California now requires conviction before civil asset forfeiture


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/30/california-now-requires-convic.html


#2

I haven’t read anything but the headline, and I already want to spike a football and run around screaming for joy.

Rarely has anything been quite so shitty (in practice, if not in theory) as civil asset forfeiture.


#3

This is good to hear, but given how a single vehicle can be worth over $40,000, the fact that the law only applies to amounts under that is still a big loophole. Better than it was, though. Not sure how this applies to car seizures like Oakland has done to suspected Johns (even seizing cars that were actually owned by 3d parties). That should have been prohibited under the old law, but they still did it IIRC. Or places like Vallejo, where supposedly they set “DUI” checks and seize vehicles for things like late registrations that have nothing to do with DUIs.


#4

SHEESH Whatever happened to guilty until proven innocent???


#5

So I’m not familiar with California’s or the federal civil asset forfeiture laws, I am just going on this article, but it sounds like if the state can manage to get some sort of criminal conviction on you then they can seize your house AND your car AND your boat AND any cash assets you have up to $40,000. So basically it sounds like a way to steal someone’s stuff, bankrupt them, and simultaneously make them unemployable. Which for some drug kingpin BigBad, maybe you want that, but I don’t see any stipulation on the criminal charge here. I mean you can get arrested and convicted for “resisting arrest” for doing nothing. How is this new rule any better than it has been?

Or do I have this all wrong?


#6

Well that’s fine as long as you’re one of the good guys. But what if you were bad? Why would anybody assume a bad guy is innocent?


#7

The new rule is that there has to be an actual conviction at all.

Federally and in most states, the police can simply assume that your possessions have something to do with drug running, so they are then allowed to just take it. That’s it. End of story. If you have some resources you can get a trial, but the trials are US City of Shitsville v 10 $100 US bills. And not against you.

So the long and the short of it is, they now need a conviction against a human, instead of just wanting your stuff. And now you are the one who goes to trial instead of your inanimate objects.


#8

A step in the right direction, but of course this doesn’t solve the “just because” asset forfeitures that occur after just about any conviction, whereupon the police take a person’s shit/house/vehicle because it could maybe sorta kinda be connected to the crime in question.


#9

The American “justice” system is not just killing members of your underclass; it’s also systematically looting them.


#10

Let’s hope the other states do as well (those that need to). Isn’t most of the civil asset forfeiture happening at the state level?


#11

Good.

Next?

P.S. Civil forfeiture is a crime against humanity, imo.


#12

Civil forfeiture is straight-up bullshit. These agencies need no extra funding post 9 1 1


#13

Good. Ridiculous that this was required, instead of a swift beatdown by the Supreme Court.


#14

SCOTUS can’t do it because there’s no standing. Or rather, the standing apparently lies with the loot itself. So the actual people with legal agency are left out of the legal process with no recourse. It’s a complete corruption of the legal system.


#15

nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

So the US constitution is seen like some sort of sacred text … until it isn’t convenient any more.


#16

Don’t worry, we’re charging your money and possessions with crimes. Not you. So you’ll never see it again, because it can’t consent to legal representation and really technically doesn’t have a power of attorney to grant.


#17

With this line of reasoning the gun problem in the USA could evaporate over night.

“No, we don’t deprive you of your 2nd amendment rights. We’re just charging your gun as a murder suspect.”


#18

It could. But people who want to take guns away from others also don’t like being shot.

That’s my hunch about the quagmire of firearms legislation. One side doesn’t want to harm people and the other side feels harming people is fine and also owns about 500 300 million devices designed for killing a lot of people as quickly as possible.


#19

Well yes. Pillage, then burn!


#20

According to the language of the actual statute, it has to be a conviction for the cultivation or manufacture of illegal drugs.

“This bill would require a prosecuting agency to seek or obtain a criminal conviction for the unlawful manufacture or cultivation of any controlled substance or its precursors”

There’s also some language about actually having to show that the forfeiture is to recover the costs of the seizure of the drugs, costs of prosecution, etc. In other words, it actually appears to codify the original intent of civil asset forfeiture, which was to offset the costs of investigation and prosecution of drug lords. In other words, if you just get pulled over by some county sheriff, and his drug sniffing dog alerts on your car, there’s no way they could seize anything because they’d never get a conviction for cultivation or manufacture of drugs. The most they’d ever convict you of on that would be possession, which wouldn’t meet the requirements of this new law. There’s actually a lot of good stuff in this law, if you read it.