Asset Forfeiture Articles

  • 24 Armed Cops and a Military Truck Dispatched to Take Money from Old Man

    By Robby Soave

    MRAPHow many cops does it take to collect a civil
    judgment from a 75-year-old man? The town of Stettin, Wisconsin
    evidently believed the answer was 24—and an armored military
    vehicle for good measure.

    The full might of the Stettin police force was dispatched to
    seize $80,000 from the elderly Roger Hoeppner, who restores antique
    trucks and old pallets on his 20 acres of property. Hoeppner
    originally got himself in trouble with the town because his junk
    collection violated certain zoning and sign ordinanc

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  • IRS Doesn't Care That You Haven't Committed a Crime—It Will Still Steal Your Money.

    By J.D. Tuccille

    IRSThe Institute for Justice has spent years
    trying to get government agencies to stop stealing from the people they
    , and its efforts are likely part of the reason for recent
    media interest in thieving police departments and embezzling tax
    collectors. The Washington Post last month devoted a

    multi-part series to documenting highway robberies

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  • How Asset Forfeiture Allows Cops to Steal from Citizens

    By A. Barton Hinkle

    It probably seemed like a bright idea at the time: Let the
    police seize the ill-gotten gains of alleged drug dealers and other
    suspected criminals and sell it, using the proceeds to buy
    much-needed crime-fighting gear.

    Unfortunately, the process—civil asset forfeiture—did not
    require convicting anybody of a crime. In fact, it didn’t even
    require charging anybody with a crime. Not surprisingly, this led
    to rampant abuse, which has been abundantly documented for many
    years. Various reform efforts, including a 2000 federal law, have
    been unable to stop what’s become known as policing for profit.

    But Virginia lawmaker Mark Cole is going to give it another
    shot. That’s as good a s

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  • Brickbat: Stop and Frisk

    By Charles Oliver

    A New York City police officer
    was caught on video taking what appeared to be a roll
    of cash
     from Lamard Joye. Joye says it was $1,300. When
    Joye complained about the theft, the cop pepper-sprayed him. When
    Joye's sister tried to get his badge number, the officer
    pepper-sprayed her, too.

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  • Fictional Infractions and Furry Judges

    By Jacob Sullum

    On the morning of April 15, 2013, two California poker
    players were traveling west on Interstate 80 in Iowa, on the way
    back from a tournament in Joliet, Illinois, when a state trooper
    pulled them over. By the time the traffic stop was over, police
    had  target="_blank" href="">seized
    $100,000 in poker winnings from the two men, on the
    assumption that the cash must be connected to drug trafficking or
    some other illegal activity.

    In addition to the  target="_blank" href="">legalized
    theft that is civil asset forf

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  • SCOTUS Should Limit Cops' Dangerously Broad Power to Stop and Search Your Car

    By Jacob Sullum

    Two cases before
    the Supreme Court deal with the justification and consequences of
    traffic stops by police. In my lates Forbes column, I
    argue that the Court should take this opportunity to impose limits
    on cops' broad discretion to detain motorists and search their
    vehicles. Here is how the piece begins:

    On the morning of April 15, 2013, two California poker
    players were traveling west on Interstate 80 in Iowa, on the way
    back from a tournament in Joliet, Illinois, when a state trooper

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  • Iowa Troopers Steal $100,000 in Poker Winnings From Two Players Driving Through the State

    By Jacob Sullum

    The Des Moines Register highlights
    an Iowa forfeiture case, the subject of a federal lawsuit filed
    this week, in which state troopers took $100,000 in winnings from
    two California poker players traveling through the state on their
    way back from a World Series of Poker event in Joliet, Illinois.
    The case illustrates several of the themes I discussed

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  • The Civil Asset Forfeiture Racket

    By A. Barton Hinkle

    Hey, here’s a great crime-fighting idea: Let’s give local police
    and prosecutors the authority to seize cash, cars, homes, and other
    property from private citizens—without a court convicting those
    citizens of any crime. Without, in fact, even charging those
    citizens with any crime. Then let the authorities sell the goods
    and keep the proceeds for themselves.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Well, now we know. In fact, we’ve known for a long time. Since
    the practice described above, called civil asset forfeiture, took
    off about three decades ago, its flaws have become painfully clear.
    The system’s incentives have led some localities to turn forfeiture
    into little more than a shak

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  • Tonight on The Independents: Our New War, With John Bolton, Thaddeus McCotter, and Michael Weiss; Plus Cuddle Parties, White House Jumpers, Confessions of an Asset-Forfeiture Judge, the Steve Hayes Terrorist Threat, and Aftershow

    By Matt Welch

    Michael Peña's edgiest role yet. |||Last
    night's episode
    of The Independents got a little
    caddywhompus with the whole bombing-begins-15-minutes-into-the-show
    thing, but such are the joys of live television. On tonight's
    installment (Fox Business Network, 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT, with
    re-airs three hours later) we'll dive back into

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  • Asset Forfeiture Laws 'Evil' and 'Unreformable,' Say Former Justice Department Officials

    By Patrick Hannaford

    Last week The Washington Post ran a
    series of in-depth articles
    on the problems with civil asset forfeiture
    . Today, two

    former justice

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