Kansas cops love confiscating cash and property. A new law forces them to declare what they take

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/04/12/kansas-cops-love-confiscating-cash-and-property-a-new-law-forces-them-to-declare-what-they-take.html


Yeah. How about just repealing it entirely? Was that not an option? I will never, ever understand how this doesn’t violate the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. I mean, I know why they say it doesn’t. They created this legal fiction where the property itself is sued, but that is asinine. You can’t sue animals. You can’t, in any other situation I’m aware of, sue inanimate objects. I get the frustration at seeing the perpetrators of organized crime profit from their crimes with very little consequences, but that shouldn’t make it ok to bypass the fundamental principal of our justice system: that everyone is innocent until the state proves otherwise. It’s not just that civil asset forfeiture is prone to abuse. It is, by its very nature, abusive.

nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

I don’t see how any civil asset forfeiture statute can possibly be Constitutional. That language is not ambiguous. The courts have just decided to ignore it because “drug dealers are bad.”


The FBI should run sting operations, catch criminal cops.


That wouldn’t help here, because civil asset forfeiture is legal, and the FBI uses it too.


Ahhhh yes.
The 1980s.
And I still haven’t written my thank you note to Ronald Reagan, alas.

Civil forfeiture in the United States is a holdover from English law. It was commonly used by the government during the Prohibition era to seize the property of bootleggers in an attempt to stymie the production and sale of illicit alcohol. When Prohibition ended, civil forfeiture was still available but not so commonly used until the War on Drugs began in the 1980’s. In response to increased concerns about the bustling drug trade and other criminal activity …


Civil asset forfeiture is a tool law enforcement uses to seize property they believe has been or will be involved in a crime. The property may be cash, a car, personal belongings, or even a house. Under Texas law, an asset forfeiture proceeding is civil and the property, not the owner, is charged with involvement in a crime. It has been shown that law enforcement agencies are using civil asset forfeiture to fill gaps in their budgets. According to data acquired from the Texas Office of the Attorney General, in just 11 Texas counties alone, they spent asset forfeiture funds on the following expenses between 2011 and 2013: over $41 million on equipment, over $20 million on salaries and overtime, over $6 million on facility costs, and over $4.5 million on “miscellaneous fees.”

This practice raises the concern that law enforcement is “policing for profit" and relying on asset forfeiture as a regular source of income. In many cases, this occurs at the expense of vulnerable populations in Texas who actually obtained the items or property legally. The onus is on the property owners to prove their innocence, and the only way to recover the property is to successfully defend their right to the property in the county or jurisdiction in which the property was seized. Reports and research indicate that the vast majority of cases go uncontested by owners, which results in the state winning its case by default judgment. Expenses associated with mounting a defense — such as hiring an attorney, missing work to go to court, traveling outside of their hometown to the jurisdiction in which it occurred — often prohibits owners from trying to retrieve their property.

[emphasis added]

It’s gonna be really hard to get the hogs’ noses outta that tasty tasty trough…


Never understood the whole “the people vs $4.57” way of seeming charging the property with a crime, so there is no 14th amendment protection. Why is this even allowed?


i’m wondering if the 23.1milion is the street value of their seizures. /s jk


I’m still on the fence if I should piss on Reagan’s grave or perform the full dumpy on it, TBH.


Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon

It should absolutely be unconstitutional. This is state-sponsered theft.

If it is so important to crime prevention (which I don’t think it is) then the department that seized it shouldn’t be able to keep any of it. It should all go to the feds and every penny the feds receive should be spent only on health and human services like drug addiction programs, community improvement, aid to the elderly or disabled, mental health initiatives, and food banks. The kind of things that have been proven to reduce crime in a community
Or all the money should go to funding local public defenders.

If the assholes can’t keep it, they will be far less likely to seize so much and fight to keep it one they’ve stolen it.


It’s worse than that. It’s the government suing the property in civil court. Thus the ‘civil’ part of civil asset forfeiture. If it were criminal, the burden would be on the state to prove that the property was obtained as the result of criminal activity. Because it’s civil, the burden of proof shifts to the property owner to prove that it wasn’t the result of criminal activity. And I’m pretty sure everyone here is very familiar with the difficulties in proving a negative.


Yeah, that’s worse. Fuck…


Good step in the right direction.

Civil forfeiture is bullshit.


It is, unfortunately fenced now, and video monitored, because great minds think alike. Not that I would have ever considered such a thing myself, you understand.


The fence is removable so important people can get their photo op “praying” at it, but folks such as you and I can’t do that.


… I see the War on Drugs of the 1970s has gone down the memory hole :disappointed:


Not entirely. Tricky Dick certainly used it as cover to go after the antiwar movement.

Fifty Years Ago Today, President Nixon Declared the War on Drugs | Vera Institute

But Reagan ramped it up dramatically to prove his conservative bona fides.

I am probably oversimplifying drastically, certainly not a historian, just old enough to have lived through it.


are you saying there are zero rules to cops seizing a civilian’s assets?

the FBI runs sting operations all the time to catch dirty cops. exactly why can’t they do it here?

No, I didn’t say that. This post is about civil asset forfeiture. Which is legal. It shouldn’t be, but it is. There’s nothing for the FBI to investigate.


Super Soaker has a range of 30-50 feet if you plan ahead.


I was thinking that rotten eggs could be thrown, but that’s V clever.


Yeah, it’s just so blatant! A real slap in the face of the supposed basic principles upon which the country was founded - due process and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances (which is also either partially or completely denied in asset forfeiture cases).

It made sense in the original usage, which involved pirate ships, didn’t it? - it doesn’t matter who technically owns them, they’re the actual instruments for perpetrating the crime. It makes no sense in pretty much any other context.

But it’s ultimately quite telling about the nature of justice in the country- we’re willing to have this blatantly unconstitutional practice, but apply it unevenly. Poor people are subject to this, not the Sacklers.

And as it is now, cops in e.g. Texas are literally taking the gold crucifixes off the necks of people for whom that’s the only thing of value they own, and using the money to buy themselves shit for their police break rooms. They’ve maximized the corruption element.