Jeff Sessions Desperately Wants to Allow Police to Keep Stealing Your Property

Nearly lost in the miasma of secret anti-marijuana meetings in Colorado and Donald Trump’s very public wish for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to go far, far away and never come back is Sessions’s updated plan, released Wednesday, to allow American police to more freely and easily relieve American citizens of their property—even if they have never committed a crime.

Since the mid-1980s, police and prosecutors have been able to seize cash and property, without convicting or even charging the rightful owner with a crime, under a process called “civil asset forfeiture.” (The process’s genesis is in colonial America, but the method as we know it today began 30 years ago.)

Property can be sold and cash can be deposited directly into police department’s bank account—and it’s entirely on the erstwhile owner to prove that every last cent was earned legally. If the cash came from the sale of property that wasn’t sufficiently documented, or for wage work without a W-2, too bad—that cash is now the government’s, and good luck getting it back.

Read more at High Times

Biggest Drug War Victory? Courts, Governors Tiring of Asset Forfeiture

If cops weren’t allowed to seize your property without a trial—and, in many cases, without even accusing you of a crime—law enforcement in America would be near unrecognizable. For instance, the DEA would be $4 billion poorer.

As the Justice Department’s inspector general noted in March, DEA agents have seized $4 billion in cash over the last decade from travelers under the pretext of drug-related asset forfeiture. In more than 81 percent of the cases reviewed, there were no criminal charges filed, as Reason reported.

Investigations often began after innocuous acts that are not criminal: purchasing a last-minute or one-way ticket, traveling without checked luggage, or flying to a “known source city for drug trafficking.” Conveniently, that would include nearly every major city in America, according to federal drug agents.

Read more at High Times

Investigation Reveals IRS Forfeits Totally Legal Money

An investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department‘s Inspector General for Tax Administration, launched under pressure of litigation brought by the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice, maddeningly finds that the Internal Revenue Service has been using asset forfeiture to confiscate millions of dollars from businesses that committed no crimes.

The libertarian-oriented website Reason breaks it down in detail, stating that “between 2012 and 2014, IRS investigators seized hundreds of bank accounts from business owners based on nothing but a suspicious pattern of deposits. In more than 90 percent of those cases, the money was completely legal.”

In several cases, innocent business owners had their life savings seized by the IRS for violating so-called “anti-structuring” rules, intended to stop money launderers from evading federal banking regulations by making small cash deposits of under $10,000. IRS agents “ruthlessly pursued” cases against small business owners when there was no evidence of criminal activity other than the cash deposits.

Read more at High Times

DEA Squeezing Money and Property Out of People at Record Rates

The DEA, for many, is high up on the list of the government’s most corrupt, mismanaged and ill-equipped organizations. And it sure knows how to squeeze money out of innocent victims.

According to a report issued Wednesday by the Justice Department’s Inspector General, the DEA has seized more than $4 billion in cash from people suspected of involvement in the drug trade since 2007.

The scope of asset forfeiture is outrageous: Since 2007, the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Fund skyrocketed to $28 billion.

Read more at High Times

Court Upholds Warrantless Search Based on Torn Plastic Bag and a Reclined Seat

It’s well known that the drug war is one of the main sources of our country’s overpopulated prisons. However, there is another negative aspect of the drug war that is often not addressed.

Drug laws allow police to routinely conduct searches based on expansive interpretations of probable cause. In turn, any evidence of a crime unrelated to drugs is admissible in court, as long as it was discovered within the “plain view” of the officer.

Unfortunately, the standard for probable cause seemingly continues to diminish, and the drug war indirectly provides law enforcement with a blanket justification for violating the 4th Amendment.

Read more at High Times