Policing For Profit: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Has Perverted American Law Enforcement

 

The current state of civil asset forfeiture in the United States is one of almost naked tyranny. Don’t believe us? Listen to the latest Resistance Library Podcast.

Picture this: You’re driving home from the casino and you’ve absolutely cleaned up – to the tune of $50,000.  You see a police car pull up behind you, but you can’t figure out why. Not only have you not broken any laws, you’re not even speeding. But the police officer doesn’t appear to be interested in charging you with a crime. Instead, he takes your gambling winnings, warns you not to say anything to anyone unless you want to be charged as a drug kingpin, then drives off into the sunset.

This actually happened to Tan Nguyen, and his story is far from unique. On this episode on the Resistance Library Podcast, Dave and Sam discuss the topic of civil asset forfeiture, a multi-billion dollar piggybank for state, local, and federal police departments to fund all sorts of pet projects.

With its origins in the British fight against piracy on the open seas, civil asset forfeiture is nothing new. During Prohibition, police officers often seized goods, cash, and equipment from bootleggers in a similar manner to today. However, contemporary civil asset forfeiture begins right where you’d think that it would: The War on Drugs.

In 1986, as First Lady Nancy Reagan encouraged America’s youth to “Just Say No,” the Justice Department started the Asset Forfeiture Fund. This sparked a boom in civil asset forfeiture that’s now become self-reinforcing, as the criminalization of American life and asset forfeiture have continued to feed each other.

In sum, asset forfeiture creates a motivation to draft more laws by the legislature, while more laws create greater opportunities for seizure by law enforcement. This perverse incentive structure is having devastating consequences: In 2014 alone, law enforcement took more stuff from American citizens than burglars did.

You can read the full article Policing For Profit: How Civil Asset Forfeiture Has Perverted American Law Enforcement at Ammo.com.

Published in Policing
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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Ammo.com: The current state of civil asset forfeiture in the United States is one of almost naked tyranny. Don’t believe us? Listen to the latest Resistance Library Podcast.

    I don’t have to listen to it.  The whole concept is just wrong, and antithetical to the idea of due process.  Heck, even with due process, I’d go against automatic asset forfeiture as a punishment.  Guilty of drunk driving?  You should not lose your car.  But if you have to sell your car to cover the cost of your fines, your lawyer, etc?  So be it . . .

    • #1
  2. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Stad (View Comment):

    Ammo.com: The current state of civil asset forfeiture in the United States is one of almost naked tyranny. Don’t believe us? Listen to the latest Resistance Library Podcast.

    A: The whole concept is just wrong

    I agree.

    B: The whole concept is antithetical to the idea of due process.

    Stad, I have a problem with this.

    If A is true, then B is irrelevant. Worse, it suggests that we don’t really believe A: it only weakens our position.  It is like the lawyer’s argument in the old joke, “My client wasn’t even in the same city as the murder, and even if he was, the gun didn’t belong to him, and even if the gun did belong to him since he bought it in Sept, 1997, he had no motive, and even if he did hate the victim and had publicly sworn to kill him …”

    It seems to offer those who wish to defend a concept that is just wrong a low bar: show that even though it is wrong, it’s perfectly consistent with the less demanding principle of due process, and therefore it’s ok.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    This subject has come up several times.

    I agree that civil forfeiture is wrong especially when it goes beyond stuff like Mafia etc.  But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    And the fact is, if you’re not carrying a bunch of cash, nobody – not even cops – can take it from you.  Nor can it burn to nothing if  you get in a collision…  Or be stolen by ambulance attendants…

    People take more sensible precautions all the time, about things that are far less valuable.  Where people get the idea that it’s just dandy to walk/drive/whatever around with bundles of cash, baffles me.  Maybe it’s your God-Given Right, but as I’ve said in other situations, no great hand is going to come down from the sky to keep someone – even a cop – from stealing it.

    • #3
  4. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    This subject has come up several times.

    I agree that civil forfeiture is wrong especially when it goes beyond stuff like Mafia etc. But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    And the fact is, if you’re not carrying a bunch of cash, nobody – not even cops – can take it from you. Nor can it burn to nothing if you get in a collision… Or be stolen by ambulance attendants…

    People take more sensible precautions all the time, about things that are far less valuable. Where people get the idea that it’s just dandy to walk/drive/whatever around with bundles of cash, baffles me. Maybe it’s your God-Given Right, but as I’ve said in other situations, no great hand is going to come down from the sky to keep someone – even a cop – from stealing it.

    I’ve never understood this thinking.  “You might have been robbed so it’s your fault that the police took it for themselves.”  I don’t get that.  The police are the thieves.  There are no other thieves involved.

    • #4
  5. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    And before anyone comments that “It’s not theft because it’s legal“, let me just say that both Toronto and LA have passed Stop and Dip legislation in which any police officer can stop anyone, frisk them, empty their pockets, and take their pocket change and anything in their wallets, their wristwatches, and even their sunglasses if they conform to the profile of “criminal-type Raybans” because as the law states “police may act on the presumption that all property is suspected of either being used to commit crimes or obtained through criminal means”.

    (This is all sarcasm.)

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Ammo.com: The current state of civil asset forfeiture in the United States is one of almost naked tyranny. Don’t believe us? Listen to the latest Resistance Library Podcast.

    A: The whole concept is just wrong

    I agree.

    B: The whole concept is antithetical to the idea of due process.

    Stad, I have a problem with this.

    If A is true, then B is irrelevant. Worse, it suggests that we don’t really believe A: it only weakens our position. It is like the lawyer’s argument in the old joke, “My client wasn’t even in the same city as the murder, and even if he was, the gun didn’t belong to him, and even if the gun did belong to him since he bought it in Sept, 1997, he had no motive, and even if he did hate the victim and had publicly sworn to kill him …”

    It seems to offer those who wish to defend a concept that is just wrong a low bar: show that even though it is wrong, it’s perfectly consistent with the less demanding principle of due process, and therefore it’s ok.

    I understand what you’re saying, but to lose property before a trial (in some cases permanently) goes against what I believe is the fairness of our system.

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    True, just like it’s stupid for a lone women, scantily dressed, to walk down the street in a bad neighborhood at 1 AM.  However, people have the right to be stupid, and “stupid” can be defined differently by differently people.  For example, unless you’re in the military, I think it’s stupid to jump out of a perfectly operating airplane.  But I’m not going to tell skydivers they are stupid, nor am I going to try and convince them of such.

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Stad (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    True, just like it’s stupid for a lone women, scantily dressed, to walk down the street in a bad neighborhood at 1 AM. However, people have the right to be stupid, and “stupid” can be defined differently by differently people. For example, unless you’re in the military, I think it’s stupid to jump out of a perfectly operating airplane. But I’m not going to tell skydivers they are stupid, nor am I going to try and convince them of such.

    And people arguably also have a God-Given Right to smoke in bed.  That doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do, or that they won’t sometimes burn down their homes sometimes killing themselves and their families.

    In your example, which I’ve heard before too, if “something happens” then yes the perpetrators should be locked up.  But you also tell the woman THAT WAS A VERY STUPID THING TO DO! and not only that, “something happened.”  Which is its own “punishment” that can’t be undone through prison time for the perps, and (probably) wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been stupid.  What your example ignores is that maybe people have the right to be stupid, but they shouldn’t expect there to never be consequences.  Did George Floyd have a “personal freedom” right to OD on fentanyl?  Yes.  Did he have a “right” not to die from it?  No.

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I respectfully dissent with the OP.  I don’t see anything wrong with civil asset forfeiture, in principle.  There are due process protections, as the owner can seek to recover the property in court.

    In a 2019 decision called Timbs v. Indiana, SCOTUS ruled that the excessive fines clause of the 8th Amendment applies to civil asset forfeiture.  The result of this ruling is that the value of the forfeited asset must bear a reasonable relation to the severity of the crime.  I think that this was a good ruling.  It was unanimous, with the Court’s opinion written by Ginsburg. 

    Thomas concurred, agreeing with the outcome but disagreeing with the reasoning, as he would apply the excessive fines rule to the states through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, rather than the Due Process Clause.  Gorsuch concurred, indicating that he might well agree with Thomas, but that it was unnecessary to resolve the issue in the Timbs case because both lines of analysis led to the same conclusion.

    • #9
  10. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I respectfully dissent with the OP. I don’t see anything wrong with civil asset forfeiture, in principle. There are due process protections, as the owner can seek to recover the property in court.

    In a 2019 decision called Timbs v. Indiana, SCOTUS ruled that the excessive fines clause of the 8th Amendment applies to civil asset forfeiture. The result of this ruling is that the value of the forfeited asset must bear a reasonable relation to the severity of the crime. I think that this was a good ruling. It was unanimous, with the Court’s opinion written by Ginsburg.

    Thomas concurred, agreeing with the outcome but disagreeing with the reasoning, as he would apply the excessive fines rule to the states through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, rather than the Due Process Clause. Gorsuch concurred, indicating that he might well agree with Thomas, but that it was unnecessary to resolve the issue in the Timbs case because both lines of analysis led to the same conclusion.

    A problem you quickly run into there is that no crime may have been committed at all, and may never even be charged or prosecuted.  And yet the assets are not returned.

    • #10
  11. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I respectfully dissent with the OP. I don’t see anything wrong with civil asset forfeiture, in principle. There are due process protections, as the owner can seek to recover the property in court.

    In a 2019 decision called Timbs v. Indiana, SCOTUS ruled that the excessive fines clause of the 8th Amendment applies to civil asset forfeiture. The result of this ruling is that the value of the forfeited asset must bear a reasonable relation to the severity of the crime. I think that this was a good ruling. It was unanimous, with the Court’s opinion written by Ginsburg.

    Thomas concurred, agreeing with the outcome but disagreeing with the reasoning, as he would apply the excessive fines rule to the states through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, rather than the Due Process Clause. Gorsuch concurred, indicating that he might well agree with Thomas, but that it was unnecessary to resolve the issue in the Timbs case because both lines of analysis led to the same conclusion.

    Yes, it’s legal.  But it’s still wrong.  To take property on a “suspicion” of wrong-doing without any actual accusation of anything at all actually being done that’s illegal is just theft.  But it’s the law, so it must be legal.

    • #11
  12. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    I remember when putting political marks on the American flag was considered desecration.  Sure, it’s not illegal, but I don’t like how the police (and sometimes the military) drape themselves in the flag and then put their political strip on it.

    • #12
  13. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I remember when putting political marks on the American flag was considered desecration. Sure, it’s not illegal, but I don’t like how the police (and sometimes the military) drape themselves in the flag and then put their political strip on it.

    I concur. That Thin Blue Line flag strikes me as vulgar desecration, and it riles me.

    • #13
  14. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I remember when putting political marks on the American flag was considered desecration. Sure, it’s not illegal, but I don’t like how the police (and sometimes the military) drape themselves in the flag and then put their political strip on it.

    I remember when wearing any part of the flag on your clothes was illegal (or at least wrong).

    • #14
  15. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I respectfully dissent with the OP. I don’t see anything wrong with civil asset forfeiture, in principle. There are due process protections, as the owner can seek to recover the property in court.

    In a 2019 decision called Timbs v. Indiana, SCOTUS ruled that the excessive fines clause of the 8th Amendment applies to civil asset forfeiture. The result of this ruling is that the value of the forfeited asset must bear a reasonable relation to the severity of the crime. I think that this was a good ruling. It was unanimous, with the Court’s opinion written by Ginsburg.

    Thomas concurred, agreeing with the outcome but disagreeing with the reasoning, as he would apply the excessive fines rule to the states through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, rather than the Due Process Clause. Gorsuch concurred, indicating that he might well agree with Thomas, but that it was unnecessary to resolve the issue in the Timbs case because both lines of analysis led to the same conclusion.

    Yeah.  We only went to war with Britain about this.  No big deal.  We don’t need jury trials either and just go ahead and let the army live in your home. 

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I respectfully dissent with the OP. I don’t see anything wrong with civil asset forfeiture, in principle. There are due process protections, as the owner can seek to recover the property in court.

    In a 2019 decision called Timbs v. Indiana, SCOTUS ruled that the excessive fines clause of the 8th Amendment applies to civil asset forfeiture. The result of this ruling is that the value of the forfeited asset must bear a reasonable relation to the severity of the crime. I think that this was a good ruling. It was unanimous, with the Court’s opinion written by Ginsburg.

    Thomas concurred, agreeing with the outcome but disagreeing with the reasoning, as he would apply the excessive fines rule to the states through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, rather than the Due Process Clause. Gorsuch concurred, indicating that he might well agree with Thomas, but that it was unnecessary to resolve the issue in the Timbs case because both lines of analysis led to the same conclusion.

    Yeah. We only went to war with Britain about this. No big deal. We don’t need jury trials either and just go ahead and let the army live in your home.

    Not “let.”  “Be required to, under pain of prison, death, etc.”

    • #16
  17. Ammo.com Member
    Ammo.com
    @ammodotcom

    Flicker (View Comment):

    And before anyone comments that “It’s not theft because it’s legal“, let me just say that both Toronto and LA have passed Stop and Dip legislation in which any police officer can stop anyone, frisk them, empty their pockets, and take their pocket change and anything in their wallets, their wristwatches, and even their sunglasses if they conform to the profile of “criminal-type Raybans” because as the law states “police may act on the presumption that all property is suspected of either being used to commit crimes or obtained through criminal means”.

    (This is all sarcasm.)

    I imagine Orwell might have predicted that “legal” would one day become Newspeak for “fair.” Hearing people defend monstrous violations of liberty as being perfectly legal would prove him right.

    • #17
  18. Ammo.com Member
    Ammo.com
    @ammodotcom

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    I remember when putting political marks on the American flag was considered desecration. Sure, it’s not illegal, but I don’t like how the police (and sometimes the military) drape themselves in the flag and then put their political strip on it.

    I concur. That Thin Blue Line flag strikes me as vulgar desecration, and it riles me.

    Seeing it flying side by side with the Gadsden makes my skull nearly implode.

    • #18
  19. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    True, just like it’s stupid for a lone women, scantily dressed, to walk down the street in a bad neighborhood at 1 AM. However, people have the right to be stupid, and “stupid” can be defined differently by differently people. For example, unless you’re in the military, I think it’s stupid to jump out of a perfectly operating airplane. But I’m not going to tell skydivers they are stupid, nor am I going to try and convince them of such.

    And people arguably also have a God-Given Right to smoke in bed. That doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do, or that they won’t sometimes burn down their homes sometimes killing themselves and their families.

    In your example, which I’ve heard before too, if “something happens” then yes the perpetrators should be locked up. But you also tell the woman THAT WAS A VERY STUPID THING TO DO! and not only that, “something happened.” Which is its own “punishment” that can’t be undone through prison time for the perps, and (probably) wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been stupid. What your example ignores is that maybe people have the right to be stupid, but they shouldn’t expect there to never be consequences. Did George Floyd have a “personal freedom” right to OD on fentanyl? Yes. Did he have a “right” not to die from it? No.

    Absolutely true.  People have the right to be stupid, but where do we draw the line at trying to protect people from themselves?

    Take the scantily clad woman.  Telling her, “What you are doing is stupid and you may get attacked” isn’t too far from the rapist’s lawyer saying, “She should not have dressed provocatively and strutted down the street at 1 AM.  She was asking for trouble.”

    The big difference is the first occurs prior to the action, the second occurs after the crime has been committed.  Whenever we discuss appropriate behavior in regard to personal safety, we’re often told to mind our own business.  You can’t win . . .

    • #19
  20. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    kedavis (View Comment):

    This subject has come up several times.

    I agree that civil forfeiture is wrong especially when it goes beyond stuff like Mafia etc. But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    And the fact is, if you’re not carrying a bunch of cash, nobody – not even cops – can take it from you. Nor can it burn to nothing if you get in a collision… Or be stolen by ambulance attendants…

    People take more sensible precautions all the time, about things that are far less valuable. Where people get the idea that it’s just dandy to walk/drive/whatever around with bundles of cash, baffles me. Maybe it’s your God-Given Right, but as I’ve said in other situations, no great hand is going to come down from the sky to keep someone – even a cop – from stealing it.

    “Don’t carry your property because the police might steal it” is the most absurd defense of theft I’ve ever heard.  

    • #20
  21. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I respectfully dissent with the OP. I don’t see anything wrong with civil asset forfeiture, in principle. There are due process protections, as the owner can seek to recover the property in court.

    In a 2019 decision called Timbs v. Indiana, SCOTUS ruled that the excessive fines clause of the 8th Amendment applies to civil asset forfeiture. The result of this ruling is that the value of the forfeited asset must bear a reasonable relation to the severity of the crime. I think that this was a good ruling. It was unanimous, with the Court’s opinion written by Ginsburg.

    Thomas concurred, agreeing with the outcome but disagreeing with the reasoning, as he would apply the excessive fines rule to the states through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, rather than the Due Process Clause. Gorsuch concurred, indicating that he might well agree with Thomas, but that it was unnecessary to resolve the issue in the Timbs case because both lines of analysis led to the same conclusion.

    Yes, it’s legal. But it’s still wrong. To take property on a “suspicion” of wrong-doing without any actual accusation of anything at all actually being done that’s illegal is just theft. But it’s the law, so it must be legal.

    Exactly.  The police don’t have to say, “We believe this cash came from the February 19th robbery of Harvey’s Liquor Store in Tunaville.”  They can just take the property on the basis that you don’t look like the kind of person who ought to have this much money, so it must have been the result of criminal activity.  And you have to sue the police to get your money back and prove that you didn’t obtain it illegally.  A reversal of the standard, “Innocent until proven guilty.”  If they only stole a couple thousand dollars, is it even worth the trouble to sue for it?

    • #21
  22. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    This stuff is un-American.  It’s what you’d expect from the police of a corrupt third world country.  It’s legalized theft with the police and the government taking a cut.  It’s obscene.  

    • #22
  23. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Roderic (View Comment):

    This stuff is un-American. It’s what you’d expect from the police of a corrupt third world country. It’s legalized theft with the police and the government taking a cut. It’s obscene.

    You nailed it with “corrupt third world country.” 

    • #23
  24. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Stad (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    True, just like it’s stupid for a lone women, scantily dressed, to walk down the street in a bad neighborhood at 1 AM. However, people have the right to be stupid, and “stupid” can be defined differently by differently people. For example, unless you’re in the military, I think it’s stupid to jump out of a perfectly operating airplane. But I’m not going to tell skydivers they are stupid, nor am I going to try and convince them of such.

    And people arguably also have a God-Given Right to smoke in bed. That doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do, or that they won’t sometimes burn down their homes sometimes killing themselves and their families.

    In your example, which I’ve heard before too, if “something happens” then yes the perpetrators should be locked up. But you also tell the woman THAT WAS A VERY STUPID THING TO DO! and not only that, “something happened.” Which is its own “punishment” that can’t be undone through prison time for the perps, and (probably) wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been stupid. What your example ignores is that maybe people have the right to be stupid, but they shouldn’t expect there to never be consequences. Did George Floyd have a “personal freedom” right to OD on fentanyl? Yes. Did he have a “right” not to die from it? No.

    Absolutely true. People have the right to be stupid, but where do we draw the line at trying to protect people from themselves?

    Take the scantily clad woman. Telling her, “What you are doing is stupid and you may get attacked” isn’t too far from the rapist’s lawyer saying, “She should not have dressed provocatively and strutted down the street at 1 AM. She was asking for trouble.”

    The big difference is the first occurs prior to the action, the second occurs after the crime has been committed. Whenever we discuss appropriate behavior in regard to personal safety, we’re often told to mind our own business. You can’t win . . .

    I grew up hearing something that I’m persuaded is absolutely correct: Two wrongs don’t make a right. The grammar and word choice may be humorous but the point is clear.

    • #24
  25. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    This subject has come up several times.

    I agree that civil forfeiture is wrong especially when it goes beyond stuff like Mafia etc. But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    And the fact is, if you’re not carrying a bunch of cash, nobody – not even cops – can take it from you. Nor can it burn to nothing if you get in a collision… Or be stolen by ambulance attendants…

    People take more sensible precautions all the time, about things that are far less valuable. Where people get the idea that it’s just dandy to walk/drive/whatever around with bundles of cash, baffles me. Maybe it’s your God-Given Right, but as I’ve said in other situations, no great hand is going to come down from the sky to keep someone – even a cop – from stealing it.

    “Don’t carry your property because the police might steal it” is the most absurd defense of theft I’ve ever heard.

    The obsession with the police doing it seems to blind you to the general issue.  It’s not smart to walk/drive around with a lot of cash, especially at night, because SOMETHING might happen to it (and/or to YOU).  The details of what happens, or who might do it – if it’s even deliberate which may not be the case (the car crash/fire being one example) – are essentially irrelevant to my point.

    • #25
  26. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The obsession with the police doing it seems to blind you to the general issue. It’s not smart to walk/drive around with a lot of cash, especially at night, because SOMETHING might happen to it (and/or to YOU). The details of what happens, or who might do it – if it’s even deliberate which may not be the case (the car crash/fire being one example) – are essentially irrelevant to my point.

    If you are privately buying a car, motorcycle, or other valuable items from a person some distance away from you, the only practical way of doing the deal is cash. Due to rampant computer fraud, no one will take a bank check any more (it used to be as good as cash). The last four motorcycle deals I was in (1 buy, 3 sell) were all cash deals and the buyers did indeed have to carry that much in their vehicle.

    • #26
  27. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The obsession with the police doing it seems to blind you to the general issue. It’s not smart to walk/drive around with a lot of cash, especially at night, because SOMETHING might happen to it (and/or to YOU). The details of what happens, or who might do it – if it’s even deliberate which may not be the case (the car crash/fire being one example) – are essentially irrelevant to my point.

    If you are privately buying a car, motorcycle, or other valuable items from a person some distance away from you, the only practical way of doing the deal is cash. Due to rampant computer fraud, no one will take a bank check any more (it used to be as good as cash). The last four motorcycle deals I was in (1 buy, 3 sell) were all cash deals and the buyers did indeed have to carry that much in their vehicle.

    Are you taking odds that they didn’t take it right to the/their bank?

    Also, how close were any of those motorcycle deals, to the $50,000 in the OP?  And did they happen at night?

    • #27
  28. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    This subject has come up several times.

    I agree that civil forfeiture is wrong especially when it goes beyond stuff like Mafia etc. But I also think it’s stupid to drive around with $50,000 of cash, especially at night; and especially after leaving a casino where lots of people – not just cops – might know that you’ve got a lot of cash and are driving alone…

    And the fact is, if you’re not carrying a bunch of cash, nobody – not even cops – can take it from you. Nor can it burn to nothing if you get in a collision… Or be stolen by ambulance attendants…

    People take more sensible precautions all the time, about things that are far less valuable. Where people get the idea that it’s just dandy to walk/drive/whatever around with bundles of cash, baffles me. Maybe it’s your God-Given Right, but as I’ve said in other situations, no great hand is going to come down from the sky to keep someone – even a cop – from stealing it.

    “Don’t carry your property because the police might steal it” is the most absurd defense of theft I’ve ever heard.

    The obsession with the police doing it seems to blind you to the general issue. It’s not smart to walk/drive around with a lot of cash, especially at night, because SOMETHING might happen to it (and/or to YOU). The details of what happens, or who might do it – if it’s even deliberate which may not be the case (the car crash/fire being one example) – are essentially irrelevant to my point.

    Yes.  It is good to live in fear, but it is best to fear the police.

    They protect, and they carry guns for a reason.  They are not supposed to be the thieves.

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  29. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The obsession with the police doing it seems to blind you to the general issue.  It’s not smart to walk/drive around with a lot of cash, especially at night, because SOMETHING might happen to it (and/or to YOU).  The details of what happens, or who might do it – if it’s even deliberate which may not be the case (the car crash/fire being one example) – are essentially irrelevant to my point.

    Beyond the immorality of tolerating this type of threat, there is a huge difference between a mugger stealing your money and a police officer stealing your money.  If a mugger takes the money, you can call the police to catch him.  If the police steal your money, there is no recourse.  You will not get your money back without a huge outlay for lawyers.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    The obsession with the police doing it seems to blind you to the general issue. It’s not smart to walk/drive around with a lot of cash, especially at night, because SOMETHING might happen to it (and/or to YOU). The details of what happens, or who might do it – if it’s even deliberate which may not be the case (the car crash/fire being one example) – are essentially irrelevant to my point.

    Beyond the immorality of tolerating this type of threat, there is a huge difference between a mugger stealing your money and a police officer stealing your money. If a mugger takes the money, you can call the police to catch him. If the police steal your money, there is no recourse. You will not get your money back without a huge outlay for lawyers.

    How likely do you think it really is, in most real-world situations, that the thief would be caught and you get your money back?  Even if the thief is caught, how likely is the thief to have the money on his person?  (Frankly, in that situation it would sound like the thief is smarter than the person he stole the money from.)  And if you don’t get your money back, are you actually satisfied with the thief MAYBE going to prison – assuming a conviction which might be based only on your identification of the perp, not the strongest bet – but you still don’t have your money?  If the actual “goal” is to not lose your money, rather than just dumping on police, then once again, it ultimately doesn’t matter who takes it.  Indeed, there are actually procedures you can follow to get your money back from the state.  But if a thief/mugger takes it, even if they find out who it was, the money is likely gone, and you won’t get it back.

    • #30