How The Justice Department Is Actively Preventing Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

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Civil asset forfeiture is one of the most unethical and barbaric practices routinely performed by law enforcement in these United States today. Naturally, the Department of Justice is doing everything it can to protect the practice.

When I say that the rule of law is dead in America, I am not exaggerating. In fact, with each passing day it becomes increasingly obvious that the Justice Department not only has no interest in justice, it appears to view its primary role as coddling and protecting lawlessness amongst the so-called “elite” and their minions.

Today’s post proves the point once again. The state of California is in the process of passing a civil asset forfeiture bill, and in response, the DOJ is providing talking points to the California District Attorneys’ Association so that it can more effectively fight the bill. All of this after the DOJ had previously expressed faux support for civil asset forfeiture reform.

TechDirt reports:

At the beginning of this year, Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to close an exploitable loophole in asset forfeiture laws. State and local law enforcement agencies often sought federal “adoption” of seizures in order to route around statutes that dumped assets into general funds or otherwise limited them from directly profiting from these seizures. By partnering with federal agencies, local law enforcement often saw bigger payouts than with strictly local forfeitures.


The loophole closure still had its own loopholes (seizures for “public safety,” various criminal acts), but it did make a small attempt to straighten out some really perverted incentives. But deep down inside, it appears the DOJ isn’t really behind true forfeiture reform. In fact, it seems to be urging local law enforcement to fight these efforts by pointing out just how much money these agencies will “lose” if they can’t buddy up with Uncle Sam.


A cache of documents uncovered by the Institute for Justice today demonstrate that federal law enforcement officials in the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Treasury are collaborating with local law enforcement organizations in California to undermine efforts to reform the state’s civil forfeiture laws. The California District Attorneys Association is circulating a set of emails from officials with the DOJ and Treasury indicating that the federal government would disqualify the state from receiving funds from the federal Equitable Sharing Program if it passes the pending reforms. The documents also reveal that the DOJ has already disqualified New Mexico from participating in the program, following passage of a sweeping civil forfeiture reform bill this spring.


The DOJ’s insertion into the legislative process begins with talking points delivered in emails that stress the amount of money agencies will be “losing” if they’re no longer allowed to federalize seizures. The documents show members of the Treasury Department affirming that California’s reform will “force” the DOJ to cut state law enforcement agencies out of the loop — supposedly because the Mother Ship can’t secure convictions fast enough.

Citing “resources, desire, or technical capability,” Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture Legal Counsel Melissa Nasrah wrote in an email to Santa Barbara Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter, “I highly doubt our federal agencies can figure out whether a conviction occurred in any timely manner,” and “it seems the legislation, in effect, takes decision-making authority away from Treasury. Accordingly, I think I would still advise our policy officials here that it would be prudent to not share with CA agencies should this law be passed.”


Sure enough, the “warnings” from the feds are echoed in a letter from the California District Attorneys’ Association in opposition of the bill. The association expresses its abject dismay at the fact that law enforcement agencies might actually have to secure convictions to hold onto seized assets. According to the CDAA, asset forfeiture without accompanying convictions is a must because indictments and jail time alone aren’t punitive enough.

The current version of the bill would essentially deny every law enforcement agency in California direct receipt of any forfeited assets. California’s asset forfeiture law will be changed for the worse, and it will cripple the ability of law enforcement to forfeit assets from drug dealers when arrest and incarceration is an incomplete strategy for combatting drug trafficking.

That the DOJ has decided to pile on — despite its nominal reform efforts — is also less than shocking. After all, it takes a cut from every “adopted” investigation — all the while enabling local entities to bypass statutory safeguards meant to keep the abuse of civil forfeiture to a minimum.

To read the entire letter from the California District Attorneys’ Association, go to the end of the TechDirt article.

In case you still aren’t convinced of the unethical and unconstitutional nature of civil asset forfeiture, i.e., police theft, check out the following:

Land of the Unfree – Police and Prosecutors Fight Aggressively to Retain Barbaric Right of “Civil Asset Forfeiture”

The DEA Strikes Again – Agents Seize Man’s Life Savings Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Without Charges

Asset Forfeiture – How Cops Continue to Steal Americans’ Hard Earned Cash with Zero Repercussions

Quote of the Day – An Incredible Statement from the City Attorney of Las Cruces, New Mexico

“Common People Do Not Carry This Much U.S. Currency…” – This is How Police Justify Stealing American Citizens’ Money

Why You Should Never, Ever Drive Through Tenaha, Texas

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surf0766's picture

Dear Leaders 2016 Wealth Redistribution

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Statism is live and well in Amerika!

Barnaby's picture

As is Outback Steakism, mate.

knukles's picture

Q: How do Chinese people name their babies?
A: They throw them down the stairs to see what noise they make.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

well the police agencies in USA have not issued face masks to the general leo's prevent us citizens from knowing who is enforcing da Law. however try taking pictures of leo's doing the .gov job- you might get ruffed up ..the day will come when they will all be masked and anonymous. as they rule us.

StychoKiller's picture

Nay, throw a handful of forks and spoons in the air, and derive the name from the noises they make from hitting the ground.

Barnaby's picture

We reformed some folks.

Barnaby's picture

And when we've got a media whore like Judge Joe Brown calling our penal system something akin to slavery, you make a great point.

runswithscissors's picture

life, liberty, and property...the department of "just us" is on the job depriving Americans of all three


q99x2's picture

Fuck all that and recede from the fascists that overthrew the US Government. As if we need a buch of parasitical perverts running our lives. Fuck them. Fuck Goldman Sachs, Fuck the FED and Fuck Jamie Dimon too.

Whodathunkit's picture

We can all become partisans. Go after the SS

Teh Finn's picture
Teh Finn (not verified) Sep 15, 2015 8:42 PM

Rise of the Praetorian Class.

Barnaby's picture

Except they're all still civilian. Sad brass jewelry might stop a slug, but it won't make me feel bad for the sap who wears a badge.

Rusty Shorts's picture

Someone posted this the other day, perfect!!

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

And a footnote to add to this read...

Be very discrete with friends, family and anyone else you know that you don't want to know that you are in the process of making a transfer of shall we say valuables from point A to B on any listening devices before said transfer!...

I foresee a day in the not too distant where civil forfeiture has no bounderies to thejurisdiction outside the edge of your driveway to the "curb" if they understand the quality and quantity to what you carry!


Rusty Shorts's picture

Last year the DHS Science and Technology Directorate called on private companies to design “a device that will search for and identify bulk quantities of currency - secreted on persons, in hand baggage and luggage, and/or in privately owned vehicles.”

The agency sought to purchase a non-intrusive detection device that would be capable of screening a person walking with luggage or a slowly-driven vehicle for cash.

Last October, DHS awarded three companies $100,000 to conduct feasibility studies that concluded last week.

DHS is currently reviewing the proposals and will decide if any of the ideas from Lattice Government Services Inc., Intelligent Automation Inc., or Connecticut Analytical Corp are worth investing in.

The agency will come to a conclusion within the next thirty to sixty days, and if a company is chosen it will develop a prototype and begin field-testing.

But it seems that the technology to accomplish its goals may not exist yet as there are several large technical and logistical hurdles that must be overcome.

Paul Burgess, the chief executive of Lattice Inc., explained some of the difficulties that his company faced in developing their concept.

“It isn’t just currency moving through an airport, a body scanner will pick that up. The bigger problem is at border crossings. You can put money in a side door and it’s going to be very difficult to detect,” he said.

In addition, DHS required that the scanners be able to detect U.S. and Canadian dollars as well as euros.


EDIT - this article 4-5 years ago

Earl Slaughter-- Truck Driver.'s picture

At one time, it was possible to believe that this government was intended to serve the interests of the American people...


Run, fight, or be raped...'s good to have choices, I guess.

Implied Violins's picture

1. Tazed, beaten, choke held, pepper-sprayed, or shot while:

2. Holding your hands up, running away, asking for help, grabbing your cane/phone/wallet/child/pet, or abiding lawfully in your home.

Mix and match! All combos pay off for the men in blue!

delacroix's picture

"stop resisting" thump thump

Ms No's picture

Nothing pisses me off more than this, damn my asshole hurts.

A Lunatic's picture

Try rubbing a fluffy kitten on it........

Ace Ventura's picture

OK now that is funny.....I don't care who ya'are.......


HippieHaulers's picture

One thing that is not pointed out in these articles that I have seen is the differing laws state to state. This happened to a friend of mine in Arizona. After $30,000 in legal fees, he stopped pursuing trying to get his money back because there, if he lost his claim, he would be liable for the County's legal fees!

toady's picture

Michigan is getting very bad with these seizures. The story goes that thier "medical marijuana" law is a piece of shit with a ton of arbitrary loopholes, so all the cops need to do is go to the pot growers registration list, pick a name or two, then go raid the place(s). They are sure to find s i not dotted or a t not crossed, then, partnered with the feds, they steal all your stuff. Whatever they want. Your truck, your deer rifle, hell, you'll be lucky if they leave you a pot to piss in.

Then, when they're leaving, the honcho will pull you aside and say, "okay, we're not gonna charge you with anything, but if you raise a fuss about us steali.... err... confiscating your stuff, we'll have your legs broken."

I advise staying away from the Michigan "medical marijuana" industry altogether....

CHoward's picture

If anything like this were to happen to me - whoever gave the orders and whoever followed the orders to take my money or property - I would make it my life's goal to methodically take care of each and every one of them.  I wouldn't bother with even trying to waste my time and more money by using the system. That system is not my system. I'd use my own system. 

Buster Cherry's picture

Best done if you don't own property or have a wife & kids.

And you just found out you're terminally ill....


You'd be an unstoppable force then....

SgtShaftoe's picture

When the lawmen continue to act lawlessly, the people will be happy to accomodate them.  There are way more pissed off, well armed, and trained civilian citizens than enforcers.  If the government decides to continue taking the low road, a tipping point will be reached at some point or another.  Based on my reading of history, it could easily make the French revolution look like a pillow fight.  The regime  would lose and very badly. 

I genuinely hope and pray that it does not come to that, but the hubris does not seem to be relenting at all. God help us.   This could get nasty. 

Skiprrrdog's picture

Fuck them all and let God sort it out.... I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees...

.National Suicide 1980's picture

They will not leave without a lot of help. Meanwhile, let's give a listen to their theme song:     


Turn it loud.

Dre4dwolf's picture

Its not bad enough that the people pointing guns at you have the power to print unlimited quantities of the shit currency they force us to use.

They have to come and extort whatever shit pile of the shit currency you manage to gather out of you also lol, you cant even drive around in your own country with money in your pocket... its nuts.

MSimon's picture

It was started by Nixon - Carter was on the verge of doing something - and Reagan got in and ramped it further.


All done in the name of punishing Prohibition violators.


Now a days it is just about the cash. Well they are going to fix that with the cashless society.


Land of the Free.

Buster Cherry's picture

I was thinking: If I shoot a burglar in my house, at night, and he runs away, am I better off:

(a)  pick up the shells, hose down the driveway and going back to bed?

(b) leaving everything as is and phone the police?


Inquiring minds need to know.


(This would be in Texas)

Sanity Bear's picture

if you call the police, the burglar you shot may pick up the phone

rejected's picture

LOL,,, but sadly, possible.

Sanity Bear's picture

They didn't call Loretta Lynch "the Queen of Forfeiture" for nothing.

Trucker Glock's picture

Prosecutors and DOJ plundering with impunity, thanks to an incompetent Supreme Court, empowered by the beloved Constitution.   Eventually, they will learn the hard way that people with nothing left to lose can be dangerous.  Greedy fools.

The Institute for Justice is a great non-profit.

Skiprrrdog's picture

Awww, dont be too hard on the supreme court... they had that whole burning issue of fudge packer/rug muncher marriage to sort out, which looks far sexier i guess on all of their collective CV's than real issues do...

22winmag's picture

Prosecutors do good work and prosecutors do hachet jobs.


The ones who do hachet jobs become politicians.

rejected's picture

I wonder how long they can keep this up without full blown blowback?

Somebody, somewhere is gonna get tired of their shit...

VWAndy's picture


Its theft and they know it.

VWAndy's picture

Maybe we should refrain from use of thier term for it. We could start calling it by the old name. A shake down.

Dr_Snooz's picture

"The Justice Department Is Actively Preventing... Reform"

Just as well. Every time this bunch of criminals starts talking about "reforming" something, I pucker.

rickster's picture

Well if they don't reform this type of legal lawlessness and it somehow comes back to bite YOU in the ass-I'm sure you'd think quite different.  This so-called war on drugs BS hasn't made even a small drop in drug crime but by giving DEA or any other Fed. agency these kind of liberties we are faced with allowing the fox to guard the hen house so to speak.  I can def. understand that many Gov't. reforms cause pause however some are certainly needed.  It is a wonder why so many blacks are fearful and cry foul when at times they are "actually" being targeted.  I can't say with absolute certainty that this one incident claims none are guilty but this freedom allowed to the "fed's" is certainly highly suspect as well as many of the Gov't. reforms but this one certainly is not one of them.  Citizens should be truly innocent BEFORE beyond a reasonable doubt (a court of law) decides otherwise and not until that time.  Due process is due EVERY American citizen and if the D.A. cannot make a case of guilty then they are at fault not the citizen.

o r c k's picture

Someone pulls you over without cause, detains you (false imprisonment), takes your money and valuables at gun-point (armed robbery), and a long list of various other crimes and constitutional violations. America--sweet land of liberty.