The Institute for Justice, a Libertarian think-tank, has put out a new video highlighting the dangers drug forfeiture laws pose to everyday citizens and how little it takes to for the government to take your property without due process. The video and the brief filed by IJ focus on the probable cause aspect of civil forfeiture laws but the very concept should make anyone’s blood boil.
IJ is not the only one calling attention to this violation of Constitutional rights; FEAR, Forfeiture Endangers American Rights, has an excellent website devoted to cataloging and fighting these laws.
The idea that property can be taken by the government for suspicion of a crime BEFORE any guilt is established by a jury should raise a mental red flag in any thinking being. If you are arrested and held for a crime you will need an attorney perhaps several. How will you hire any attorney when your bank accounts are frozen? How can you mount a defense when your house is taken? You can’t even sleep in your car because that was impounded too.
In some instances it seems the government is more interested in your property than in drugs:
In 1992 “31 officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Border Patrol, National Guard and Park Service” executed a raid on Donald P. Scott’s ranch in CA. Scott was killed during the raid and no cannabis was found. Look at the last group involved in the raid. Why would the Park Service be involved in a drug raid? Well because the Park Service wanted Scott’s land.” Michael D. Bradbury, the District Attorney of Ventura County conducted an investigation into the raid and the aftermath, issuing a report on the events leading up to and on October 2, 1992. He concluded that asset forfeiture was a motive for the raid.”
This year there are two cases before the Supreme Court that could open the door to even more abuse of civil forfeiture laws.
Civil forfeiture laws invite corruption beyond the usual corruption that exists during Prohibition. They violate dearly held beliefs of legal fairness and property. They are an affront to any “free society” and should be abolished for all areas not just the Drug War. If your state has a ballot initiative on legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, do you know how it addresses this issue? Or even if it addresses it at all?