Civil Asset Forfeiture: Theft Without Conviction
Civil asset forfeiture has helped the law enforcement agencies around the country to acquire billions of dollars in revenue from innocent Americans, without ever having to charge them of any wrongdoing or find them guilty of any crime.
Some victims of this practice have had their entire life savings confiscated after a simple traffic stop was escalated. Other individuals have had their cars taken, all of their cash confiscated, or their home taken away.
It's a practice that has drawn widespread criticism as it seems to violate basic constitutional rights by enabling the state to
steal confiscate private property without any conviction of wrongdoing.
Thanks to the growing criticism over this practice,...
Several states have tried to pass laws that make changes to this practice, as this sort of behavior contributes to the erosion of due process. Over a dozen states have already tried to make changes, passing new rules that require a conviction before property can be taken.
However, the attorney general has indicated that he wants to bypass these sorts of changes and expand the program overall.
Georgia happens to be one state that is looking to try and protect people there from this sort of behavior. They've already passed new rules a couple of years ago , placing some limitations on civil asset forfeiture and requiring more enhanced reporting on their activities etc. As well, one lawmaker there has introduced a bill to require a conviction before any assets are taken.
Scot Turner introduced H.B. 505 earlier this year and that bill is seeking to make the change of requiring a conviction, joining at least 14 other states that have sought to make similar changes.
Law enforcement agents might continue to maintain that civil asset forfeiture is a vital tool to their business model, but there doesn't seem to be any respect paid to due process and the concept of being innocent until proven guilty when your life savings can be taken without you being charged and convicted beforehand. This sort of behavior erodes respect for law enforcement and the law itself when it breeds the opportunity for so many innocent people to be victimized. Such policing for profit tactics should be put to rest and more respect paid to evidence and convictions in relation to violent crimes. There has already been enough time and effort wasted on the failed war on drugs and perhaps it's about time law enforcement put their resources to better use.