"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Policing for Profit - Government Netted $4.5 Billion in Cash, Cars, and Houses

Cops say you are guilty before a trial

  • Civil forfeiture laws pose some of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation today, too often making it easy and lucrative for law enforcement to take and keep property—regardless of the owner’s guilt or innocence.

(The Daily Signal)  -  For federal state and local law enforcement agencies, a little-known practice giving them the power to take Americans’ property, cash, and cars has proven to be a boon over the last decade.

According to a new report from the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm, the federal government has seen a substantial increase over the last 13 years in the amount of money deposited into forfeiture funds governed by the Departments of Justice and Treasury—the two federal agencies that typically conduct forfeitures.

In 2014, the Institute for Justice found that net assets, or what’s left over after expenditures, into the agencies’ forfeiture funds reached $4.5 billion—an increase of more than 4,600 percent from 1986, when the Justice Department’s fund was first created. Net assets in the Justice Department’s and Treasury Department’s forfeiture funds first topped $1 billion in 2007 and have moved upward steadily over the last seven years.

Additionally, from 2001 to 2014, the Justice Department and Treasury Department deposited a combined $29 billion in their respective forfeiture funds, the Institute for Justice found.

Civil forfeiture is a tool that gives law enforcement the power to seize cash, cars, and houses if they are suspected of being related to a crime. Originally, the tool was viewed as a way to combat drug trafficking and money laundering. However, as law enforcement budgets have become increasingly strapped for cash—and forfeiture proceeds have increased—civil forfeiture has been dubbed “policing for profit” by critics.

In recent years, a growing number of stories have arisen involving innocent Americans who had property forfeited yet were never charged with a crime. Additionally, civil forfeiture has been called a gold mine and “pennies from heaven by the very law enforcement officials who benefit from the proceeds of cash, cars, and property forfeited.

Read More . . . .

Policing for Profit Visualized: How Big Is Civil Forfeiture?

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