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Title: Libertarians split with Trump over controversial police tactic
Source: FOX News
URL Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/201 ... ntroversial-police-tactic.html
Published: Feb 13, 2017
Author: Jennifer G. Hickey
Post Date: 2017-02-15 06:26:47 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 2012
Comments: 32

The White House has riled the country's civil libertarian wing after President Trump enthusiastically voiced support for a controversial law enforcement tool that allows an individual’s property or assets to be seized without a guilty verdict.

The president weighed in on what's known as "civil asset forfeiture" during an Oval Office meeting last week with sheriffs. The president, who ran on a law-and- order message, said he shared their desire to strengthen the practice and even said he would “destroy” the career of a Texas politician trying to end it.

The comments revived tensions with libertarians who have been fighting the practice under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Already piqued by the selection of former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a vocal supporter of asset forfeiture, to lead the Justice Department, the Libertarian Party itself condemned the comments.

“It was really disappointing to hear those words. He campaigned on the idea of helping people who are on the low end of the economic spectrum and this [law] disproportionately affects minorities and those who do not have the means to hire an attorney,” Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark told Fox News.

Sarwark called the practice "immoral," adding that it is simply “government theft of individual property that flips the nation’s legal system on its head.”

While laws differ across the country, most states allow law enforcement to seize an individual’s assets or property on the suspicion they have been involved in criminal activity. Even if a person is found to be not guilty, some jurisdictions allow the government to keep their property.

Sheriff John Aubrey of Louisville, Ky., said he was heartened by his meeting with Trump because he, unlike the last administration, will give them a "fair hearing" on asset forfeiture.

He also believes there is a misconception that police just take property but stressed that they cannot do so before getting a court order.

Trump signaled he would fight reform efforts in Congress, saying politicians could “get beat up really badly by the voters” if they pursue laws to limit police authority.

The comments could signal an abrupt halt to efforts to curb the practice under the Obama administration, which also had faced heavy criticism from civil libertarians and criminal justice reform advocates.

Brittany Hunter of the free-market Foundation for Economic Education wrote that the president’s “egregious comments” effectively destroy “any hope that his administration will be better on this issue than President Obama. In fact, the situation may very well become worse.”

According to the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm, the Department of Justice’s Assets Forfeiture Fund generated $93.7 million in revenue in 1986. By 2014, the annual figure had reached $4.5 billion -- a 4,667 percent increase. The practice surged for years under the Obama administration.

While critics believe the policy creates a profit incentive for law enforcement, police organizations say it is an important tool and charges of abuse have been blown out of proportion.

“There are those who see an incident of one and want to apply the rule of many, but we have found the annual number of incidents [of abuse] is miniscule,” Jonathan Thompson of the National Sheriffs Association told Fox News.

Thompson said the issue was addressed in a conversation with Sessions, who views it as a priority, and he believes the Trump administration will be more supportive than the Obama administration in lifting “the burden on local law enforcement.”

He added that law enforcement are not opposed to reforms and that he plans to keep his focus on increasing independent judicial review and transparency.

Candidates running on the Libertarian ticket in the midterm elections are likely to make Trump’s record on criminal justice reform and the Sessions selection an issue, in a bid to peel off voters from across the political spectrum.

“Our candidates will make [asset forfeiture] an issue for Republicans and Democrats on the state and federal level in 2018. We will make them answer to voters on these issues,” Sarwark warned.

Many of the states key to Trump’s victory have passed reforms.

Last year, Ohio passed a law that prohibits taking assets valued at less than $15,000 without a criminal conviction. Other states also passed differing degrees of reform, including New Hampshire, Florida, Montana, Nebraska, Minnesota, Maryland and New Mexico.

Largely an uncontroversial issue for decades, the government’s war on drugs in the 1980s led to its rapid expansion, but media coverage of abuses has led to a public blowback.

A 2015 report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), found that of those Philadelphia residents who had their assets taken, nearly one-third were never convicted of a crime and that almost 60 percent of cash seizures were for amounts less than $250.

“Civil asset forfeiture reform is an area where you cannot ignore the public demand,” said Kanya Bennett, legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 17.

#1. To: Gatlin (#0)

President Trump enthusiastically voiced support for a controversial law enforcement tool that allows an individual’s property or assets to be seized without a guilty verdict.

In a sane world, that would be called theft or robbery.

In police state Amerika - it's cheered by the pseudo-conservatives here at LF and elsewhere.

Trump appears to be against any reforms to the current system of legalized larceny from innocent Americans.

“There are those who see an incident of one and want to apply the rule of many, but we have found the annual number of incidents [of abuse] is miniscule,” Jonathan Thompson of the National Sheriffs Association told Fox News.

How can you tell if a cop is lying?

His lips are moving.

Nearly 1 in 10 Knows Somebody Who Has Had Property Seized Without Criminal Charges

Presumed Guilty: Civil asset forfeiture creates perverse incentives that can cost you your property.

Did you know that inanimate objects could be found "guilty" in a court of law and ultimately become the property of the state?

Just ask Mark Brewer, a disabled Air Force veteran who was pulled over in Nebraska in November 2011 after changing lanes without signaling on Interstate 80 – a traffic infraction that cost him more than $63,500.

The deputy sheriff who pulled him over claimed he smelled marijuana and searched Brewer's car. He found no drugs, but did find two backpacks containing $63,530 in cash, which Brewer said he was taking to California with the intent of using it as a down payment on a home. The deputy seized the cash, claiming drug residue had been detected on the money.

Brewer challenged the seizure in federal court to get his money back, but despite his lack of a criminal record and never being charged with a crime in the case, he lost his lengthy appeal in March 2015 – along with the money.

Under civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement can seize private property in this fashion without a search warrant or an indictment, much less a conviction, based solely on the suspicion that the property has been involved in criminal activity. This is the very opposite of the notion of innocent till proven guilty, which is the basis of this country's justice system.

Deckard  posted on  2017-02-15   8:44:19 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard (#1)

"He found no drugs, but did find two backpacks containing $63,530 in cash"

And they found two articles entitled “How to Make Wicked Hash” and “How to Make Weed Oil without Blowing Yourself Up.” Plus documentation containing the names Mark A. Brewer and Mark A. Biener.

"While running this check, Deputy Win Wintle Wintle questioned Brewer about his travel plans. Brewer told Deputy Wintle that he was traveling to Los Angeles to visit his uncle, and was hopeful that his uncle would provide him with employment. He informed Deputy Wintle that he did not have enough money for a hotel and was staying at rest stops along his route."

misterwhite  posted on  2017-02-15   10:31:23 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: misterwhite (#3)

And they found two articles entitled “How to Make Wicked Hash” and “How to Make Weed Oil without Blowing Yourself Up.” Plus documentation containing the names Mark A. Brewer and Mark A. Biener.

Last time I checked, books are not illegal.

"He found no drugs, but did find two backpacks containing $63,530 in cash"

Deckard  posted on  2017-02-15   10:46:56 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Deckard (#4)

"He found no drugs ..."

True. If he had we'd be talking about criminal asset forfeiture.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-02-15   12:00:22 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: misterwhite (#10)

"He found no drugs ..."

True. If he had we'd be talking about criminal asset forfeiture.

Since no drugs were found, there was no crime committed.

So in other words, it was theft by armed thugs.

Deckard  posted on  2017-02-15   12:35:44 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: Deckard (#11)

"Since no drugs were found, there was no crime committed."

A crime was committed alright, but there wasn't enough evidence to convict an individual for it.

"So in other words, it was theft by armed thugs."

No, the fruits of that criminal activity were forfeited.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-02-15   12:48:00 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: misterwhite (#13)

A crime was committed alright, but there wasn't enough evidence to convict an individual for it.

Your lack of understanding of the concept of "due process" means you are obviously not fit to sit on a jury.

Pinguinite  posted on  2017-02-15   13:59:17 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


Replies to Comment # 17.

#22. To: Pinguinite (#17) (Edited)

"Your lack of understanding of the concept of "due process" me means you are obviously not fit to sit on a jury."

Are you saying due process is lacking in civil asset forfeiture cases?

Rather than make libelous accusations against me, perhaps a better use of your time would be explaining your position. Assuming you have one.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-02-16 09:33:22 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


End Trace Mode for Comment # 17.

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