Arizona legislators know how to cover their assets. The Grand Canyon State is poised to become the 16th to insist on an actual conviction before greedy agents of the law can snatch your valuable goods. All that needs to happen now is for RINO Governor “double-crossing” Doug Ducey to sign it. The state legislature passed the measure already. Fifteen other states require a “criminal conviction before law enforcement can take property under civil asset forfeiture.” Three others banned the practice totally.
Assets safe from seizure
In the state of Arizona, they agreed by a Senate vote of 29–1 that police and prosecutors need to “obtain a conviction in most civil forfeiture cases.” HB 2810 passed the Arizona House in February and now it’s up to Ducey.
He’ll probably sign it to protect his own assets. If not, there should be more than enough support to shove it down his throat with a veto over-ride. He’s not up for re-election and could do anything but these days even the DINO Democrat Senators in Washington are on their best behavior.
One of the key parts of the protection measure is a requirement that the government has to prove the assets were “being used in connection to illegal activity.” They can’t take a coke dealer’s Maserati just because it’s sitting in the driveway. First they have to prove it was used to move the coke in.
Another protection takes the form of stiffer notice requirements when they do grab the goods. Cops can no longer make suspects sign away their rights by banning “the use of roadside waivers that police use to get people to sign over their property.”
Up until now, law enforcement could legally seize any assets at all, as long as they were “suspected of being connected to criminal activity” under the forfeiture laws.
The owner didn’t even need to be charged with a crime, much less convicted. They were free to keep the cash you just made from the sale of a car just because it “smelled” dirty.
Civil liberty abuse
More than 25 of the 50 states have passed laws allowing the seizure of assets under forfeiture laws and Arizona is signing up with the 15 of them that limit use of the provision by requiring criminal convictions before the goods can be grabbed.
In the liberal enclaves of New Mexico, Nebraska, and North Carolina they totally did away with the practice.
Local, state, and federal law enforcement love the laws which let them seize assets because it gives them the props they need to act the part in undercover stings from the cash to the cars to the clothes.
All the bling it takes to establish a narcotics officer as a major player can be grabbed from the ones who didn’t get away. Not only that, it hurts the cartel in the wallet every time the feds make a big score.
The flip side is that there is always abuse in they system, especially one with as little oversight as the program to snatch assets from criminals. Police have a strange way of grabbing goods from innocent people just because they can. All it takes is the smallest hint of suspicion. You don’t have to be driving a Lamborghini for it to be snagged either. They’ll grab your Toyota if they think they can get away with it.
Ultra-right Libertarians at the Institute for Justice note “there are too few due process protections for property owners and too many perverse incentives for police, whose budgets often padded with forfeiture revenues.” The government, they warn, “can take your car, your home, and your life savings without ever charging you with, much less convicting you of, a crime. HB 2810 makes important reforms to Arizona’s forfeiture laws to protect innocent property owners from government abuse.”