Here on Survival Joe, we’ve talked quite a few times about civil asset forfeiture, and law enforcement’s abuse of this practice.
But here’s an astounding fact:
Civil asset forfeiture differs from criminal forfeiture because the property, not an individual, is the target of an investigation. Law enforcement officials, including local police, may seize your stuff based on nothing more than a suspicion, such as a person possessing large amounts of cash.
Getting the property back can be long, costly, and maybe impossible, even if no criminal charges are ever filed. Depending on the amount seized and the person’s situation, the time and cost involved may not justify the effort.
According to a 2014 Washington Post investigation, since the 9/11 attacks nearly 70,000 cash seizures totaling $2.5 billion have occurred without warrants or indictments. One sixth of them were challenged, and only 41 percent of those had their money returned.
The Institute for Justice claims the Justice Department’s Assets Forfeiture Fund reported nearly $29 billion worth of seized assets between 2001 and 2014—$4.5 billion in 2014 alone. And those figures don’t count all assets taken and kept by the states.
Even more troubling, between 1997 and 2013, 13 percent of those forfeitures were for criminal activities, while 87 percent were civil.
Keep in mind, these are civil asset grabs, not criminal.
All the government needs is a suspicion… you have too much cash, you make too many cash deposits to your bank account, you make unusual bank deposits…
It’s on suspicion alone that the government can seize and tie up your assets for years.
Then, at your time and expense you must fight them to get your property back.
It’s the government assuming you’re guilty and you must prove your innocence.
The exact opposite of how the United States justice system is intended to work.