and money to sue the state to get the money back. For those that can afford a lawyer and a lawsuit, there is (Constitutional) due process.
The remedy lies with the legislatures to add a criminal element, to reverse the burden of proof, and to add an interest penalty to losing agencies.
As for the article, it is a novel idea. I would think that the amount and type of official corruption would be a better indicator of a state in decline.
It is worse than that. The money is what is charged, not the person. So the money has to prove itself innocent, which is pretty much impossible. If you hire a fancy lawyer, you might be able to fight on the money's behalf.
It seems so weird that had one read it in a fictional story, it would've broken one's suspension of disbelief.
I'm not convinced you're entirely correct in saying that "the money isn't charged" either. So far as I can tell, the idea that the money is in fact being charged is an important part of the legal justification for asset forfeiture in the absence of an actual criminal conviction, or indeed actual culpability on the part of the owner. From Bennis v. Michigan (which you mentioned in another thread):
"On the Government's appeal from the Circuit Court's acquittal of the vessel, it was contended by the owner that the vessel could not be forfeited until he was convicted for the privateering. The Court rejected this contention, explaining: "The thing is here primarily considered as the offender, or rather the offence is attached primarily to the thing." Id., at 14. In another admiralty forfeiture decision 17 years later, Justice Story wrote for the Court that in in rem admiralty proceedings "the acts of the master and crew . . . bind the interest of the owner of the ship, whether he be innocent or guilty; and he impliedly submits to whatever the law denounces as a forfeiture attached to the ship by reason of their unlawful or wanton wrongs." Harmony v. United States, 2 How. 210, 234 (1844) (emphasis added)."
baader-meinhoff or just serendipity, thanks. :)
What I think causes confusion is the "innocent owner defense" where the burden is on the owner to prove that, notwithstanding that the property may be subject to forfeiture because it is illegal proceeds, the owner came by the property legitimately.
It's hard to convict you of a crime for driving around with a envelope stuffed with a lot of cash. But's it's easy to demonstrate reasons why the cash may be used for nefarious purposes.
Preponderance of the evidence is the standard burden of proof for civil cases, whatever actors are involved -- the side the wins is the side that proves that its position is most likely to be correct.
The higher (beyond a reasonable doubt) burden of proof in criminal cases exists as a safeguard because of the greater consequences to liberty of a criminal conviction.
Its the same standard used when pretty much anyone wants to use the legal system to take your money or other property via a lawsuit, so I don't think its that outrageous that it is used for civil forfeiture cases.
If we're talking about the police alleging that you have money because of criminal acts, we should switch to the criminal standard.
So, the principle on which the existing distinction is based really doesn't support it being applied to forfeiture actions.
And, while there might be a good argument for changing the principle underlying the distinction, I don't see a clear reason for applying specifically the beyond a reasonable doubt standard to forfeiture (or even a higher standard that would apply in any other civil claim.)
1. The owner decides it is not worth the hassle.
2. The government usually settles bogus seizes because they don't want case law building up over this subject.
I repeat this statistic a lot, but the solved murder rate has fallen from ~90% in the 60s to ~60% in recent years. You'd think with all our new forensic technology and lower overall murder rates it would be opposite.
I am more a fan of the whole, increase in division between community and its police leading to lack of informants among other things, idea.
The whole history of in rem actions is bonkers, as cases have titles like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Article_Consi...
A lot of decisions that seem "outrageously stupid" make more sense if you think of the Supreme Court as an umpire. The democratically-elected legislatures are supposed to make good decisions. The unelected Supreme Court should only check them if they do something egregiously against the rules. The Court should let the "game play on" if there's not a very good reason to say that a 200+ year old document trumps a state legislature's contemporary decisions.
You will of course come up with many arguments, virtually all of which I'll agree with, that asset forfeiture is "unreasonable". The problem is that other people disagree with you, and, specifically and distinctively with this particular item in the bill of rights, the court is supposed to defer to the legislature as much as it can.
It seems pretty cut and dried to me that the 4th amendment supersedes any law passed in direct opposition, just like the 1st or 2nd would. This isn't a case where the courts would be making multiple logical leaps to invalidate a law they disagree with, you can describe it in 4 words "seizure without a trial", then look at the 4th amendemnt.
Having said that, the history of 4A law suggests that the word "reasonable" in 4A connotes a mandate for unusual deference to the legislature --- and SCOTUS already tends strongly towards deference.
But the only way they will do that again is if there is public pressure. So even if a lot of people disagree with me, the proper course of action is not to shut up and take my medicine. The proper course is to keep raising hell about it.
There was a big expansion of this in 1984 pushed by Biden that more or less gave us the modern form of asset forfeiture.
And we're going to have to solve this problem at the Federal level. Many states have laws preventing police from keeping the money they seize. But the DEA is happy to take credit for the seizure, keep n% of the money, and hand the rest back to the department that did the seizing.
This whole issue would go away if seized assets were required to either be returned to the rightful owner or destroyed. If we allow police to keep what they seize, we should call it what it really is...pillaging.
In anti-trust cases damages are tripled as a deterrent, why not institute the same penalty for police? If someone wins their money back from the police they get triple what the police tried to seize.
You might say, good, that means voters will try to ensure future police don't do this shit. Which is a nice theory, but probably doesn't work out in practice.
In practice, you have small towns that can be bankrupted by a good-size suit, which is probably not a good outcome. You also have large cities that have room to minimax what they can get away with, and now all you've done is possibly deterred really egregious cases.
It gets substantially more complicated with the intersection of feds and state agencies, where (depending on the state) police are good at gaming where the money goes depending on how and what is charged by whom. (There are complicated revenue sharing arrangements between, for instance, the DEA and local cops for forfeitures.
If your hypothetical bank robber needs to be deprived of the money (and I don't think I agree, but that's a different discussion), the proper way to align incentives is to ensure the police do not see any of the money. Period. Give it back to the bank, put it in the state general fund, give it to a random orphan, burn it, whatever. But as long as the police can by shiny toys with it (conference attendance, margarita machines and outright theft have all happened), they have an incentive to push it as hard as they can.
 Giving the funds to the state still has incentive problems, but they are muted. I don't know that there's any empirical evidence if it is sufficiently muted to align police behavior with what most non-cops consider reasonable.
It's an excellent outcome. Particularly in small towns, the police strongly reflect the attitude of the people.
The problem with the direct seizures going to the cops is that the local government underfunds the overtime budget -- that affects the policeman's pocket and is a powerful motivator.
I think that to avoid bad incentives, No part of government should receive any benefit from the seizure?
To pay for the opportunity cost of the person not having access to the money for the period of time.
Also, forbidding the police from keeping the items.
No, it doesn't. An accused bank robber could be acquitted of the crime of robbery and still found liable for the tort of conversion of property, and have to pay the money back to the bank.
(Additionally, either criminal or civil forfeiture may be available against the specific money involved, only in a criminal forfeiture case would the acquittal of the defendant on the criminal charges be dispositive. Generally, as I understand it, criminal forfeiture applies to a broader and more distant class of property relations to the crime, and therefore isn't used for the types of property to which civil forfeiture could be applied.)
The police and everyone involved in the seizure belongs in jail for the term appropriate under Grand Theft statutes.
Though I think there is a case that since they are government officials, the sentences should are trebled.
As long as the victimized populaces doesn't vote for the politicians in power or is otherwise disenfranchised and poor, it's a great plan /s.
Also civil forfeiture usually ruffles conservatives as government overreach. Basically, toughness on crime came from many odd bedfellows.
For example, California popularized three strikes, a very liberal state.
The problem is that the courts have allowed cops to twist that "good reason" to the point where it is a blanket right to search anyone, any time, and steal their property. That's the abuse of what ought to be a relatively narrow exception.
 Note that this point isn't about gun control (whether you like or hate gun control). It's about someone who carried or used a gun while committing a crime, which is an entirely different beast!
Yes they should. Either they are arresting you and the gun gets processed like everything else, or they aren't arresting you and thus need a warrant to seize anything from you. If they don't have enough evidence to arrest you for the crime then they don't have enough evidence to seize the gun without a warrant.
As for whether they should ever be able to seize a gun without arresting you, I'll defer an opinion--I feel like my knowledge of the variety of cases isn't up to snuff.
"There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800."
If they're not going to charge you, they should return the gun.
The alternative is to declare "gun free" zones near the location of all gun crimes. Not sure who did it? No problem! Take everyones guns.
The 2nd amendment just says you have to be able to own and carry weapons, with a rough implication that they should be fit for military purpose. The idea that registration or quality or safety requirements are somehow unconstitutional is and has always been absurd.
~The 14th Amendment just says that blacks have equal rights to vote as whites. The idea that poll taxes or literacy tests or official intimidation while in transit to the polling places are somehow unconstitutional is and always has been... absolutely correct.~
In some counties, bearing a concealed firearm requires a permit issued by the sheriff. In some counties, the sheriffs do not issue any permits. In others, the sheriffs issue fewer permits to black people than the local demographic statistics would otherwise suggest.
Do you understand now why such subtle and apparently reasonable encroachments upon a right must be scrutinized so very closely?
No, it doesn't say that at all. You are probably thinking of the 15th Amendment, section 1 of which is "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
> The idea that poll taxes or literacy tests or official intimidation while in transit to the polling places are somehow unconstitutional is and always has been... absolutely correct
Except, not; hence the prohibition of poll taxes by the 24th Amendment, and the prohibition of literacy tests for voting in some districts by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, later amended to apply to the whole country in 1970.
(Those things have, no doubt, always been wrong; they were not, however, unconstitutional, or even prohibited federally in any form, until much later than the 15th Amendment.)
While it may seem reasonable to require a proficiency test to legally own a gun, what you will see in practice is that any possible ambiguity in the legal definition for such a test will be exploited to serve the political preference of the tester.
You're right, the laws are unconstitutional because of the tenth amendment.
Before the normal arguments about the constitution pop up, please know that I'm not a rightist and I don't support it, I just don't like it when people twist words and laws to suit their political agenda.
It shouldn't be legal, but thanks to the drug war and post-9/11 anti-terrorism politics, it's been enabled by federal legislation and rules. It needs to get challenged more in the courts on constitutional grounds, but this takes money and time, which the usual victims don't have.
Also, they (the police) further complicate things by making it a civil asset forfeiture case against the property and not a civil or criminal case against the rightful owner.
Think about it statistically. The standard is "more likely than not" the money is obtained illegally. If you pull over 100 people with large amounts of cash, what percentage obtained it illegally? If it's greater than 50%, then you can always seize the cash under that standard. You don't need to make the judgment that no one has a legitimate reason to carry that cash, just the weaker judgment that it's statistically unlikely that the cash is legitimate.
"Innocent until proven guilty" is very different from "Guilty because most people in similar situations are guilty, so let's not bother to prove it in this case."
The cops would have a field day, for instance by arresting college students at random on the weekend because statistically most will test positive for controlled substances.
The concept of "proof of innocence" does not appear in the Constitution; it derives from common law, and the Latin word it comes from doesn't mean "prove" in the mathematical sense.
Which makes sense, because "innocent until formally proven guilty" doesn't make sense in a sentence that proceeds to "beyond a reasonable doubt".
That's an interesting question, but it's not obviously greater than 50%. Honestly, I don't think it's higher than 50% at all, but certainly it isn't so clearly higher that it should be accepted without evidence.
I'm not a conspiracy nut but I can certainly see how someone who is could view this as an effort to legally coerce citizens into using only traceable methods of payment approved by commercial processors under the implication that something like cash or bitcoin would only be used by those trying to hide something.
IANAL, but I'd suspect that
the usual logic goes: Usually
a person carrying a large
amount of cash is a criminal
who got the cash illegally.
So, anyone with a large amount
of cash is likely a criminal,
and we will treat them as such.
The gap here is that the person
so treated need not have done
anything wrong and are being
prosecuted due to the crimes
I doubt that there is a law
saying that having $20,000
in cash is illegal.
if are going to
prosecute Joe, then need to
do so from something Joe did,
and prove he did it. That
most people with a lot of
cash got the cash illegally
doesn't mean that Joe
did anything illegal, and
there's no law against
having a lot of cash.
I've learned my lesson: Often
the police are enforcing
social norms and attitudes
instead of laws and are enforcing
these against people who
are not in the center of the
respectable middle class.
E.g., since I'm doing a startup,
I'm keeping down spending and
driving an old car. Since the
car still, with a lot of maintenance, is fine, I can
keep driving it.
But recently I had occasion to
go to a poor, largely Black,
section of town. On the
way out of that section,
I was followed closely by
a police car. I just
drove in a very legal and
normal way, and, by the time
I was out of that section of
town, the police car quit
following me. But, I learned
my lesson: At least with
an old car, stay the heck out
of a poor, Black area of town --
that's the real law.
More of the real law
is to participate in
church, JAYCEES, Lions,
school board, be well known
make contributions to
contribute to the Fraternal
Order of Police and any
police charity drives,
have some associated
decals on the windows of
drive a late model, family
car, dress well, no beard,
hair short, be known to the
political power structure,
etc. Be known to the police
in my neighborhood. Ah, they didn't tell me such things
in civics class.
For more, get rich and be
a very anonymous donor to
some legal efforts to
mount well funded challenges
to such highway robbery in
AFAIK, that's just basically
how things work in the US.
In some other countries,
the citizen either (A) is too
poor to have anything
anyone would want to steal
or (B) has some money and
keeps paying off the political
Apparently that we could
actually follow the Constitution
seems to be mostly a long
In the meanwhile, the power
structure wants (A) bend the
Constitution and slap down
the drug dealers, and likely
anyone else they don't like,
when anyone looks at all
suspicious just steal any of
their valuables and (B)
put up with excesses by the
police, especially since the
excesses are mostly toward
So, the real law
is, for any poor and/or Black stopped by
the police, look like the
old movie character stepin
fetchit, be passive,
act like a harmless child,
hang head, don't make eye
contact, keep hands in plain
view, make only slow motions,
and let the egotistical, bully thugs, with their dark, aviator sun glasses, SS like
uniforms with lots of
shiny metal attachements, get their jollies and let
the power structure be
happy with an orderly rhythm
to the community.
the police have wide latitude
to enforce the laws, act
as prosecutor, judge, and jury,
proscribe and execute sentences,
all on the street, based just on
anything, no charges, no due
process, nothing. So, all with
no due process at all, the police
can embarrass, insult, humiliate
innocent citizens, steal their
valuables, insert things into
their rectums and/or vaginas,
beat them with clubs,
shock them electrically,
and, for any reason or no real
reason, just shoot and kill them.
The power structure and the
police can expect that some
citizens will object.
Our Founding Fathers
understood kings, dictators,
secret police, bullies, thugs,
etc. and gave us a good
Constitution. We need to
stop making incredibly
the very clear words in the
Constitution don't mean
what they very clearly do say.
Of course, the solution is
democracy: When enough citizens
get angry enough, there will
Another solution is a lot
more video from smartphones,
dash cams, etc.
And, just now, that the
mainstream media (MSM)
likes ad revenue from
eyeballs and stories about
scandal so much, the recent
examples and video of police killing
unarmed citizens has gotten
a lot of attention.
Now in courts, commonly
a community with some police
who went way too far
gets slapped with a judgment
of several million dollars.
So, any layer of government with
a police force will need
an insurance policy, and the
rates will tend to show the
risks. A police chief whose
force causes such a several
million dollar judgment will
get to look for a new job
far from police work. Or,
money talks, and it will
be talking loud and clear
soon. And along the way,
the increased attention
may also stop the highway
It's pretty obvious that they exist, otherwise nobody would really care about murder, rape, theft, fraud, lying, etc. So the burden of proof is on those that want to limit or deny inalienable rights.
George Carlin is hilarious (at least in general), but ironically gives abusers a lot of ammunition with this argument.
You can claim a right to something and if you can get enough people to agree with you, you can enforce someone's claim on the right to something. But it's not like there's a natural force that ensures, compels, or mandates these rights.
I guess my point is that taken less cynically, rights (as we understand them) only exist in practice as long as you can demand them and have sufficient power (whether through numbers or threat of force) to keep them. The sad reality is that without the continual effort to maintain these rights, they can and will be taken away.
A lot of really well regarded philosophers throughout the ages have disagreed with that.
> I guess my point is that taken less cynically, rights... only exist [with] sufficient power
If I follow that line of thinking, justice is only an extension of power. I don't think people agree with that.
I don't believe you think that. Perhaps it's just a matter of phrasing; surely we both agree that it's important to recognize that people should never murder people. We use the word "right" because it's important to be absolute in this rule.
It's worth distinguishing between:
* life is not a right
* we don't have enough power to enforce murder laws
tl;dr To say there are no absolute rights is to say there are no absolute wrongs.
There aren't any absolute rights or wrongs, there aren't any absolute morals at all; right and wrong is always a point of view and no one can lay claim to having the absolute and only correct ones.
You are confusing legality with morality. There isn't necessarily any connection.
Perhaps meaningful in the abstract, but a meaningless distinction in practice.
> It's pretty obvious that they exist, otherwise nobody would really care about murder, rape, theft, fraud, lying, etc.
That does not follow. There are in fact people who don't care about those things; that some people do does not mean inalienable rights somehow exist as anything more than social norms.
> So the burden of proof is on those that want to limit or deny inalienable rights.
No, the burden of proof of any claim of existence is always on the one claiming something does exist; proving something doesn't exist is not logically possible as there's always somewhere you can't look (the universe is big) and thus an invalid statement not subject to the burden of proof because it's wrong to claim at all.
The concept of inalienable rights is a moral axiom accepted by some (sort of like the existence of a God with certain preferences, in fact, many conceptions of inalienable rights are specifically beliefs about the existence of a God with specific preferences); its not a material fact or a supportable conclusion.
And, of course, people who agree that inalienable rights exist disagree on what those rights are (even those that agree on the names of inalienable rights disagree on the definitions of the rights that those name attach to.)
The fact that some people care about these things establishes that those people have certain moral preferences; it doesn't establish the existence of inalienable rights (in fact, many of the people who do care about these things do so based on justifications other than inalienable rights.)
Of course, the same argument apply to the axiom that the rights don't exist.
However, there is a lot of weight to the argument that there is a common list of universally reprehensible wrongs (murder, rape, etc.). Inferring rights from those wrongs is reasonable and doesn't require much in way of explaining where they come from.
I'm not sure why people are so eager to disprove the existence of rights, to be honest. The wholesale embrace of moral nihilism seems empirically worse. Or at least, more conservatively, empirically untested and therefore risky.
Rights aren't material things, they don't exist in any external sense in any case. A "right" (in the moral, rather than legal, sense), inalienable or otherwise, is a just a statement of someone's moral preference. Clearly, these moral preferences exist in people, and, equally clearly, they differ between people.
> However, there is a lot of weight to the argument that there is a common list of universally reprehensible wrongs (murder, rape, etc.).
No, there's not. Well, I mean, sure, its tautologically true (and unsurprisingly widely accepted) that murder, in the sense of wrongful killing, is wrong.
OTOH, when you try to look for some common universal definition of when killing is wrongful, there's a lot less agreement. (The same is true of the other examples you've named, in the parent on great-grandparent posts.)
So, you've got some vague agreement that there are common names from wrongs, but the actual definitions of the wrongs with those names is different. That doesn't really support all that much of a common idea of wrongs implying a common idea of rights.
> I'm not sure why people are so eager to disprove the existence of rights, to be honest.
I'm not so interested in disproving the existence of rights as in getting people to understand that invoking the idea of "inalienable rights" doesn't really, outside of providing a rhetorical flourish, accomplish anything. Because the existence, and even moreso the definition, of those rights is not universally shared, what the invocation invariably amounts to is a circular argument where the supposedly inalienable right in question is defined in precisely the way needed to support the position the person is arguing for.
Which is perfectly convincing if you already agreed with the conclusion, but entirely unconvincing, if you did not.
"Why should we do (or refrain from doing) X? Because Y is an inalienable right and includes within its scope a mandate to do (or refrain from doing) X." Is just not a meaningful argument.
Unless the discussion is among people who have already agreed to the definition of Y being used.
We need to reframe rights as a promise to care and ability to help. As in, you can say you've got a right to free speech all you want but it's not until I stand with you that you're actually safer.
Human rights, if you must, would be the code that the average human would care about enough to fight for.
He addresses that. A right has to be granted by someone. Who grants these inalienable rights? If you answer is "God", or "they just are", your thinking is circular.
If your answer is "the government/state", you are wrong. The government/state grants you this "right", and takes it away as it pleases, so it is actually not inalienable.
TLDR; An inalienable right that is systematically violated is not very inalienable, is it?
But I've often wondered how this could stand up to constitutional muster. I believe one of the arguments is that the criminal case isn't against you, but the property that was seized from you. So if it wants to push the case, your seized $1000 can sue.
When they do run into someone with enough gumption and resources to appeal, they immediately drop the charges against the money and return it minus fees, just to prevent the creation of specific precedent against the practice.
Hanlon's Razor is bullshit, by the way.
That said, it's the prosecutors that would have to keep the case active if disputed, and there's no incentive for them, except for a possible loss in the case where police overreach is proven. That's all the reason needed to not dispute most cases if they go far enough to actually require some work from the prosecutor.
> Hanlon's Razor is bullshit, by the way.
You and I live in different world then. Obviously, some portion of our worlds is entirely in our heads and doesn't conform to reality. I suspect I'm happier in mine than I would be in yours.
"I used to assume there were people in charge who knew what they were doing, who planned how things in society should work. As I got a little older I got more cynical, believing these people were trying to keep the rest of us dumb with shoddy schooling and mind-numbing entertainment, in the hopes they could get away with whatever it is powerful people are always trying to get away with.
Then as I got even older I realized that the people in charge are as clueless as the rest of us. Like our software, our society just kind of happened over the years and it’s always on the verge of coming tumbling down. Nobody really knows what they’re doing or what they’re talking about.
If you can get over the sheer terror of that thought, it’s actually quite liberating." Nick Bradbury
Here is a brilliant John Stossel episode about this law and how it is destroying so many innocent people.
What are the mechanisms or processes by which we expect to be protected? Since this is a civil case, one would have to hire a lawyer with their own money.
Ever tried to prove that you really own the money in your wallet?
If you really want to get hairy, put the cash in an unmarked envelope and put it on the front seat of a car owned by someone other than the driver. Now prove who owns it.
The structure of asset forfeiture laws requires that the action be formally against the property. They also require both specific notice of people with specified relations to the property which indicate probable ownership, and public notice, so that any persons with ownership interests in the property can intervene in the action and have the opportunity to contest the governments claims against the property.
But my description of how it actually happens is still valid. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/06/30/why-t... for a recent case where exactly this happened. And it links to 3 other cases where money was seized from travelers, with no criminal charge ever being filed against anyone. In all 4 of these cases a person tried to board a plane, TSA finds money, seizes it, sues the money, and no case is made against the person. In none of the cases did the person get said money back. (The main conflict over where it goes in most cases is that a couple of dozen different government agencies argue about how to divide it up.)
The most unusual trait connecting these cases is that there was publicity about it. It happens so often that reporters usually don't bother to write about them.
The problem is that legal standard is that the government merely has to establish "reasonable suspicion that there was a crime", while the person has to establish "a preponderance of evidence that there was not". This reverses "innocent until proven guilty." How do you establish a preponderance of evidence that no crime happened when no specific crime was ever alleged? It is effectively impossible.
This story from a year ago on the front page establishes the shift in standards quite well: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/02/ci.... A quick summary is that a couple was indicted of a crime and successfully defended themselves. In the process the government seized a home through civil forfeiture, and the forfeiture stood because the couple was unable to prove that the crime did not happen.
(Unlike the cases that I'm describing above, in this case a specific crime was alleged. Normally the TSA just claims something like, "there was a smell of marijuana" and you have no way to prove that there wasn't.)
If the people from whom the property was seized were denied (or not notified of) their rights to contest the forfeiture action, that would be something to be upset about. I don't see why we should be upset that the government took civil action without filing criminal charges; the civil burden of proof is lower than the criminal burden of proof because things like imprisonment, execution, loss of voting rights, etc., aren't on the table with similar actions; consequently, the level of evidence with which it makes sense to initiate criminal process is different than that for which it makes sense to initiate civil process.
> The problem is that legal standard is that the government merely has to establish "reasonable suspicion that there was a crime", while the person has to establish "a preponderance of evidence that there was not".
The initial seizure proceeds based on reasonable suspicion, but the goverinnment has the burden of proof to show, by preponderance of the evidence, that the seized property is subject to forfeiture under the law.
(The owner may have the burden of proof for defenses that apply to prevent forfeiture of property that is otherwise subject to forfeiture, such as the "innocent owner" defense, where the property was subject to forfeiture because of its relation to a prohibited act, but the owner was uninvolved in the act.)
> A quick summary is that a couple was indicted of a crime and successfully defended themselves. In the process the government seized a home through civil forfeiture, and the forfeiture stood because the couple was unable to prove the crime did not happen.
Er, no. What that source reports on is not that at all. It reports on the couple being indicted of a crime, and, as a consequence of the indictment, property that would (according to the government) be forfeitable under criminal forfeiture (which has the criminal burden of proof) being seized so that it would be preserved. The couple, arguing that the seizure order was overly broad, sought a hearing on whether the seizure was in error, arguing that the broad seizure impaired their right to counsel of their choosing for the criminal trial; this is what the Supreme Court turned down.
This isn't a case about civil forfeiture (the original seizure was to protect civil forfeiture, but the appeal was about the broader seizure under the superceding indictment which was to protect assets targeted for criminal forfeiture), it doesn't address a target acquitted of a crime and where forfeiture still occurred (this does happen in civil forfeiture, but this isn't an example), and it doesn't have anything to do with the owner not being able to prove a crime didn't happen.
I believe that this long ago crossed the line to being actually used as civil rights abuse.
On this case, you're mostly right. The seizure happened under civil forfeiture law, a the second paragraph of The Economist article makes that clear. So this really is a question about civil forfeiture law. But it is tied to a potential criminal civil forfeiture.
The initial seizure happened because property was targetted for civil forfeiture, the expanded seizure happened because property was targetted for criminal forfeiture, the request for a pre-trial hearing (which was denied leading to the series of appeals that ultimately reached the Supreme Court) was for a challenge to the criminal forfeiture action.
The question addressed in the Supreme Court case was about criminal, not civil forfeiture.
This type of aggressive policing (excessive jaywalking tickets) was also happening in Ferguson.
We know how that turned out...
Sarah Stillman's article for the New Yorker, Taken, is particularly good, as well as depressing: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/08/12/taken
Bitcoin and other engineering efforts, however, have great potential.
I think Elinor Ostrom (the only female recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics to date) provides a much more useful framework for evaluating institutional design. In some cases centralization works and in others decentralization is preferable, but a very important component that gets left out of Morris' dichotomy is the role that jurisdictional overlap plays in forcing centralized and decentralized institutions to compete against each other and ultimately provide better outcomes than either could independently.
I'll also observe that you probably had to spend cash on a lawyer in order to prove your innocence.
Where we could redirect the money that it didn't cause problems is an interesting question, and I'm not sure I know of an answer that doesn't create other considerable problems.
The Peace of Westphalia, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Westphalia, "… was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October 1648 … established … a new system of political order in central Europe, later called Westphalian sovereignty, based upon the concept of co-existing sovereign states … General recognition of the exclusive sovereignty of each party over its lands, people, and agents abroad, and responsibility for the warlike acts of any of its citizens or agents. Issuance of unrestricted letters of marque and reprisal to privateers was forbidden."
Cash and other legal property should not be seized without a warrant though.
As developers and engineers we should come up with a technology to force issue on things like this. I'm pretty tired of reading a story like this and feeling helpless to change it,
There's your problem. Why are you electing people? That's completely backwards. Electing people is allocating labor and incurring production costs without evaluating demand signals. It is ideas that must be debated and voted on, and have people fill in to execute them. Only by having information on what policy is desired will you able to properly apportion the production costs and allocate the representative labor in fulfilling said policy. Otherwise you suffer from principal-agent problems in having to trust proxies to execute their ideas, with the proxies you are capable of electing being highly limited in their ideological diversity by result of optimizing for the wrong information.
Not to mention unjust internment already occurred despite representative democracy (in fact directly emanating from elected executive power), that of Italians, Germans and Japanese during WWII. Let's also not discount land law acts and a host of other attacks on civil liberties.
And are we not just relying on elected leaders not doing horrible things anyway?
In a direct democracy, the mob only needs 51% of the referendum. In representative government, a minority of representatives can prevent disastrous legislation from happening, through the threat of filibuster or by holding a more valuable (to the opposition) bill hostage.
In 2009 when Democrats held a Congressional majority, they didn't get everything they wanted. Now in 2015, Republicans hold a Congressional majority, they still don't get everything they wanted. Whichever side you're on, you must admit that these checks prevented the "bad guys" from prevailing.
The Twitter platform is at best necessary but not sufficient for its effects. But lots of things are in the same boat. All basic utilities are required for twitter to work, but you wouldn't credit food, waste, and electric companies for such things. And at worst, Twitter isn't even necessary.
A good book that talks about this is "The Locus Effect"
How are you inclined to find for the accused?
Obviously I'm not serious in what I wrote above. The serious point I want to make is that this is one of the many unintended side-effects of the whole 'lower taxes for the sake of lower taxes' movement. Don't say I didn't warn ya.
Another problem is when (usually) black America sees a police boot on someone's face, and notes that statistically it's usually a black face, and their instinct is to say, "Well, I guess it was because he was black." When confronted with stories where the face is white, they say nothing.
This breaks my heart. We should never allow a police boot on anyone's face for any reason. The police are public servants, our servants, there to keep the peace, and stop violence from happening. They are not the punishers - that is the role of the court. They are not above the law - they need to hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct. The police should be the best of us, but instead we get low-to-average intelligence physically large men who can keep themselves clean and fit, fill out basic paperwork, and who can follow orders. Emboldened by the attitudes of white, middle-class women that "cracking heads" is a sign of order, also a sign of machismo, and absent any authority to stop it, it continues, and it gets worse.
Now, cops go out on a disturbance call, escalate it to violence, and then they 'hurt the bad guys' - cracks some heads, throw 'em in jail. The cop moves on, but 'the bad guys' keep getting hurt, in local lock up, by a justice system that will never hear their case, and then for years by a privatized penal system that takes every economic and social advantage of the prisoner that it legally can.
What we have now is a police force whose individual instinct and unmet need for "respect" (actually, dominance) drives their decisions. No-one can stop them. The police have each other's backs. The judiciary has the backs of the police. And the voters are split between two very different, very wrong reactions to the problem - which takes back seat to things like "the economy" and "abortion" in every election.
Right now, the best we can do is tell the stories of the people who've been harmed by the police. We need to focus on white, middle-class people, to address both mistaken instincts. We need to fund independent police-malpractice commissions with real teeth, to investigate allegations of wrong-doing. More than anything, we need to reform the way police work is done, making it illegal, for example, for a uniformed cop to coerce a suspect, to lie about the law, or to escalate a situation. We need a "broken windows" policy applied to the police where even small breaches of policy - words of disrespect, for example - trigger a reprimand. We need to ask ourselves why cops swarm on every encounter with a citizen, why they have their hand on their gun when they walk up to your car, why they beat people up so much and get away with it.
This is nonsense that you're using to generate a false equivalence. White American media has absolutely no interest in what black people have to say about anything but black, race-related issues. An (assumed by me) claim that lack of media coverage proves that individual black people aren't saying anything about incidents of police abuse of white people is offensive. Without that claim, it's just completely made up. Letting it go may save your poor heart some sorrow.
> But somehow, I don't think so.
Reason by whimsy?
They are public servants, but not "our servants" - such a possessive pronoun implies the police are obligated to protecting individuals comprising a populace. They are not (Castle Rock v. Gonzales). Rather, they exist to enforce some relative order as defined by a state entity in the jurisdiction the police is beholden to. As a result, they enforce policies favorable to a state, not to a community. If the latter was the goal, then policing would be a decentralized per-neighborhood activity with rules of conduct set by the neighborhood or community. In practice, this means police forces fundamentally must operate through a system of fear, intimidation and coercion in their enforcing of standards that are non-negotiable by the subordinate community. It should then come as no surprise they are increasingly militarized, since their structure lends itself to paramilitary.
Police forces then are optimized precisely for people who are not "the best of us", since there is no particular requirement for anything but systematized and mechanical use of intimidation to control populations and curtail protests.
Technologies ability to record interactions and play them back later has already had a (positive) impact on police behavior, and I can only see that getting better.
I also think that technology will revolutionize the justice system - I've been thinking a lot about what a distributed, remote jury trial system would look like, especially when there is excellent sensor data surrounding any contentious event.
If police/municipalities can't profit from forfeiture and have to pay real costs for exercising it, it will disappear.
Take Afghanistan for example. It is a nation at a major geographic crossroads that truly acts as a set of tribes and alliances, not a Westphalian-style state that is Westerners think ought to be the standard. That's why no matter how much "nation building" we do, nothing succeeds.
Instead, as McFate argues, we should have mercenaries prevent groups like al Qaeda from using that space to plan attacks on American soil, instead of spending political capital on forever wars. Mercenaries will be seen as a foreign defense mechanism against terrorism, like what we see the TSA doing at home. (Disagree with their tactics all you want, but they have stopped some bombings).
The principle of sovereignty is more important than placating America's paranoia, regardless of whether people think that a country is too disorganized to deserve the right to not have other countries airdropping their soldiers into it.
National militaries are there to solve problems, but in the long run, only mercenaries can contain them.
It's not just America either. Ethiopia and Kenya would be much better off paying mercenaries that keep somalia's disfunction and terrorism at bay. You can fly in, bomb, invade, whatever, but eventually it becomes a politically unsustainable war.
Mercenaries are just an expense, and they know it.
Afghanistan has had problems for some time, but Libya and Iraq both functioned as nations before ill-advised adventurism on the part of Western powers. This "list goes on" shit is particularly chilling to those who value peace, life, and national solvency. What other functioning nations must be broken to feed the military-industrial complex?
Let keep the picture clear: ill-advised by the USA. It was the USA who wanted the conflicts and did everything in their power to 'persuade' their allies to bomb along.
It was all lies and just see what we got in return.
With respect to Libya, memories seem suspiciously short. For a long time Obama was uninterested in Libyan regime change. (I suspect because the generals were so sure it would be easy, which set off alarm bells, but none of that was ever made public.) For personal reasons that no one could discern, "French celebrity philosopher" Bernard-Henri Lévy was rabidly pro-war, and lobbied constantly for it. For reasons that probably make sense if one is French, both the French public and Nicolas Sarkozy found his case convincing enough to take the lead and let the USA "follow". (That lasted about a week, because France, but whatever.)
Even if that might be seen by some as a valid argument for violating the sovereignty of those (non-)states, it remains entirely orthogonal to the question of wether the intervening forces should be private sector or public. The only connection is that an (alleged) anarchy zone is the only place where the extralegal nature of private sector violence can be glossed over.
The author is literally a solution looking for a problem and abusing the most troubled places on earth as an excuse to turn military grade violence into a business.
In fact mercenaries seem to encourage terrorism because they tend to be responsible for abuses and unlawful killings on foreign soil. Mercenaries were responsible for a lot of the abuses that happened in Iraq.
And I how you get to the parallel between the TSA and merceneries is beyond me. The TSA are government employees strictly subject to the law and with very limited powers. What in the world do they have to do with mercenaries?
Genuine question, because I have a casual interest here, but don't claim exhaustive knowledge - can you cite examples?
Kevin Brown in 2008 was arrested for carrying bomb-making components, but a later FBI report found that he was carrying no initiators, explosives, or explosive devices.
Am I missing any other cases?
The TSA is killing people and without trial at that?
Thats like believing GMO corn is good based on a book by Monsato. Or that fracking is good based on a book by some company that builds fracking equipment
Anything else is bias no different than the kind you're trying to point at Monsanto or XYZ fracking company.
But it isn't, the right is dying, it's a party largely made up of old white people and rich people. They've gained power by gerrymandering to hide the fact that the population is growing ever more liberal every year.
What country do you live in? Surely it can't be the US, who has been enacting very leftist policies for a while now, who has had a leftist president for almost eight years now, whose youth is advocating for a self-identified "democratic socialist" for president, and the country where the most popular republican candidate by far is a centrist RINO.
If you believe it's heading right, I would love to see your arguments, or you can choose to stay at the kids table and continue calling people names.
Rejecting the fact that a red team vs blue team dynamic exists is denying the political reality of the time. I used the term RINO because it accurately describes Trump, a centrist who is using the R next to his name as a way to get more votes rather than an indication of his beliefs.
Yes let's do that. We're anarchists after all, so we're allowed to step back and see the forest. D gets elected, the government spends more money, some oppressed group becomes slightly less so, the rest of us become slightly more so, we bomb some benighted Asian locale. R gets elected, the government spends more money, some oppressed group becomes slightly less so, the rest of us become slightly more so, we bomb some benighted "developing" locale. D gets elected...
This is literally every presidential administration in my lifetime and in my parents' lifetimes. What "dynamic" could possibly merit attention, which changes so little?
here's the web site by the people who gave the talk (the paper is downloadable from the right margin) http://ij.org/report/policing-for-profit/
1) There are always drugs when property is seized this way. I review every single civil forfeiture in a rather large county, and the affidavits officers submit read something like: "I stopped Bob after an informant purchased a large amount of heroin from Bob, Bob had syringes, heroin, weed, a scale for weighing drugs etc... on his person, and a rolled up wade of bills". The money is then seized as proceeds of prohibited conduct.
2) IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO CONTEST A CIVIL FORFEITURE. The defendant is given a single piece of paper, that is insanely easy to understand, and simply has to sign the paper saying the forfeited property is not proceeds of a crime. They then have to appear in court, before a judge, and demonstrate this fact. The bar is not high, but I have never once seen this happen.
3) The money does not all go directly to the seizing agency. Much of it goes towards drugs programs, oversight for civil forfeitures, and other programs. See, for example: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/131A.360
Perhaps at the federal level things work very differently and the process is abused, but every time I see these articles it really feels like an anomaly of a story is used to paint an entire program as being demonic, with little to no data to back up the conclusion.
edited for clarity, the statutory language is "prohibited conduct" not "criminal activity"
Which county is that, and is your county representative of all counties in the US?
> the affidavits officers submit read something like: "I stopped Bob after an informant purchased a large amount of heroin from Bob, Bob had syringes, heroin, weed, a scale for weighing drugs etc... on his person, and a rolled up wade of bills". The money is then seized as proceeds of criminal activity.
If that's usually the case, why wasn't Bob arrested? In your scenario, he had illegal drugs in his possession, so an arrest seems more appropriate than a simple seizure.
I think most the criticism of "stop and seize" stems from the the cases where a seizure was made without an arrest, perhaps under a dubious theory like "cash == drug money".
> IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO CONTEST A CIVIL FORFEITURE
> saying the forfeited property is not proceeds of a crime. They then have to appear in court, before a judge, and demonstrate this fact. The bar is not high, but I have never once seen this happen.
Lets say Bill, who is unbanked, wants to buy a car. He saved the money for it in cash under his mattress, and now has $3000. He's transporting it, and a cop pulls him over, thinks "CASH == DRUG MONEY" and seizes it.
How exactly does Bill go about demonstrating to the court that his money was not proceeds of a crime, are they just going to take him at his word? What if he employed irregularly or informally or doesn't meticulously keep his receipts? What if he physically can't make it to court? What if he's just not smart enough to make an articulate argument and is too poor to hire a lawyer?
Multnomah County, Oregon (I cited to our state statute though... most that I have seen are very similar). Seizure law is either State or Federal.
> If that's usually the case, why wasn't Bob arrested? In your scenario, he had illegal drugs in his possession, so an arrest seems more appropriate than a simple seizure.
Bob usually is arrested. Bob often pleas out, rats out his friends and is not charged, or occasionally is arrested and not charged because the DAs office is overworked as it is. The civil forfeiture is entirely separate from the criminal proceedings. I agree though: for example, the young man that was on the train a while back who had a large amount of money on his person should not have had it seized. That was absurdly bogus. But, as far as I can tell, that was an anomaly.
> Lets say Bill, who is unbanked, wants to buy a car. He saved the money for it in cash under his mattress, and now has $3000. He's transporting it, and a cop pulls him over, thinks "CASH == DRUG MONEY" and seizes it.
First, Bill would have to have drugs on him, at least in the State of Oregon, and most states. That is what constitutes "prohibited conduct" under the seizure statutes. Also, having a bank account does not matter. This is a civil case, so Bill would just appear in court and prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the money is not from drugs. He could say "I have a job, this is my savings" or "my grandmother gave me $3,000 to buy a car." No need for loads of evidence - opposing counsel likely cannot refute anything he says. A judge would then order his money returned. It is that simple. Also, if the seizing officer did not have probable cause to believe the funds were proceeds of prohibitive conduct to begin with the judge would return the monies.
Caveat - I think I sound super pro-seizure here, but with all the bad stuff the government does it bugs me when something like this gets blown out of proportion. I guess you can argue that keeping proceeds of drug dealing is alright - usually it is cocaine, heroin, and meth - but this all feels very tin-foil-hatty from the perspective of someone who reviews civil forfeitures every day. I could also be jaded by living where I do - our court system and police seem to be behave themselves well compared to the rest of the country.
addition: there are other portions of the statutes that allow for seizure of profits from other conduct, like if you subject someone to indentured servitude, but these portions of the statute are seldom, if ever, used to seize funds or property. I am honestly not sure why.
Bill, being unbanked, does not have the benefit of bank paper trails to prove where his money came from if challenged. It's also the reason that he to keeps, transports, and transacts with cash.
Being a banked white person, almost all of my money has a paper trail closely associated with it. If I ever have a wad of cash, I can point to records showing where I got it.
So, being banked or unbanked matters here, since it speaks to the existence of 3rd party evidence that can be use to back up claims about the source of the money.
> No need for loads of evidence - opposing counsel likely cannot refute anything he says. A judge would then order his money returned. It is that simple.
What if he can't show up in court for whatever reason? He loses his sized cash, right?
Someone made a good point upthread: these seizures end up reversing the traditional burden of proof: they money is assumed to be "guilty" until proven "innocent" (even if that burden of proof is really low). If someone has their money seized, the burden of proof should be on the state to connect them to a crime and charge them to justify the seizure, if it can't do that, the state should hand-deliver the money back to the person it was seized from.
I simply don't believe, based on what I've read in the past, that the presence of drugs is a prerequisite for peoples' money to be stolen by police.
We fought a revolution over this sort of garbage and enshrined the presumption of innocence as a core principle in our constitution.
How about we seize all of your assets, give you a "single piece of paper" to enter a not guilty plea, then force you to prove in court that these powers are not widely misused. "The bar is not high", but somehow I doubt you would succeed.
"As he describes his job, he looks through the newspapers and looks at the Internet, looking for news stories of properties that might be forfeitable and brings them to the attention of the U.S. attorney"
This seems like anecdotal evidence to me. Moreover, police officers do lie on signed police reports (it's happened to me). Were you present during Bob's arrest?
> I have a job
So, if I have a job paying $20k/year and I have $2k in my pocket would that be a sufficient reason for having said currency?
> My grandmother gave me $2,000 for rent and necessaries
Would my grandmother have to appear before a judge as well? What if the court date was scheduled 3 weeks after my arrest? I'd probably be evicted out of my home by the time I ever saw a judge.
Plenty of examples of potentially innocent citizens being effected by this tactic. Heck, there's even an entire website dedicated to it: http://endforfeiture.com/ - Plenty of data there.
Regarding point 3, part of the problem, too, is that the federal government engages in sharing programs with local agencies. So if most of the money from a local-level forfeiture does not go back to the agency, the agency has a strong incentive to bring the feds into it because then they will keep a considerably larger fraction of the proceeds.
Strictly speaking, the government has the burden of proof (not the property owner) in forfeiture cases, but the burden is the usual civil burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence) because it is a civil action, not the criminal burden of proof (beyond a reasonable doubt). This is one reason forfeiture (and other civil remedies, where available) might be pursued in a case where criminal charges would not be, the burden of proof is lower.
> Perhaps at the federal level things work very differently and the process is abused
No, the main abuse due to federal law hasn't been by the feds, its by local agencies using provisions of federal law allowing them to keep the proceeds of federal-law based seizures when the state law those agencies deal with requires state law seizures to go to the state general fund, which provides much less incentive for law enforcement agencies to abuse seizure powers as a revenue source.
Nope. Several years ago the FBI stole $6M in Platinum, Gold and Silver. Some of the theft was of protected political speech-- literally copper & silver pieces with Ron Paul's picture and a campaign slogan on them. No allegations of drugs was involved, and the criminality claim -- that using gold and silver as barter threatened to undermine the US dollar -- was absurd on its face.
> IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO CONTEST A CIVIL FORFEITURE.
BS. The $6M in precious metals was melted down (reducing its value actually) and sold off to the profit of the FBI, despite a very large and expensive legal effort to try and reclaim the money. The owners of the assets were never convicted of a crime.
> The money does not all go directly to the seizing agency. Much of it goes towards drugs programs, oversight for civil forfeitures, and other programs.
IT's still theft.
Where does the author think the funding comes from in the normal situation? It's confiscated from the populace just the same. What is this elusive property of the government that makes it not a self-funding gang which is not present in any part of the government (e.g. police in this case) but present in the whole?
Obviously the latter is much more dangerous, because there's a self-reinforcing cycle where the police spend their entire time stealing, instead of doing their government-defined jobs.
Indirection is important. It allows someone to give you goals that are productive, otherwise you would just steal from your employer instead of working for them (so they would give you money).
That's completely different from have arbitrary amounts of cash confiscated from you at arbitrary times.
Does it mean the lawmakers and higher-ups in the executive branch are not sane people?
(Seriously, what kind of response are you expecting? There are so many assumptions built in to your question that you're basically asking for a summary of political philosophy).
Most people don't regard taxation as a violation of property rights.
Except that's...not happening, in one of the largest, and without doubt the most powerful, "democracies" in the world. Police do take away your property willy-nilly in the USA without trial.
Does this mean we get to stop paying taxes?
Because these people are not egotistical, anti-social assholes, but contribute their share to society instead.
Beyond that, categorizing anything as "inherently legitimate" is fraught with peril. One could perhaps surmise that all things are legitimate within a democracy, but so long as the favors of the majority come at the expense of the minority, that claim is disputable.
Beyond that, I don't really know that Rousseau's contract would invalidate a North Korean government as it exists, and North Korean citizenship precludes the option of defection.
The biggest flaw I see with the assertion that "if you want to live here, you agree to pay taxes" is that there's no opt-out policy in America as it is. If you object to the taxation, and wish to opt out, your only path is expatriation, with its associated expatriation taxes.
And yes "inherently legitimate" was a poor phrase to choose.
And I believe many founders leaned heavily on Rousseau's work. Hamilton and Madison particularly in the Federalist Papers.
And which is inherently fallacious, even going against Rousseau. Slavery as an institution was systemically agreed upon by the institution. There is no inherent legitimacy in violating the liberties of others, and while I agree that any such comparison is flawed, agreeing on slavery as an institution is no more or less legitimate due to populist demand than the insistence of taking some people's money and giving it to others.
Are there benefits? Undoubtedly; but even something mathematically proven as "good" (as if we could do such a thing) is not necessarily legitimate, however well founded the idea or the intent. That said, this is all philosophical, to be sure, but since we're waxing, may as well get fully waxed. (Don't ask me what that means, cause I have no idea.)
> And I believe many founders leaned heavily on Rousseau's work
No argument there.
Constitution, Article 1, Section 2, and Section 3, in their first paragraphs clearly define the legislative branch as a representative democracy.
But humans are notorious for allowing emotional concerns, religious beliefs, and simple self-interest override logic.
Maybe they just don't like the reverse-lottery aspect of funding the government. Rather than a lucky person getting a windfall from the government, an unlucky person loses everything to it. You can avoid the lottery by not buying tickets, but the only way to avoid the anti-lottery is by not having anything to steal. For most people, that would be a pretty miserable existence.
People want to believe that their government exists to serve their interests. They may be more upset that the government is spoiling the illusion of fairness--that the government is doing all this publicly--than the fact that the government is doing it at all. Because as bad as they might have it now, if there is a rebellion, the new boss might, in fact, be worse than the old boss.
So now, instead of being able to drive 60 mph in a 55 mph zone without being molested, they swap out the signs for 45 mph, you get pulled over for driving 46 mph, the officer "smells marijuana" when you open your window, and you lose your car. You get the ticket thrown out because the limit was still 55, despite the change of signage, but the judge rules that the cops still have reasonable cause to stop you, search your car, and seize it, because you were still driving faster than what the signs said.
Of course, the same could happen if you vote to increase funding.
The police are servants of the legislature, not the citizenry. You can't fire or demote someone who doesn't work for you.
I suppose one problem with confiscation vs. taxation involves incentives. Taxation incentivizes governments to create healthy economies to increase revenue whereas confiscation incentivizes police forces to violate property rights arbitrarily.
Another problem at present is there is much less oversight of confiscation than of taxation and maybe confiscation is less predictable than taxation.
Thats... quite a fundamental difference.
In practice, the average person has no say over who is ruling them.