Civil Forfeiture Is Back

In December of last year the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that would be suspending payments under the Equitable Sharing Program. There was much rejoice. But anybody familiar with statism knows that rules can change at the whim of a bureaucrat to no victories are permanent. The DoJ has just announced that it will resume payments again:

The Justice Department had suspended payments under this program in December, due to budget cuts included in last year’s spending bill.

“In the months since we made the difficult decision to defer equitable sharing payments because of the $1.2 billion rescinded from the Asset Forfeiture Fund, the financial solvency of the fund has improved to the point where it is no longer necessary to continue deferring equitable sharing payments,” spokesman Peter J. Carr said in an email Monday.

While he didn’t specify exactly where the new funding came from, Carr noted that the program is partly funded by the cash and other property seized under the program.

Civil forfeiture is one of the most brazen efforts by the State to redistribute wealth from the people to itself. Usually the State wraps its theft in justifications of providing services and due process. But civil forfeiture isn’t used to build roads or fund schools and spits in the face of due process by presuming guilt instead of innocence.

Due to the massive amount of pushback it wasn’t surprising to hear the DoJ announce it was suspending the program. The State likes people to believe its theft isn’t theft and public opinion was going against that fiction with civil forfeiture. It’s also not surprising to see the decision reversed, especially now that the media attention has died down, since civil forfeiture is one of the DoJ’s favorite tools to enhance the power of its law enforcers. And as we all know, a heavily armed law enforcer is a happy law enforcer and a happy law enforcer is much more willing to steal for their employer.

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