John Kiriakou – Civil Forfeiture: Legalized Government Robbery

alifornia governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law last week that would prohibit the police from seizing property – and money – from individuals without due process. Politicians, bloggers, and others on both the left and the right called the move “historic” and “one of the most important reforms for civil forfeiture in years.” Even The New York Times, in its October 2 print edition, called it a rare example of the left and right uniting to “rein in government abuse of civil forfeiture.”

The previous California law required a criminal conviction for forfeitures under $25,000. But local police in the state circumvented that by using a much weaker federal law to seize assets. As The New York Times reported, “California police would file state charges against a target, but then outsource the forfeiture to the federal government.” The problem there is that the feds don’t need any criminal conviction whatsoever to seize anybody’s assets. Indeed, federal law enforcement can take any property for themselves if they “suspect it is being used for a crime.”

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