Free Markets, Free People

Legalized theft: civil forfeiture

From my earliest days of blogging I’ve been talking about this (i.e. civil forfeiture) and still, nothing has been done to stop it.  It is legalized theft, plain and simple.  And it still makes me as angry as can be:

"If somebody told me this happened to them, I absolutely would not believe this could happen in America."

That was the reaction of a New Jersey man who found out just how risky it can be to carry cash through Tennessee.

In this latest case, a Monterey police officer took $22,000 off the driver — even though he had committed no crime.

"You live in the United States, you think you have rights — and apparently you don’t," said George Reby.

I want you to read carefully the arrogance implicit in the “law” that these sorts of forfeitures represent.  A more convoluted and outrageous example of the tyranny of the law I can’t imagine (although I’m sure there are many):

Reby was driving down Interstate 40, heading west through Putnam County, when he was stopped for speeding.

A Monterey police officer wanted to know if he was carrying any large amounts of cash.

"I said, ‘Around $20,000,’" he recalled. "Then, at the point, he said, ‘Do you mind if I search your vehicle?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t mind.’ I certainly didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong. It was my money."

That’s when Officer Larry Bates confiscated the cash based on his suspicion that it was drug money.

"Why didn’t you arrest him?" we asked Bates.

"Because he hadn’t committed a criminal law," the officer answered.

Uh, then why did you take his freakin’ money?

Bates said the amount of money and the way it was packed gave him reason to be suspicious.

"The safest place to put your money if it’s legitimate is in a bank account," he explained. "He stated he had two. I would put it in a bank account. It draws interest and it’s safer."

"But it’s not illegal to carry cash," we noted.

"No, it’s not illegal to carry cash," Bates said. "Again, it’s what the cash is being used for to facilitate or what it is being utilized for."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted, "But you had no proof that money was being used for drug trafficking, correct? No proof?"

"And he couldn’t prove it was legitimate," Bates insisted.


He shouldn’t have to prove anything.  Not his freakin’ job!  That’s the law’s job.  And as is obvious, they’ve got zip in that regard.  But that aside, they also have his money.

Read the rest if you have the stomach for it.  It actually gets worse.

This has been going on for years and years.  It is a legal travesty driven by the “war on drugs”, it is taking without due process and it should have been stopped years ago.

Yet here we are.


Twitter: @McQandO

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15 Responses to Legalized theft: civil forfeiture

  • It also bears mentioning that in these asset forfeiture cases, they legally *don’t* need to prove that the carrier of cash broke a law.  In fact, the man will never be charged with a crime…  But the money might be!

    • To get released, apparently, the money has to file suit, not the person (who probably has no legal standing in the case).

      • Yeah.  This is actually an interesting (if you’re warped like me) little topic in the law.  It comes from admiralty law, where the vessel is a fictional person, and may be arrested.  I always wanted to arrest a vessel.
        The object is the party…as in “The United States v. A 2001 Buick”.

  • This is one of the WORST of the many bad things to come out of the war on drugs.  One of…

    • But dude!  We’re WINNING!!!!!!  That’s why we’re employing DRONES now to fly overhead and keep an eye on things!  And why you can’t call payphones in most areas any more, and why we have no-knock warrants and grandmas gunning down police and police gunning down grandma and the doggies at the wrong house, because we’re winning!

  • yeah, now walk it forward a couple more yards and see WHO DOES get the cash.  It just gets better and better and better.

  • I suggest that you tell the officer at the time of the seizure that “it’s a loan.”  Then put a lien on the officer’s house and car.

    • I suggest you keep your mouth shut when police stop you, and politely tell them NO! when they ask to search your car, home, etc.
      DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS.  Smile amiably.

  • If Obama has his way, that’s the amount of cash you’ll have to take with you to fill your gas tank.

  • The guy was not stopped for speeding, that is bogus. The cash carries a radio signature within it. a little strip that cannot be seen. The interstates have radio towers with computers set to recognize large amounts of cash. This is ostensibly to stop drug dealers.
    Of course the drug dealers no longer carry large amounts of cash for this reason, so it’s not really doing any good against them.

    • At least, as of yet, the strips are not RFID capable.  Don’t give them ideas.