The 4th Amendment declares that citizens have a right to "their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and that no warrants may be issued without a statement of probable cause "particularly describing…things to be seized."
The 5th Amendment says the accused criminals shall not be "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
The 6th Amendment ensures that people accused of crimes must be "informed of the nature and cause of the accusation,"
The 8th Amendment forbids the government to impose "excessive fines" or "cruel and unusual punishments."
Opponents of the change have little more than 'the ends justify the means' as a counter argument.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_rem_jurisdiction, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_forfeiture_in_the_United... and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset_forfeiture#United_States
Note that the government can admit the person used to own it. Under https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/981, property used in certain crimes belongs to the government, and so the government takes it. It's then the person's job to prove it was not involved in a crime. Courts have ruled this doesn't violate anyone's rights.
(I probably have some of this wrong, IANAL, but I gave sources so you can look those up.)
Presumably, if I can prove I earned/bought something, and am not convicted of a crime, turf the government seizure is wrongful and I should get restitution, but from what I read, that doesn't work?
This is all about shifting the burden of proof to the accused. Allowing the money to be charged separately does that, or so courts have ruled.
(Insert above disclaimer here.)
Whereas property accused of being used for illegal purposes does have such a basis.
The government says "this property belongs to us. You have no rights in it, because a crime was committed with it. Therefore, you have no constitutional protections. Prove that it's yours, and to do so, you must prove that no crime was committed."
And if you say "no" to that then where exactly do you draw the line in between law enforcement taking obviously stolen property and law enforcement taking personal property?
I don't ask this question rhetorically, I ask it because I'm honestly not sure.
The difference is the "obviously stolen" part. None of the ludicrous instances of civil asset forfeiture I have read involve property that is obviously (or even allegedly) stolen. Heck, half the time it's just a cop pulling someone over on a highway, stealing their cash, and sending them on their way.
In general though I wish articles like this relied less on anecdote and more on data. I'm way more convinced by evidence of large scale issues than I am by a single story no matter how egregious.
My opinion on the matter would change drastically depending on which one of those numbers reflects reality.
In your analogy, that's me saying that we should try to reduce the number of bugs in our software. I don't think this is controversial.
I think I mixed up your opinion with some other folks who think we shouldn't have asset forfeiture at all. Sorry about that. My mistake.
That money will get into evidence and will normally be returned the the federal reserve, the program allowed the DOJ to appropriate a portion of that money and distribute it to local law enforcement agencies to increase their funding.
Money and other assets will still be seized and they will still not be returned to the criminals they were seized form even if they do not go to trial this might seem unfair but those assets are unclaimed if they claim them they need to prove ownership and that will get them into a sea of trouble.
Where will this money go now, well most likely back to the fed or will be kept on the DOJ books, I really don't understand why people have trouble with this policy or why they hail the halt to it as some great achievement to civil rights.
Costs more than $3000 to fight the case, so what are you going to do about it? The cops just stole your $3000 and there isn't shit you can do.
Under the 5th, due process basically means you have a right to a hearing where you can present evidence, examine witnesses, have counsel if you desire, etc and have the reasoning for the decision written down. It doesn't require that the rules being applied be fair.
Under the 6th, nobody is being accused of a crime, otherwise it'd be a criminal forfeiture.
Under the 8th, civil forfeitures aren't fines or punishments.
The courts are far too deferential to the government. Unfortunately, presidents tend to appoint and the senate tends to confirm judges who will ignore all but the most egregious violations of the constitution when given laughable but marginally plausible arguments as to why the constitution is not in fact being violated.
It is. But you assume that laws cannot violate the constitution. They can and they do constantly, all the time. The constitution doesn't mean shit (I wanted to add "anymore", but from reading history, I'm not convinced it ever meant shit). That's just reality. It only means something when people in power want it to mean something. And yes, it's incredibly ironic that this is the exact system we had a revolution to get away from. Maybe not so much when you consider that a revolution is a 360 degree rotation that ends up in the exact same place. In that case, it probably isn't ironic that such programs had a huge resurgence under King George II (2000-2008), although had he been the third, the irony and historical allusion would have been even better.
As far as justice and rule by law in the US, I think it's time for us to accept reality, that the US "justice" system is beyond broken and unfixable. This simply isn't justice and most of what the system deals with is not either: it's the opposite. If we keep lying to ourselves that this is justice, we'll never be able to stop this horrific system that ruins millions of lives and creates such a terrified, divided society. Once you understand that there are no laws and no Constitution protecting you, that the gang in blue can do whatever the fuck they want and get away with it up to and including murder, shit gets a lot scarier. And no, you don't have to be a minority to see this reality.
And of course I don't think it's now harder than ever. I'm not sure where that notion came from.
Edit: I think the end of your comment was edited in. Regarding waiting, often it's because nobody considered it problematic at the time. Many rulings striking down laws are overturning previous rulings upholding those laws, and are rarely unanimous.
Find me a law that was overturned unanimously, would be struck down by any court looking at it, yet was both law and enforced for decades because nobody looked at it.
And the legal issue there is mostly whether the law actually authorizes the NSA to do what they do, not Constitutional issues (with exception).
Which specific practices have courts not found to be constitutional, yet wasn't stopped because of "jurisdiction and standing"?
The answer is almost certainly "no". But good luck litigating it.
Could you link to which specific leaked info says that they secretly modified US systems?
How would a court looking at more laws have stopped whatever happened?
This, and other decisions, is why this Supreme Court has done more damage to the US than ISIS could ever hope to do.
If you don't like the outcome in Citizens United, you've either been lied to about what the decision was or you believe that the first amendment doesn't apply to political speech when people organize together to speak it.
"You have to bring the case" what's the alternative, that someone sues for every new law even if nobody thinks it's unconstitutional? Who exactly do we get to argue for outcomes nobody believes or wants? (Yes, lawyers will argue for things they don't believe, but somebody wants that outcome).
So if everyone likes a law, the best thing should be not to have a lawsuit. If someone doesn't like a law, then they can go ahead and sue.
Or do you want all laws to be delayed until pending lawsuits finish? But if a court agrees that you're very likely to prevail, they can issue an injunction to prevent the law from going into effect. Most laws have a waiting period before becoming law anyway.
Could you be very specific in which particular aspect of modern American jurisprudence you would abolish, what your justification for that is, and what you'd replace it with?
It is extremely difficult for an individual to bring a case before the court to challenge a law _without_ having that law being used against the same individual. You have to commit the crime and be charged using the law. That would give you standing.
The government can pass all the unconstitutional laws they want, which then get applied to people, if someone has the means to fight and win, then the law gets overturned. There is no lower or time limit to which laws can violate the constitution.
I don't know if that's the case. It seems to me that one plausible reading of the history of the United States is that the rich colonists ("founding fathers") wanted to make sure they had all the power they wanted over the new government.
This is what makes libertarianism a cruel joke: even if it made sense, it would be subverted immediately by powerful or moneyed interests.
The constitution means nothing if the courts or executive won't enforce it.
Not quite. The law means what the people with actual power say it means. I find it odd that people express surprise when something happens that seems to violate some text written on a piece of paper. It's people with guns versus a text document. Not really a fair match, and not a surprising outcome.
> This is what makes libertarianism a cruel joke: even if it made sense, it would be subverted immediately by powerful or moneyed interests.
Not sure what that has to do with libertarianism specifically. Seems like "democracy" or even just "government" fits better in that sentence.
Re the 5th, https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=527393711501700... seems to say it does apply, but only for "real" property (land).
https://www.pennlawreview.com/print/163-U-Pa-L-Rev-867.pdf seems to have a good summary of the legal aspects here.
"We explored every conceivable option that would have enabled us to preserve some form of meaningful equitable sharing. ... Unfortunately, the combined effect of the two reductions totaling $1.2 billion made that impossible." Doesn't seem like they wanted it closed to me.
How is this not just positive spin on a doj money grab?
While the _best_ case scenario would be the entire notion of any asset sharing program be made outright illegal  because it has been shown to be corrupt, etc, etc - simply having it shut down is a good thing even if not for "good reasons" because at the very minimum, it means that if and when the program is reinstated, it will force conversation of the issue, something that has gone largely un-discussed in the American political landscape.
: I personally would argue it should be illegal regardless of conviction, otherwise it incentivizes police forces and DAs to only go after high payout crimes
I'm saying it was never cancelled
We'll see what happens when the DOJ realizes how much of that $1.2B was driven by state incentives, and their dirty golden goose stops laying eggs
I think that's generally the case.
Current HN title is more accurate.
Edit: The AP appears to frame the story more accurately: http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015-12-24/us-p.... Should we use this instead? It's rather short.
I wonder if the person whose money was "forfeited" finds the sharing to be equitable.
In the case of civil asset forfeiture, central to the Supreme Court's upholding of those laws was the fact that laws providing for civil forfeiture of contraband property were passed by the First Congress.
9 & 10?
We have a right to use encryption. Cryptocurrency. CRISPR. Etc. We have those rights. Why? Because nothing in the constitution says we don't. Otherwise the constitution would be unmaintainable.
Your idea of limitless rights turns Constitutional democracy on its head. Rights are exceptions to the power of the majority to regulate society. Limitless rights curtails democracy to nothing.
"the practice has exploded in recent years, prompting concern that, in some cases, police are motivated more by profits and less by justice."
In some cases?
"The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) said in a statement that "this decision is detrimental to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.""
Not being able to rape and pillage their communities makes serving their communities harder.
It is true that rich people tend to fund things like large businesses, which then pay middle-class workers. However, giving them free money gives them no reason to actually use that money to fund more businesses. Why invest when Uncle Sam gives you an allowance?
Solid reasoning, terrible plan.
Ideally, the money would come in the form of a standardized cheque, to be handed out once a month to anybody who is 18 or older and can come to the local DMV and provide proof of citizenship. Unclaimed money goes toward funding the program, getting more workers into DMVs to handle traffic, and (again, ideally) could be sent to a charity of the recipient's choice.
Crime has dropped dramatically since the peak in the mid-1990's. But that massive build-up of the justice system has persisted, and today the incarceration rate dramatically exceeds the crime rate. As the people who forget that New York City in the 1990's used to be Gotham City, and now only remember it as Disney Land, the political slur of "soft on crime" is going to lose some of its bite. We are seeing Obama talk about criminal justice reforms that say Bill Clinton in the 1990's never would have been able to talk about. I remember growing up in the 1990's, and all the advertisements and school assemblies about drugs--a prevailing attitude that can only be described as "hysterical." Remember Clinton having to say "I smoked but never inhaled?" Today, we're seeing legalization of marijuana all over the country. We're seeing a generation of future voters that will grow up hearing about Ferguson and Freddie Gray instead of how people high on crack cocaine are going around raping women in the inner city. That's going to change what kind of police conduct voters are willing to tolerate.
You seem to be suggesting that liberal Supreme Court rulings caused the crime wave, and conservative backlash in the justice system curbed it. The conservative backlash may have been triggered by the crime wave, but I don't think liberal rulings caused the crime wave. The recent swing back to the liberal side, with the political changes you mentioned, and no corresponding increase in crime, seems to bear that out.
Their budget was cut, so they said "we need ours, pony up."
Likely, police forces which relied on federal statute to get 80% of the seized resources will now resort to state statute to maximize what they can take from seized assets.
Yes, it's still a problem but it's much more manageable now.
It will be great news if this widespread official larceny is actually reduced, but that's yet to be seen.
5. That’s crazy!!! This can’t happen in my state.
It might be crazy, but civil asset forfeiture happens in every state in the union. Even if the state has laws that limit it, state and local law enforcement authorities can still seize property by partnering with federal law enforcement officials in a system called “equitable sharing,” and payouts to state and local agencies have increased nearly 250% over a 12-year period.
"We're keeping the money, LoL"
Took me three tries to read "defunds" properly, not as "defends".