"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Law 'n' Order -- We Don't Need No Stinkin' Constitution

Running true to form, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III comes down on the side of the police state:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has expanded the authority of law enforcement to seize criminal suspects' money and property, bucking a movement in Congress and many states to rein in a practice that critics said led to flagrant abuses and was unconstitutional.

The Justice Department announced Wednesday it was restoring so-called adoptive forfeitures, where local or state authorities can seize valuable assets from suspects under federal law, circumventing more restrictive state laws.

Asset forfeitures are controversial because law enforcement agencies often take possession of cars, homes, jewelry and cash from suspects implicated in drug deals or other crimes without first obtaining convictions or, in some cases, indictments.

I wonder how many gun-totin' white supremacists are going to have their possessions seized? Oh, wait: It's all about the War on Drugs, and we know who's involved in that.

In the previous eight years, adoptive forfeitures — mostly by the Drug Enforcement Administration — had garnered about $880 million, according to a March report by the Justice Department's Inspector General.

The report found that many of the forfeiture cases were not linked to provable crimes. It cited a case in South Florida that led to seizures of $49 million but not one criminal indictment.

You know where that money goes? Into the budgets of the police departments.

And strangely enough, it's the police departments who are in favor:

"We heard loudly and clearly from local police agencies that they think this is a valuable tool," Rosenstein said.

It's painfully obvious that the arguments in favor of this policy are so much bullshit, and it's also obvious that it violates Constitutional requirements for due process.

They can't even get Republicans on board:

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who sponsored legislation this year to more tightly regulate asset forfeiture, called the new policy "a troubling decision for the due process protections afforded to us" under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

"Criminals shouldn't be able to keep the proceeds of their crime but innocent Americans shouldn't lose their right to due process, or their private property rights, in order to make that happen," Issa said in a statement.

Six members of the Senate urged Sessions in a May 31 letter to revise the asset forfeiture policies in light of increasing indications that the Supreme Court views the practice as unconstitutional.

"Instead of revising forfeiture practices in a manner to better protect Americans' due process rights, the (Justice Department) seems determined to lose in court before it changes its policies for the better," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, one of the six, said in a statement Wednesday.

Welcome to Trump's America.

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