NPR may have just have, like the proverbial blind hog, found an acorn. Excerpt:
Law enforcement groups are worried about the shifting political climate on this (asset forfeiture) issue.
“Our goal is to put a pause” on this legislation, says Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie. He says there’s a mushrooming meth trade in his part of Minnesota, and he needs asset forfeiture to disrupt the crime networks by seizing property, even when the culprits can’t be found for prosecution.
“Why are we moving toward less tools in the toolbox?” he asks. At the same time, he acknowledges the political pressure created by high-profile seizure cases such as Timbs.
“Those outrageous examples, we have to face those,” he says. “But we just don’t want the pendulum to swing too far. We want to still have some tools for the outrageous things that we see going on” in drug trafficking networks.
The tool here they want to have, is the ability to seize your property in the event you’re convicted of a crime – even if the assets forfeited that “may” have been used in the crime have value far in excess of the punitive damages the law allows to be levied in the form of fines. If that’s not a Fifth Amendment violation, I don’t know what is.
One might ask, “what part of the Constitution allows you to waive a defendant’s Fifth Amendment protections and seize their property, in some cases without even a conviction?” The response from pols and cops alike may be to refer you to the “Fuck You, That’s Why” clause.
Note that line above. These officials want the right to seize property, even when the culprits can’t be found for prosecution.
Just take property. No due process. No conviction. Not even an indictment.
Because fuck you, that’s why.
That’s not justice. That’s theft.