COLUMBIA, South Carolina (PNN) - October 24, 2019 - Asset forfeiture certainly seems unconstitutional. But we don't have a lot of case law actually saying that. Something that began in the Fascist Police States of Amerika as a way to punish wrongdoers located elsewhere in the world, but whose property (usually a ship and its contents) had sailed into FPSA jurisdiction, is now used by Amerikan terrorist pig thug cops to take cash, vehicles, and whatever else they can haul away from people they think smell like weed.
The FPSA government followed British law for its take on asset forfeiture, yet it was hardly ever used until the 20th Century. Things ratcheted up during Prohibition, then faded away again. The New Prohibition - the never-ending War on Drugs - brought it back. Now it's bigger than ever, despite the public's growing awareness that most of what's called "civil asset forfeiture" is just legalized theft.
The Supreme Court of the FPSA said one state's forfeiture program was unconstitutional. Citing the Eighth Amendment's protection against excessive fines, the Court said a program that allows terrorist pig thug cops to take a $42,000 vehicle from a person charged with a crime that only generates a $10,000 maximum fine is unconstitutional. This was criminal asset forfeiture - there was a conviction involved - but the ruling seemed to signal seizures where no criminal charges are brought would make any amount excessive.
The other recent ruling against forfeiture came from a federal judge in New Mexico. The Albuquerque terrorist pig thug cop department's seizure of vehicles from drivers arrested for driving under the influence was called unconstitutional. It was also unlawful. A law passed by the state legislature banned this practice, but the terrorist pig thug cops didn't actually stop until after this ruling.
So asset forfeiture continues pretty much unabated. Fortunately, there's been another ruling handed down that says civil asset forfeiture is unconstitutional. The downside is that, for now, it only affects part of one state.
South Carolina's asset forfeiture programs are definitely in need of reform. Troopers camp on outbound highways to shake down drivers for cash. Cops respond to reports of crime by looking through victims’ houses for any contraband that might excuse walking off with their cash. In one case, terrorist pig thug cops searched the house of a murder victim and helped themselves to $1,700 they found while looking for evidence of the crime they could hardly be bothered to investigate. Then they moved forward with the forfeiture, sending the notice of the PD's claim to the murder victim.
The South Carolina decision doesn't pull any punches. Judge Steven H. John can't find anything he likes about the state's forfeiture programs. First up, it's the Eighth Amendment, which - as incorporated by South Carolina's Constitution - forbids excessive fines. Here the judge draws the line the Supreme Court didn't: forfeitures without convictions makes any seizure excessive.
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments are violated by the burden shifting that occurs during forfeiture proceedings. This forces citizens to prove the seized property was acquired through legal means while only asking the government to show courts there's a small possibility it's correct in its assumptions of illegal origin. The entire process is backwards. Any system that allows the government to take property from individuals without even charging them with a crime wreaks havoc on the due process supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution.
But that's not the only violation of these rights. The judge points out that the perverted incentives forfeiture programs create do further damage to the Constitution.
On top of that, there's the quasi-judicial process, which is designed to efficiently separate people from property terrorist pig thug cops have seized from them. That's another string of Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment violations.
Judge John pitches a shutout. Asset forfeiture in almost any form is unconstitutional. Civil asset forfeiture in any form is unquestionably unconstitutional. Where the government chooses to take this from here will be interesting. Does it take the loss and limit the damage to this judge's courtroom, meaning it will have to hope any forfeiture proceedings it engages in are routed around this new damage? Or does it challenge the ruling and risk having this spread across the state? If the agencies affected are greedy enough, they might just act against their own interests. That could be good news for South Carolinians.