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Take a look at United States v. One Ford Coupe Automobile for a start.

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)."

That quote from Justice Story is precisely why such proceedings are not a "penalty for a crime [the Government] assert[s] [someone] committed." The purpose of such proceedings is to confiscate property used for illegal purposes (so it cannot continue to be used for illegal purposes), not to punish the owners of the property. Hence why in that case they confiscated the ship "whether [the owner] be innocent or guilty."

So, at this exact moment, I had someone asking me what the difference between brackets and parenthesis was, legally, and I was able to hand them the laptop, and say "that".

baader-meinhoff or just serendipity, thanks. :)

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