Asset Forfeiture: How U.S. Police Engages in Highway Robbery

#Crime

Wed, Aug 7th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Reportedly, all it takes is suspicion on a par with "probable cause" to allow law enforcement authorities to confiscate your cash, property and children, even if you haven't been charged or found guilty of any crime. In most cases, people will often not contest the seizures because the "hiring a lawyer far exceeds the value of their seized goods" and resolutions can take "months and even years to resolve."

In general, you needn't be found guilty to have your assets claimed by law enforcement; in some states, suspicion on a par with "probable cause" is sufficient. Nor must you be charged with a crime, or even be accused of one. Unlike criminal forfeiture, which requires that a person be convicted of an offense before his or her property is confiscated, civil forfeiture amounts to a lawsuit filed directly against a possession, regardless of its owner's guilt or innocence.

[...] "The eye-opening event was pulling those files," Guillory told me. One of the first cases that caught his attention was titled State of Texas vs. One Gold Crucifix. The police had confiscated a simple gold cross that a woman wore around her neck after pulling her over for a minor traffic violation. No contraband was reported, no criminal charges were filed, and no traffic ticket was issued. That's how it went in dozens more cases involving cash, cars, and jewelry. A number of files contained slips of paper of a sort he'd never seen before. These were roadside property waivers, improvised by the district attorney, which threatened criminal charges unless drivers agreed to hand over valuables.

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