A few days ago, I was directed to a YouTube video that prompted me to recall the danger, the un-constitutionality, and the uncivil nature of the practice called “civil asset forfeiture.” The first four minutes of the video featured President Trump and representatives of the National Sheriffs’ Association discussing the topic of asset forfeiture. The remaining six minutes consisted of dashcam footage showing the real life implementation of this practice of seizing assets without a court conviction, trial, arrest, or even having charges brought against the person whose assets were being seized.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of civil asset forfeiture, it goes something like this: Police pull a vehicle over, search it, find an unusual amount of cash, guns, or other items that they “suspect” of being obtained, or used, illegally. They then seize the cash, guns, or maybe even the vehicle, whether or not actual contraband was found, evidence of a crime was discovered, or the person driving the vehicle was charged with a crime. This also applies to depositing too much cash into a bank account, or depositing large sums of cash too often. The government can simply confiscate your money because they “suspect” you are engaging in something illegal. It is then up to you to hire an attorney, go to court, and prove you are innocent in order to get your money back.
Before anyone accuses me of coddling criminals, or hating cops, let me say that I fully support the confiscating of contraband and the long-held practice of “criminal” (versus “civil”) asset forfeiture in which assets are retained by the state only if guilt of criminal activity is proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. I also fully support, and am grateful for, our servants in law enforcement who, in the spirit of Romans 13:3, make themselves a terror to evil works. I’m also persuaded that, 99% of the time, cops get it right and use civil asset forfeiture on actual “bad guys.” Continue reading