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The public needs to be educated about civil asset forfeiture

To anyone educated in the law who has a general sense of reality and the principles of our United States government, it’s clear that there’s a real problem with civil asset forfeiture as it exists in this country. For the most part, those who support it are those who profit from it.

So how does it still exist? Well, whenever I talk to people about it, their general reaction is disbelief. As hard as it is for us who are involved to realize, most people don’t really get it.

This survey points out the problem.

Have you heard of the term “civil asset forfeiture”?
Yes . . . . . . . . . 28%
No . . . . . . . . . . 72%

Close to 3/4 of the population just don’t know about it.

But when they do…

Which of these three options comes closest to your opinion about what SHOULD be legal?
Law enforcement should be able to permanently seize money or other property if they suspect it’s connected to criminal activity, even if no charges have been filed . . . . . 7%

If we continue to inform people, we should be able to change the law.

Seven Percent of Americans Think It’s OK For Police To Take Your Stuff, No Charges Needed

The poll found similar levels of support for who should benefit from forfeiture funding. Nationwide , 66 percent of Americans believe forfeiture funds should go either towards the state’s budget or to a separate fund (like education). Only 13 percent supported the idea that forfeiture proceeds should directly fund law enforcement.

Wide majorities across race, gender, income levels and political ideology back these two key reforms.

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40 comments to The public needs to be educated about civil asset forfeiture

  • Tony Aroma

    Hmmm… Lawmakers ignoring the wishes of an overwhelming majority of voters to cater to the demands of law enforcement. Where have I heard that before?

  • kaptinemo

    Tangentially related. From an interview with Steve DeAngelo

    “Branding, think about branding in the future. We’re marketing to the smartest generation of humans that has ever been created. This generation has greater access to information and they can get it more quickly. They can synthesize that information into new ideas and act on it in a way that no other generation in human history has ever done. You cannot market and brand to the smartest generation like you did to previous generations. If you put a fancy jingle out and you put up a billboard and a bunch of fancy advertising, out are gonna come the phones, and people are gonna say, “OK, how do you grow your product? How do you treat your workers? How do you interact with your community?” And I’ll tell you what, if there is any discernable gap between the image you’re putting out and what you’re practicing, the smartest generation will find it and blow you to pieces. (Emphasis mine – k.)

    The prohibs are finding out what it is like to be subjected to that kind of scrutiny by that generation and are being ‘blown to pieces’ by it.

    Every prohib talking point, every intelligence-insulting lie, pithed and dissected under glaring spotlights. Largely courtesy of the Internet affording near-instant fact-checking abilities. Combine that with a generation that realizes that their futures have been stolen and that they cannot rely on institutions, are now making their own, and there’s no place for the old way of ‘doing business’, prohib style.

    I sometimes wonder if the dinosaurs that fell into tar pits knew that that black, gooey stuff they were sinking in would kill them.

    I am pretty sure that the smarter prohibs know that the virtual pit of digital ones-and-zeros that makes up the Internet is performing the same function for prohibition.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Fiddlesticks. You’re not going to fool anyone into believing that the typical prohibitionist knows what the term “fact checking” means. In the future please try to think these things through.

      Except for the logistics of proving it I’d be willing to bet large that the dinosaurs had feathers.

      • Windy

        He was saying those who read or hear the prohibitionists’ lies have fact checking at their fingertips. No one expects the prohibitionists to fact check, they think they know it all, already.

    • Tony

      Funny, I kind of thought we’re getting less smart with each successive generation. Sure, we have easy access to all the information we could ever want, but if anything, I think that’s making us dumber and lazier.

  • Mr_Alex

    Two crappy things that could happen from a Cannabis conviction, loss of career and loss of assets and posessions via asset forfeiture

  • CJ

    OFF TOPIC – hey quick question, I read recently one of the heads of DPA who I believe writes alot of online articles had also been in prison for 12 years on minor drug charges, anybody know what im talking about?? I was looking for more info about that if anybody can link me.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Pete, please stop with the embellishment. Our lawmakers are working overtime in an attempt to educate the general public about the hazards of drug abuse. Just yesterday U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions was doing his utmost to warn people about the risk of a fatal overdose of cannabis:

    Lives are at stake’: GOP senator suggests marijuana can be deadly

    We should be supportive of the dedication of our public servants to educate the citizenry. It took a lot of hard work to get the politicians to adopt this policy. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and worry about the fact that they’re using fiction portrayed as fact in their attempts. Now that we’ve got them dedicated to disseminating drugs “education” we can start working toward the goal of making sure that they understand that the facts they choose as supporting evidence for their arguments aren’t allowed to be fictional. People have to learn how to crawl before they can learn how to walk you know.

    • kaptinemo

      Yep, right on schedule. The more the prohibs are backed into a corner, the louder and more often they scream their gibberish.

      Someone on his staff needs to be taken to the woodpile for providing this goof the faulty information. They must use the same interns that Project SAM does.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        Didn’t I just say not to get hung up on their using fictional facts?? So play nice kaptin. We’re talking about some very easily confused people. It just isn’t right to torment members of the prohibitionist crowd with facts and logic!

        • kaptinemo

          (Evil wolf’s grin) But, I enjoy tormenting prohibs with facts and logic!

          Are you trying to deprive me of one of the few pleasures this old f-k (pointing to self) has left?

      • DdC

        Can we really expect anything more? Sessions is an asshole. How many humans has he taken from the planet with his religionist views? Eve was made from the rib of Adam. Making them have the same DNA. Too close to reproduce, but they did. Now Cane and Able have no one to reproduce with except their mother. Well Cane that is, he killed his brother. Good start. So again incest are the seeds of Judeo-Christian evolution. Then again with Noah and everyone killed by the flood except his family. Another chapter in incest. Then Jesus is born out of rape. Then killed on a cross Christians wear proudly around their necks. The entire concept is worse than Nursery Rhymes. Is this the sort of stuff we should teach our children?

        • Windy

          IMNSHO, indoctrinating one’s children in one’s religion before those children reach the age of reason, is child abuse.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    This is just a heads up to remind you that today is World Mental Health Day and of course you know what that means.

    Sheesh, I keep hearing that the pharmaceutical companies are conspiring to get the entire citizenry on at least one maintenance prescription drug with a bias toward those brand names which are still patent protected. Did you know that there are less than 79 million Americans taking prescribed psychiatric drugs every year? That’s just barely 25% of the population!

    • claygooding

      There is a troubling statistic on mental health,,over 24% of all women are on some kind of psychological drug.

      That means there are 76% running around untreated,,,now sleep on that thought.

      • Crut

        SO glad I didn’t have coffee in my mouth just then. Haven’t heard that one in a while, and it was like reading it anew.

        Ok, Munday…

    • B. Snow

      Yep, it’s why they make a standard pill version [occasionally two] of a medicine,

      Then mostly wait about 6-to-7 years (doing paper work & whatnot) for the next step.

      That’s when they release an arguably “better version” typically a extended-(time) release and get people to switch over to this new version. That has it’s own Patent protection – and the 7 year clock restarts!

      It called “Evergreen-ing” and in for the most part, it only works…

      Because of the *Giant Lie*, that they’ve sold nearly every American on – doctors, pharmacists, & most patients/consumers.

      That less pills is better (M’kay?) – Nevermind that you are almost assuredly going to be on the same dosage.

      Or less if the politics support lower the dosage because the magic time released version makes it more bio-available to your body.
      Which is based on some degree of truth for certain meds… BUT – WhyTF are 2 Aleve better than 8 Tylenol, or 12 Aspirin?

      Unless you have severe ulcers, or a bad liver, IDK for certain what all that might be?
      .
      OTOH, I DO know that if agree with the notion that “just two Aleve can last all day” – You’re not suffering from *Minor arthritis pain*…

      But, You might instead have (as it once listed in the commercial’s) “fine print” [in white-text on a baby blue background for minimum-legiblity] *Very Minor arthritis pain*.

      Back to Evergreen-ing they will often go to a third (or fourth) ‘sustained release’ version that (guess what?) Renews the patent clock for generic versions of the “New Version” = which is typically what doctors will prescribe – UNLESS you know what the difference between them is = often nothing except for a higher price.

      Semi-OT: It’s amazing what some Docs don’t know – if you can very subtlety enlighten them or make them aware of things. [Like, certain differences in the sorts of generic drugs your pharmacy carries and/or insurance pays for… sometimes they just don’t know.]

      *Important Note, often you must let them pretend they came across the knowledge elsewhere – which in a fashion may be the truthiness – because in many cases, they might only see you for a very short time during a visit… and can/could absorb info then (possibly/plausibly) forget where they stumbled upon it.

      In my experience you’re better off – not attempting to take any credit in such *theoretical* situations.

      What Doctor can attribute anecdotal evidence from a patient as a reason for anything they do, or any changes in their practices’ and be taken seriously?

      I would give a specific example or two if they were a bit more Couch-relative, but they really aren’t… And I’ve rambled on too long here already for today.

  • Servetus

    One must follow the eyes of the disinterested and disengaged if one wants to influence the public. Only TV and cinema offer such opportunities.

    Hollywood could devise an epic depiction of a police crime ring that thrives from federal or state licenses to steal, otherwise known as forfeitures. There are a number of approaches to viable movie or TV scripts, featuring the medieval equivalent of forfeiture called confiscation, or the present means adopted by police agencies in the United States. That they haven’t done so is telling.

    The problem may be that Hollywood is too busy creating iconic police/authoritarian screen heroes to bother with a truthful social reality. Viewers want to believe they live in Camelot, a magical kingdom where the government always works. The result has been a string of Hollywood productions in past decades that openly depicts cop corruption and police violations of human rights as insignificant to the immediate goal of stopping the crook. Someone did a study on police TV shows in the 70s and discovered that there were dozens of gratuitous civil rights violations that millions of viewers would see TV cops committing every evening. The morality in Hollywood cop dramas is always the same; the ends justifies the means, never that means and ends must both be justified.

    Hollywood’s love affair with the violent, criminal cop, is an excuse to use violence in action scenes that the public happily consumes. People then believe if the police do it, it must be okay because it’s done to criminals; the state can do no wrong, Camelot lives.

    Forcing the Hollywood moguls to change their tune about pandering to police corruption may be difficult, as it affects box office receipts. But it’s not impossible.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Well it’s not quite the same as the judge shushing the defendant’s attorney rather than ruling on his objection. Seeing a State Appellate Court rule on and strike down a Federal law is another good one. I find it positively precious when one of my police procedurals set in New York City finds the authorities cracking down on the out of control “epidemic” methamphetamine trade. Only in an alternate universe does New York City have a meth “epidemic.”

      It’s fiction Servetus, get over it. Your analysis needs to be filed in the same category as the prohibitionist claptrap that says that talking about cannabis law reform causes “the children” to think that cannabis isn’t the devil’s lettuce and they end up addicted to heroin. Stereotyping/profiling isn’t good for your eyes because it causes tunnel vision. You’ve also got your cause and effect bass ackward.

      • Servetus

        I’m thinking of previous Hollywood genres like blacksploitation flicks. Those are now recognized for what they were, a provocation targeting blacks, or at least a dog whistle, favoring violence. Drugsploitation productions also exist. The stereotype of the mega-rich drug dealer enjoying the American dream, and then some, is a provocation directed at the poor that might prompt them to get involved in the drugs market. Clint Eastwood called it out in an interview when he noted the Dirty Harry series of movies sometimes featuring a few bad apples in the police department made money, but an Eastwood film called The Gauntlet, depicting corrupt cops en masse, didn’t.

  • Francis

    Study: Congress literally doesn’t care what you think

    Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a simple question: Does the government represent the people?

    Their study took data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up becoming law. In other words, they compared what the public wanted to what the government actually did. What they found was extremely unsettling: The opinions of 90% of Americans have essentially no impact at all.

    Gilens & Page found that the number of Americans for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.

    “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

    One thing that does have an influence? Money. While the opinions of the bottom 90% of income earners in America have a “statistically non-significant impact,” Economic elites, business interests, and people who can afford lobbyists still carry major influence.

    So only seven percent of Americans think it’s ok for the police to take your stuff, no charges needed? Well, it appears it’s the right seven percent.

    • DdC

      Study: Congress literally doesn’t care what you think

      The feeling is mutual, so they should pay me to not care what they think. Actually I really don’t want to know how they think. It must be a lonely, cold, damp, dark place.

      According to some experts Integrity Disqualifies anyone for the White House
      The electoral system has developed a number of safeguards over the past few decades to prevent someone with independence and backbone from occupying the Presidency.

      Who’s Really Fighting Legal Weed
      ☛ 3/4th of a Century of Gossip and Gutter Science
      ☛ A Very Lucrative Evil Hoax
      ☛ Survey of the Endocannabinoid System in Medical Schools”
      Only 13% of the medical schools surveyed mention the endocannabinoid science to our future doctors. Not one of the medical schools surveyed had a department of endocannabinoid science or an ECS director. None of them taught the endocannabinoid science as an organized course.

      California Cops Are Trained ‘Marijuana Is Not A Medicine

      The political repression of the scientific study of cannabis.

      They want to ██████ the Internet
      ☛ Freedom of the Press Foundation
      ☛ Now They’re Coming For The 1st?
      ☛ Drug War Killings

      “There is a point at which the law becomes immoral and unethical. That point is reached when it becomes a cloak for the cowardice that dares not stand up against blatant violations of justice. A state that supresses all freedom of speech, and which by imposing the most terrible punishments, treats each and every attempt at criticism, however morally justified, and every suggestion for improvement as plotting to high treason, is a state that breaks an unwritten law.”
      ~ Kurt Huber,
      The head of “White Rose”,
      killed by the Nazis in 1943.

      • Francis

        The feeling is mutual, so they should pay me to not care what they think

        Exactly. In my opinion, the real problem isn’t that the assclowns calling themselves “Congress” don’t care what 90% of us think. It’s that 90-plus percent of us still care what they think — imagining them to have some kind of “authority” over our lives.

      • Windy

        Integrity? Bernie actually has no more integrity than any democrat or republican, he speaks one way and votes another, that is NOT integrity.

        • primus

          As a Canadian observer of the US election cycle, I am only aware of what is on the internet about Bernie and the others. According to many commentators, Bernie has more integrity than most. I am not challenging what you say, it is just that you disagree with many commenters I have seen. Could you please cite examples of what you describe?

        • darkcycle

          When he has voted against bills he had supported, it was because of riders applied to those bills that he found objectionable. He’s still a politician, but he still has his integrity mostly intact. I’ll make it clear, I don’t always agree with him, but I admire his commitment to his principles.

        • Windy

          Primus, he rails against the bankers and yet voted for every bailouts “stimulus”. He railed against the federal debt yet voted to raise the debt ceiling every time it came before the Senate. Claimed to support auditing the fed, but gutted it to make it toothless, Ron Paul was VERY disappointed with him over that. Here’s some links:
          http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ca4_1273233440

          “Bernie Sanders has sold out and has sided with Chris Dodd to gut Audit the Fed in the Senate. His “compromise” is what the Administration and banking interests want – they’ll allow the TARP and TALF to be audited, but no transparency of monetary policy decisions,discount window operations or agreement with foreign central banks. We need to take action and stop this!” – Ron Paul

          http://www.ronpaullibertyreport.com/article-archives/bernie-sanders-his-war-against-supply-and-demand

          While page after page can be written to refute the positions that Sanders holds, in the interest of brevity, let’s just focus on one issue, and hopefully it can easily be seen how misinformed and confused Sanders really is.

          http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/heres-why-bernie-sanders-is-wrong-about-everything/

          Senator Bernie Sanders recently published an op-ed in the Huffington Post where he makes numerous claims about the economy. In typical leftist political theater, his narratives are either grossly misrepresented or outright lies, nor does he include a single citation for his wild claims.

          From “stagnant middle class” and “income inequality” to “child poverty” and “evil corporations”, his analysis employs one step thinking and over-generalization to draw incomplete conclusions. I will directly address some of his specific claims.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBIKP4W50-I

          Senator Bernie Sanders thinks you can delegate a right that you do not have. Absurd. The interview is about his theory of legitimate government and where the right to govern comes from, as well as a proper legal system. Senator Bernie Sanders thinks you can delegate a right that you do not have. Do you agree? – Watch the off camera harassment at the end revealing Sanders vindictiveness.

          http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/2094

          How much more out of touch than that do you have to be to assert that “just 37 percent of Americans have more than one option for high-speed broadband providers?”

          http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-461-the-fallacies-of-bernie-sanders/

        • DdC

          Windy you sorta missed the point of changing the original title. “According to some experts Integrity Disqualifies anyone for the White House” As for Integrity of those running, Bernie wins by a landslide. Not that it has anything whatsoever do due with the post that Congress doesn’t listen. Or the examples of cops taught bullshit or doctors not taught a thing. Or the profits in prohibition and the means to keep them with censorship and propaganda.

          Ron Paul: I don’t believe in evolution
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JyvkjSKMLw

        • claygooding

          Exactly who do you think is running,besides Bernie,,that can be elected,,if it comes down to Clinton,Sanders or Biden which one do you think is best. Surely your not insinuating Clinton or Biden have any integrity.

          And if you think any (R) running is going to end the war on drugs please spread the knowledge,,cause all they have is a bunch of warmongers that won’t end any war they are making money from.

        • Windy

          NOT ONE of those who’ve already declared as candidates is worthy, none of them have any integrity, and I’m talking BOTH parties; and if any one of them wind up the nominee and then the president the outcome will be the same as what we’ve already suffered, only even worse. I will NEVER, ever, vote for any candidate from either of those parties for ANY position in any level of government. It’s a waste of time to vote in the presidential races, primary or general elections, your vote doesn’t count because the electoral college is not required to cast their votes for the candidate who won the popular vote in their State. All a vote in that race is, is an advisory that will be ignored if it doesn’t fit the plan of the shadow government. I will cast a vote for the libertarian candidate and I hope a whole lot of other people who never have voted libertarian before, will, just so the LP can get a high enough percentage of the vote to start being acknowledged by the MSM, and will get to expose the great mass of TV voters (the one’s who think if the candidate isn’t in the news he’s not worth listening to or voting for) to a different (IMO, better) philosophy. If people cannot bring themselves to challenge the machine by voting libertarian, I wish they would just not vote in the presidential race at all, until better candidates are offered for a change. Better candidates would be ones who support the government obeying the Constitution 24/7.

  • Servetus

    Speaking of highway robbery, theft of reputation is a problem in drug wars. For instance, I didn’t know it was against the law in some places to smell like marijuana. Someone should invent a marijuana cologne and hack the system. Call it ‘Hayden Long #1’:

    An Ohio high school student reportedly committed suicide after being ‘verbally assaulted’ by his school administrators and a police officer for smelling like marijuana, according to an open letter which is gaining traction online.[…]

    In the letter, Hank describes how he and Hayden – along with four other honor students – were accused of smelling like the drug at the school’s homecoming celebrations.

    After a two-week suspension, elimination from all sports, and a loss of his driver’s license, the student also claims how he was exposed to things he would ‘never want to see again’, including being questioned without his parents, having his keys forcibly taken from him and having his car searched.

    When he tried to stand up for himself at the police station, Hank claims he was told: “It’s cute you think you know your rights.”

    Describing how Hayden was ‘verbally attacked’ by the men, Hank adds: “He was directly told that he had ruined his life by his school administrators. The students were told they would fail their classes, had ruined their academic careers, and made the biggest mistake of their life.”

    The petition to fire various actors in this drama is closed and has been presented. The commenters are angry. This is your country on drug laws.

  • jean valjean

    UK Justice Secretary visits Texan drug courts with a view to adopting the system for Britain. This will be presented to the British public as “caring conservatism,” but a closer look reveals that the Texan judge boasts that “one man who struggled to curb his addictions” was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.” So much for Kevin Sabet’s fantasy third way.
    Needless to say there is no mention of re-legalization as a way to resolve Britain’s drug war induced crime rate.
    With supreme irony the Mail infers that this “liberal” policy will “empty our jails” and release criminals onto Britain’s streets.

    http://tinyurl.com/o9juyou

  • jean valjean

    Neill Franklin of LEAP interview:

    “Law enforcement could also choose to bow out of any financially incentivized policing initiatives, such as civil asset forfeiture and grant funding where arrest numbers are a major qualifier in the application process. By adopting these few basic practices, law enforcement would become more focused upon preventing and solving violent crime….

    When we finally end our failed War on Drugs and drug prohibition, and instead move into a place of legalization, regulation and control, we immediately put 90% of all violent drug gangs and the cartels out of business. This change by itself would enable us to focus our police officers like a laser on murder, rape, robbery, burglary, domestic violence, crimes against our children and identity theft, just to name a few. These are crimes that truly impact people, families and neighborhoods. Police will then have an opportunity to become peace officers once again and champions of the community.”

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/why-man-who-fought-drug-war-30-years-now-spearheading-project-stop-it

  • Windy

    We need to STOP asking, begging really, for re-legalization and instead start DEMANDING that congress and every State legislature completely REPEAL PROHIBITION!

  • Mike

    4-20 mile walk/run/roll start of http://cannaballrun.com/
    on Sat Oct 17 Santa Monica