• filter:

AG sessions to propose new rules increasing asset forteiture

  • Text Only
  • Search this Topic »
Voting History
rated:
Better be careful when carrying large sums of cash !
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said he'd be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property.“We hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture — especially for drug traffickers,” Sessions said in his prepared remarks for a speech to the National District Attorney's Association in Minneapolis. "With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners."Asset forfeiture is a disputed practice that allows law enforcement officials to permanently take money and goods from individuals suspected of crime. There is little disagreement among lawmakers, authorities and criminal justice reformers that “no criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.” But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/17/jeff-sessions-wants-police-to-take-more-cash-from-american-citizens/?utm_term=.d02ad5cc2460

Moderator Comment: This thread had been placed under moderation to keep thread on topic. — Jul. 17, 2017 @ 9:12pm
Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
I hope Rosenstein's comments about probable cause enforcement is vigorously applied.

Martha McCallum's Interview with Dep... (more)

bighitter (Jul. 21, 2017 @ 10:08p) |

That might be the excuse but the reality is that it avoids the pesky requirement to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doub... (more)

LorenPechtel (Jul. 22, 2017 @ 12:07p) |

I think he was careful to specify that his answer applied to federal cases. For state level civil forfeiture, he did not... (more)

Shandril (Jul. 24, 2017 @ 2:07p) |

Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

rated:
Well I see no need to worry.

He said they would do it "With care and professionalism".

rated:
Where's the Bitcoin wallet that makes confiscation impossible?

rated:
No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.

Just to be clear, we are talking about the drug dealers, not law enforcement, right?


  

rated:
As Soviet Murica Turns.

rated:
I'm shocked, oh wait, not really. He was one of the original who either sponsored the law or one of the main supporter.

rated:
Remember, only drug dealers drive the speed limit to avoid suspicion. Good Luck.

rated:
said he'd be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property
But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

Just sayin', aren't these two mutually exclusive issues? Can't they (at least in theory) increase the use of seizures while also curbing the potential for misuse/abuse?

Obviously it's impossible to know until the new directives are released, but it's also premature to be connecting those two dots. Seizures aren't inherently bad like this article tries to imply; a rule requiring property be returned if charges aren't filed within a specified timeframe would address and eliminate most of the problems.

rated:
So, driving while churning could be a risk.

rated:
Rubl said:   So, driving while churning could be a risk.
  I don't think they can seize MOs?

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
said he'd be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property
But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

Just sayin', aren't these two mutually exclusive issues? Can't they (at least in theory) increase the use of seizures while also curbing the potential for misuse/abuse?

Obviously it's impossible to know until the new directives are released, but it's also premature to be connecting those two dots. Seizures aren't inherently bad like this article tries to imply; a rule requiring property be returned if charges aren't filed within a specified timeframe would address and eliminate most of the problems.

  

Yeah in theory.

But I see no reason to assume or even hope that abuse of seizures would stop all the sudden just because they could stop.

 

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
Rubl said:   So, driving while churning could be a risk.
  I don't think they can seize MOs?

  They can't if you swallow them first.  But that, ya know, is kind of a permanent forfeiture anyways.

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
Rubl said:   So, driving while churning could be a risk.
  I don't think they can seize MOs?

  They can't if you swallow them first.  But that, ya know, is kind of a permanent forfeiture anyways.

  well not if you keep the receipt somewhere else? I have not had to get MOs refunded, but do you need physical receipt stub or can a copy in the cloud do?

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
...
  Most of the abuse comes from people having to sue to get their own stuff back, simply because no charges were ever pursued.  And a simple tweak in the directive would immediately eliminate that issue altogether.

  
Other than wishful thinking is there any reason for us to think that any such simple tweak is coming?
 

rated:
jerosen said:   
Glitch99 said:   
...
  Most of the abuse comes from people having to sue to get their own stuff back, simply because no charges were ever pursued.  And a simple tweak in the directive would immediately eliminate that issue altogether.

  
Other than wishful thinking is there any reason for us to think that any such simple tweak is coming?

  No.  But there's also no reason to assume a vague increased use of seizures means more innocent people are going to loose their stuff, either.

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
jerosen said:   
Glitch99 said:   
...
  Most of the abuse comes from people having to sue to get their own stuff back, simply because no charges were ever pursued.  And a simple tweak in the directive would immediately eliminate that issue altogether.

  
Other than wishful thinking is there any reason for us to think that any such simple tweak is coming?

  No.  But there's also no reason to assume a vague increased use of seizures means more innocent people are going to loose their stuff, either.

  there's a perfectly good reason.
if the current ratio of seizures are against innocent people, and the number of seizures increases, then it's perfectly reasonable to assume the ratio of seizures will remain nearly constant, which means more innocent people will lose their stuff.

Nothing in this conversation makes me personally think that ratio will decrease.
 

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
jerosen said:   
Glitch99 said:   
...
  Most of the abuse comes from people having to sue to get their own stuff back, simply because no charges were ever pursued.  And a simple tweak in the directive would immediately eliminate that issue altogether.

  
Other than wishful thinking is there any reason for us to think that any such simple tweak is coming?

  No.  But there's also no reason to assume a vague increased use of seizures means more innocent people are going to loose their stuff, either.

  

I think they've given us every reason to assume that instances of abuses will go up along with increased seizures.
They've given me no reason to think otherwise.
I mean other than the assurance that they'll do it "with care and professionalism".
 

rated:
imbatman said:   
Glitch99 said:   
jerosen said:   
Glitch99 said:   
...
  Most of the abuse comes from people having to sue to get their own stuff back, simply because no charges were ever pursued.  And a simple tweak in the directive would immediately eliminate that issue altogether.

  
Other than wishful thinking is there any reason for us to think that any such simple tweak is coming?

  No.  But there's also no reason to assume a vague increased use of seizures means more innocent people are going to loose their stuff, either.

  there's a perfectly good reason.
if the current ratio of seizures are against innocent people, and the number of seizures increases, then it's perfectly reasonable to assume the ratio of seizures will remain nearly constant, which means more innocent people will lose their stuff.

Nothing in this conversation makes me personally think that ratio will decrease.

  Actually i'd argue that it's safe to assume that the ratio of seizures from innocent people will go up.  Obviously the most criminal are at least intended to be the Target (currently).  Upping the quota means more gray area cases than before will now be included, the bar for evidence (if any) will be lowered.
Making the policy "to use more seizures" doesn't itself increase the amount of criminal activity or make it easier to find.  So, absent funding increases and additional required review policies, any increase MUST in fact come from non-criminal activity or assets seized with less clear links to criminal activity.

rated:
Is this still split with local law enforcement? If so, that is unfortunately a big incentive..

rated:
This should come Handy when T Tower is raided...

rated:
jerosen said:   
Glitch99 said:   
jerosen said:   
Glitch99 said:   
...
  Most of the abuse comes from people having to sue to get their own stuff back, simply because no charges were ever pursued.  And a simple tweak in the directive would immediately eliminate that issue altogether.

  
Other than wishful thinking is there any reason for us to think that any such simple tweak is coming?

  No.  But there's also no reason to assume a vague increased use of seizures means more innocent people are going to loose their stuff, either.

  

I think they've given us every reason to assume that instances of abuses will go up along with increased seizures.
They've given me no reason to think otherwise.
I mean other than the assurance that they'll do it "with care and professionalism".

  They've given you no reason to think anything at all.  There's zero indication of how they plan to increase the use of seizures.  Of course if the directive is nothing more than "go grab more stuff from more people", there will be more collateral damage.  

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
Rubl said:   So, driving while churning could be a risk.
  I don't think they can seize MOs?

  They can't if you swallow them first.  But that, ya know, is kind of a permanent forfeiture anyways.

  Yeah, unless you're really old-school and convert to diamonds instead of MOs. But in that case you're faced with a questionable end-game involving a locked bathroom door, a kitchen strainer, and most likely some serious pain.

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
said he'd be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property
But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

Just sayin', aren't these two mutually exclusive issues? Can't they (at least in theory) increase the use of seizures while also curbing the potential for misuse/abuse?

Obviously it's impossible to know until the new directives are released, but it's also premature to be connecting those two dots. Seizures aren't inherently bad like this article tries to imply; a rule requiring property be returned if charges aren't filed within a specified timeframe would address and eliminate most of the problems.

  I actually did a bit of research on this for a book I was writing. Civil forfeiture varies a lot from state to state. In Nebraska and Wisconsin, you actually can't seize property without evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, a lot of other states have less protections and more financial incentives for carrying out forfeitures.  

So, looking at the glass half full, maybe a new law could hypothetically streamline the laws into something with more protections and more direction on where the money goes?

rated:
I can think of some crude yet appropriate analogies about the contents of that half full glass.

rated:
Although I'm a fiscal and statutory conservative in nearly all respects, I've never, ever bought into this "stuff" about enabling confiscation of a citizen's property, before due process on that citizen's alleged transgression(s) was completed.  Ever.  And as far as I'm concerned, "due process" means that the citizen in question has been found guilty, by a court of law, of such transgression(s).  Period.  Nothing less or more.
 
I don't care how many local "cop-shops" whine about needing the money, etc.  Doesn't matter.  I realize that these "prior-to-verdict" confiscation laws have been out there amongst the various states for ever and ever - well, I still don't buy it, Constitutionally.  Had a problem with it years ago when I first heard about it - still have a problem with it today.
 
The idea that if the confiscation turns out to be unwarranted the State simply "returns" the asset(s) to it's owner at some, possible, future date - maybe - probably without interest - is puerile and insufficient.  That frankly smacks of what was promised by 1930's Germany-style confiscations.  Etc., etc.  Ridiculous.
 
This is the United States.  We should not do things this way.  We are a democracy and are supposed to obey the rule of law.
 

rated:
fw9999 said:   Although I'm a fiscal and statutory conservative in nearly all respects, I've never, ever bought into this "stuff" about enabling confiscation of a citizen's property, before due process on that citizen's alleged transgression(s) was completed.  Ever.  And as far as I'm concerned, "due process" means that the citizen in question has been found guilty, by a court of law, of such transgression(s).  Period.  Nothing less or more.

 

From what I'm read, the rationale behind civil forfeiture is that the property, not the citizen, is what's being "charged". I guess the idea is, if the authorities can't go after a drug kingpin for whatever reason, they can go after his stuff if they believe it is used in a crime. Of course, it doesn't help if it's an average critizen, not a drug cartel, that's facing the forfeiture. 

rated:
"From what I'm read, the rationale behind civil forfeiture is that the property, not the citizen, is what's being "charged"

OK - but where is that in our laws, or in our Constitution?   Where in our "real" laws do we charge "property" for crimes?   Are we not supposed to be a nation of "laws not men"?  And does that phrase not state, LAWS not men - as opposed to Property not men"?  Just askin'.

rated:
OK, let me rephrase that a bit - I simply do not see where if makes any sense in the US (State or Federal), in any aspect of our laws, to pretend that somehow we are prosecuting purely "assets" (inanimate objects), as opposed to people.

rated:
fw9999 said:   OK, let me rephrase that a bit - I simply do not see where if makes any sense in the US (State or Federal), in any aspect of our laws, to pretend that somehow we are prosecuting purely "assets" (inanimate objects), as opposed to people.
I'm not an expert on this (I only did as much research as was required for the story I was writing),  but I suspect these laws were something of an invention of necessity - kind of like how the FBI eventually nailed Al Capone for tax evasion - that started having wider implications where abuses are concerned. I think initially it was used when drug cartels could shield themselves with shell companies, so the law enforcement could bleed them dry even if they couldn't charge them directly. 

rated:
fw9999 said:   "From what I'm read, the rationale behind civil forfeiture is that the property, not the citizen, is what's being "charged"

OK - but where is that in our laws, or in our Constitution?   Where in our "real" laws do we charge "property" for crimes?   Are we not supposed to be a nation of "laws not men"?  And does that phrase not state, LAWS not men - as opposed to Property not men"?  Just askin'.

  The basic premise is that the seized property is potential evidence in a future case, or that it's the suspected proceeds of a crime (which would be subject to forfeiture).  It's seized so that it can't disappear before formal charges can be filed.  The big problem is that if charges aren't actually filed, the possibility of future charges remains indefinitely.  So the only remedy is to sue, and essentially (I don't know technically what happens, but) prove that there's no reasonable chance of charges being filled in conjunction with the seized property, and thus it can't be considered evidence or proceeds of a crime.

Complain about the seizures themselves all you want, the fact is most corruption in the process comes from the ability to keep the property permanently.  Requiring all seized property be tied to actual filed charges (either as evidence or as proceeds of) within 2-3 months or else be returned, most of the questionable seizures will go away naturally.

rated:
Sure, but old Al died a long time ago.  Nasty guy.  I think in Alcatraz?  I know the IRS got him on tax evasion, and not on all the murders, etc., that he did  Frankly, this "made a name" for the IRS and good old J. Edgar for decades, a fact for which we - perhaps - are still to some degree suffering...?  OK, change of subject.
 
Shell companies this, that, etc.....   It has always bothered me that in any scenario, the theory would be that companies (shell or otherwise, etc,) would be ended up being charged for - whatever. 
 
Honestly, has that ever happened?  Or has it always been the PEOPLE who were judged to be in charge, were in fact charged?  Truly, how have our laws enabled any entity that was not a PERSON to be charged?
 

rated:
Glitch99 said:   said he'd be issuing a new directive this week aimed at increasing police seizures of cash and property
But in many cases, neither a criminal conviction nor even a criminal charge is necessary — under forfeiture laws in most states and at the federal level, mere suspicion of wrongdoing is enough to allow police to seize items permanently.

Just sayin', aren't these two mutually exclusive issues? Can't they (at least in theory) increase the use of seizures while also curbing the potential for misuse/abuse?

They could.
Monkees could also fly out my butt.

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
fw9999 said:   "From what I'm read, the rationale behind civil forfeiture is that the property, not the citizen, is what's being "charged"

OK - but where is that in our laws, or in our Constitution?   Where in our "real" laws do we charge "property" for crimes?   Are we not supposed to be a nation of "laws not men"?  And does that phrase not state, LAWS not men - as opposed to Property not men"?  Just askin'.

  The basic premise is that the seized property is potential evidence in a future case, or that it's the suspected proceeds of a crime (which would be subject to forfeiture).  It's seized so that it can't disappear before formal charges can be filed.  The big problem is that if charges aren't actually filed, the possibility of future charges remains indefinitely.  So the only remedy is to sue, and essentially (I don't know technically what happens, but) prove that there's no reasonable chance of charges being filled in conjunction with the seized property, and thus it can't be considered evidence or proceeds of a crime.

Complain about the seizures themselves all you want, the fact is most corruption in the process comes from the ability to keep the property permanently.  Requiring all seized property be tied to actual filed charges (either as evidence or as proceeds of) within 2-3 months or else be returned, most of the questionable seizures will go away naturally.

  Some states also have special rules about where the money goes, making sure it doesn't go to the arresting department (which frequently happens in some states). Also, some states allow owners to challenge the forfeiture. Maine has the burden of proof on owner unless it is a primary residence in question, in which case it is on the government. 

rated:
I’ll wait until I hear the entire details substantiated by a credible news source.  The Washington Post has had to walk back far too many of their news reports lately, particularly where Trump administration officials are involved. 
 
That said, seizure abuses need to be stopped.  As an example,  the IRS seizure and hasty sale of an elderly immigrant’s bridal shop inventory needs to be investigated.  The IRS claimed the bridal shop owners owed taxes for 2005, 2008 and 2010.  One news report said that at least one of the IRS agents bid and purchased a bridal gown at the auction, which were sold for pennies on the dollar of their market value.
 

rated:
Glitch99 said:   
fw9999 said:   "From what I'm read, the rationale behind civil forfeiture is that the property, not the citizen, is what's being "charged"
...

Complain about the seizures themselves all you want, the fact is most corruption in the process comes from the ability to keep the property permanently.  Requiring all seized property be tied to actual filed charges (either as evidence or as proceeds of) within 2-3 months or else be returned, most of the questionable seizures will go away naturally.

First of all I hope no one takes my comments the wrong way.  I'm not demeaning any law enforcement personnel, in any jurisdiction.  I'm definitely not one of those who deny or demean the "blue lives matter" folks - because, clearly they DO matter.  And I'm not complaining on personal grounds - this truly is one of those situations where when someone say "it's the principal that matters" they mean it, since I've never had any negative interaction with the police - and don't expect to.
 
However, you state that "most corruption in the process comes from the ability to keep the property permanently.  Requiring all seized property be tied to actual filed charges (either as evidence or as proceeds of) within 2-3 months or else be returned, most of the questionable seizures will go away naturally."
 
OK - quite possibly we agree on that.  But although you took only a sentence and a half to state that, I wonder if the process of fixing that - of making that fix happen, in statutes - might be somewhat larger than 1.5 sentences.  It might perhaps involve changes to laws in potentially 50 states, as well as one nation. 
 
Fine.  I'd be a happy camper if THAT could be accomplished, as a starting point.  And once that's done, what else would need to be accomplished?  Maybe more, maybe not a lot.  Again, I'm a conservative but also a "due process" person.  I don't consider the two to be mutually exclusive.

rated:
bighitter said:   I’ll wait until I hear the entire details substantiated by a credible news source.  The Washington Post has had to walk back far too many of their news reports lately, particularly where Trump administration officials are involved. 

 

  How about http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/342636-gop-lawmaker-b... This article even includes criticism from a member of the same party. 

rated:
fw9999 said:   Sure, but old Al died a long time ago.  Nasty guy.  I think in Alcatraz?
 

Even worse... it was Florida.  

rated:
bighitter said:   The Washington Post has had to walk back far too many of their news reports lately, particularly where Trump administration officials are involved. 
  HAHA, the Post is so anti Trump it borders on an obsession. 

rated:
rufflesinc said:   
Rubl said:   So, driving while churning could be a risk.
  I don't think they can seize MOs?

  Well, it's either property or cash.  Or both, depending on how one looks at it.  So, they can.

Skipping 15 Messages...
rated:
bighitter said:   I hope Rosenstein's comments about probable cause enforcement is vigorously applied.

Martha McCallum's Interview with Deputy AG Rosenstein on civil forfeiture, mandatory minimums:   http://youtu.be/RJSS-1bt5b4?t=52


 

I think he was careful to specify that his answer applied to federal cases. For state level civil forfeiture, he did not say that the probable cause test was going to be scrutinized as closely.

The other thing that is a bit misleading is his representation of how effective the claim process really is. In cases of large amounts of money seized, I'm assuming a lot of people will go through the process if they've had property unfairly stolen from them by police. But, more importantly, I think the average amount of cash or assets seized was relatively low. Something around $250-500 in general. You won't find a lawyer to take it pro bono for that amount. And the cost of hiring one to represent you, will be higher than what you stand to recover. Or if their recourse claim process is held by someone from the DA's office rather than a judge, they may not feel that they have much chance. So the vast majority of people just give up and never claim their seized property, not always because they are guilty but simply because it's not worth it. 

The other part that bothers a lot of people and is not touched upon in the interview, is how the money seized is used. It's definitely one where the AG could provide specific guidance on what the assets seized can or cannot be used for and on making the reporting of it way more transparent. That'd be something specific to back more practically the notion of additional care and professionalism mentioned by AG Sessions. But to be fair, I don't know how much any of this would impact local civil forfeitures in the 37 states without laws against it. At the level of federal civil forfeitures, and for equitable sharing cases, the new directives may have an impact but not at the state level.

Oh, for the record, here's the piece Martha McCallum references in the interview: J. Oliver on Civil Forfeiture



  • Quick Reply:  Have something quick to contribute? Just reply below and you're done! hide Quick Reply
     
    Click here for full-featured reply.


Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017