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ALERT: The Looting of America   The Real You: Personality Poll

Started Aug-4 by WALTER784; 291 views.
WALTER784

From: WALTER784

Aug-4

ALERT: The Looting of America
 
How over 200 Civil Asset Forfeiture laws enable police to confiscate your home, bank accounts & business without trial.
 
by Jarret Wollstein
 
Revised May 1997
 
"A police dog scratched at your luggage, so we're confiscating your life savings and you'll never get it back." Police stopped 49-year-old Ethel Hylton at Houston's Hobby Airport and told her she was under arrest because a drug dog had scratched at her luggage. Agents searched her bags and strip-searched her, but they found no drugs. They did find $39,110 in cash, money she had received from an insurance settlement and her life savings; accumulated through over 20 years of work as a hotel housekeeper and hospital janitor. Ethel Hylton completely documented where she got the money and was never charged with a crime. But the police kept her money anyway. Nearly four years later, she is still trying to get her money back.
 
Ethel Hylton is just one of a large and growing list of Americans - now numbering in the hundreds of thousands - who have been victimized by civil asset forfeiture. Under civil asset forfeiture, every-thing you own can be legally taken away even if you are never convicted of a crime.
 
Suspicion of offenses which, if proven in court, might result in a $200 fine or probation, are being used to justify seizure of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property. Totally innocent Americans are losing their cars, homes and businesses, based on the claims of anonymous informants that illegal transactions took place on their property. Once property is seized, it is virtually impossible to get it back.
 
Property is now being seized in every state and from every social group. Seizures include pocket money confiscated from public-housing residents in Florida; cars taken away from men suspected of soliciting prostitutes in Oregon; and homes taken away from ordinary, middle class Americans whose teenage children are accused of selling a few joints of marijuana. No person and no property is immune from seizure. You could be the next victim.
 
Here are some examples:
 
In Washington, D.C. police stop black men on the streets in poor areas of the city, and "routinely confiscate small amounts of cash and jewelry". Most confiscated property is not even recorded by police departments. "Resident Ben Davis calls it 'robbery with a badge'." [USA Today, 5/18/92]
 
In Iowa, "a woman accused of shoplifting a $25 sweater had her $18,000 car - specially equipped for her handicapped daughter - seized as the 'getaway vehicle'." [USA Today, 5/18/92]
 
Detroit drug police raided a grocery store, but failed to find any drugs. After drug dogs reacted to three $1.00 bills in the cash register, the police seized $4,384 from cash registers and the store safe. According to the Pittsburgh Press, over 92% of all cash in circulation in the U.S. now shows some drug residue.
 
In Monmouth, New Jersey, Dr. David Disbrow was accused of practicing psychiatry without a license. His crime was providing counseling services from a spare bedroom in his mother's house. Counseling does not require a license in New Jersey. That didn't stop police from seizing virtually everything of value from his mother's home, totaling over $60,000. The forfeiture squad confiscated furniture, carpets, paintings, and even personal photographs.
 
Kathy and Mark Schrama were arrested just before Christmas 1990 at their home in New Jersey. Kathy was charged with taking $500 worth of UPS packages from neighbors' porches. Mark was charged with receiving stolen goods. If found guilty, they might have paid a small fine and received probation. The day after their arrest, their house, cars and furniture were seized. Based upon mere accusation, $150,000 in property was confiscated, without trial or indictment. Police even took their clothing, eyeglasses, and Christmas presents for their 10-year-old son.
 
The incentive for government agencies to expand forfeiture is enormous. Agencies can easily seize property and they usually keep what they take. According to the Pittsburgh Press, 80% of seizure victims are never even charged with a crime. Law enforcement agencies often keep the best seized cars, watches and TVs for their "departments", and sell the rest.
 
How extensive are seizures in America today? The Washington Post has reported that the U.S. Marshals Service alone had an inventory of over $1.4 billion in seized assets, including over 30,000 cars, boats, homes and businesses. Federal and state agencies seizing property now include the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Coast Guard, the IRS, local police, highway patrol, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, FDA, and the Bureau of Land Management. A
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Showtalk
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From: Showtalk

Aug-4

When it works against real criminals there are good reasons for what they do.  

Dee (DLAINEDEE)

From: Dee (DLAINEDEE)

Aug-4

We were warned years ago when they were first putting this law into place, that if we didn't fight it, it would eventually bite good law-abiding citizens in the backside.  The list Walter posted is small, there are 1000, plus a lot more, that this has happened to.

WALTER784

From: WALTER784

Aug-4

Showtalk said...

When it works against real criminals there are good reasons for what they do.

If it is only used against real criminals... then fine.

But what about all the hundreds or thousands of non-criminals who had everything they owned usurped by this same ruling?

The rules need to be modified such that if non criminal activity has been proven that the confiscated items (money, property, other) MUST be returned!

FWIW

Dee (DLAINEDEE)

From: Dee (DLAINEDEE)

Aug-5

Or the way it is supposed to be.  Prove me guilty beyond a shadow of any doubt, until that point, leave my belongings alone.  Especially if there are innocent family members in the household.  And if there are innocent family members living in the home, you get nothing.

One example, a husband commits a crime, why would you throw the wife and children into the street with only the clothes on their backs.  This is insane, this is not the American way, or it wasn't.

WALTER784

From: WALTER784

Aug-6

It just goes to show how out of touch and out of control our current government has gotten.

FWIW

Dee (DLAINEDEE) said:

Prove me guilty beyond a shadow of any doubt, until that point, leave my belongings alone. Especially if there are innocent family members in the household. And if there are innocent family members living in the home, you get nothing.

The U.S. entrepreneurial law enforcement have been using the Chinese model as an instruction manual..

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