Civil forfeiture

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by major56, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. major56

    major56 Active Member

  2. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    According to media reports there are areas of several states where cities earn large portions of their budgets though minor trafic violations and the imposition of late fees on fines.
    Here is one of many such media reports
    The Town That Lived Off Speeding Tickets | Fox Business
  3. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Civil forfeiture is absolutely appalling. States like New Jersey not only make up a chunk of their budget from stealing from citizens but police officers sometimes target items that they want for the department (big screen TVs, specific cars etc). I'm frankly amazed at how many "small government" proponents seem to be behind the warrantless theft of personal property.
  4. jhp

    jhp Member

    I do not see the correlation between the two. (my emphasis)
  5. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    You don't see the odd disconnect between the belief that our government should be as small as humanly possible and to interfere in our lives as little as humanly possible while simultaneously holding that it is OK for the police to seize personal property without warrant or charge?
  6. jhp

    jhp Member

    I cannot fathom a group that wants "small government" and are behind warrantless theft of personal property.

    The only political orientations which want "small government" are those which lean toward autonomy and economic liberty. I believe these tend to be libertarians, anarchists, classic conservatives, market liberals, classic liberals.

    Since all of these groups would want little to do with warrantless personal property seizures, what where you thinking when you described "small government" proponents?

    The only political orientations I can think that have no issue with such theft are totalitarians, fascists, communists, populists, socialists, marxists, progressives, and modern liberals. The problem is all of these want big government.
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It's very annoying to libertarians that conservatives misappropriate our rhetoric to refer to the handful of areas where they want government to be smaller, even though in many areas they want it to stay the same size or grow. The criminal justice system may be the foulest example, but it's far from the only one.
  8. jhp

    jhp Member

    I always looked at the "parties" as an umbrella of various types of ideologies that happen to have majority overlaps. Just because the voice or actions of certain ideologies appear to be stronger or leading, it does not mean the party is homogeneous.

    Just any group of people, so does the Libertarian Party has various factions.

    The difference in truly multi-party nations is that these factions, carve out a unique party for themselves. Instead of Republicans, they would have fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, traditionalists, neo-conservatices, moderates, and so on - each an independent party. Israel's K'nesset has 120 official parties!
  9. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    And while that system has its own problems it also has its advantages.

    In this country it is virtually impossible for a third party candidate to be elected to any office of significance. There have been a few exceptions (Joe Liberman and Bernie Sanders are the top examples for the Senate) but overall, it's an uphill battle.

    So, the problem then becomes that I cannot vote for a candidate who actually represents my opinion (if I hold a minority opinion) if I want that candidate to get elected.

    For example, as Steve notes, many conservatives adopt a little bit of Libertarian ideology and apply it to certain select areas. But that candidate might utterly disappoint me in every other respect. In Israeli (or many other parliamentary democracies) a small political party with only, say, 10% of the ballots cast can conceivably get seats in the legislature. They won't have much power unless they are included in a coalition but at least they are there.

    Well, to be fair, I never said anything about a group. I said "proponents." I didn't mean to imply that the GOP or the Libertarians were doing anything. I was talking about the individuals who have the power to make that change who pound their fists and yell "Small government" while doing absolutely nothing to curb civil forfeiture.

    Let's look at New Jersey which has some pretty liberal civil forfeiture guidelines (we will not address the federal government's use of civil forfeiture as, obviously, these involve federal laws and federal legislators).

    So, just for this discussion, let's just focus on New Jersey for a second.

    So, here's Chris Christie advocating for "small government."

    And here's Chris Christie talking about how he totally agrees with civil asset forfeiture (which, contrary to his early statements, do not require criminal charges ever to be filed).

    Now, consider for a second, that civil forfeiture does not require criminal charges to be filed. So the police department can just take your stuff, never file charges and send you on your merry way. There's a separate process for seizing property tied to criminal activity after you are charged and convicted.

    So, basically Chris Christie feels that it's very important for the government to be able to take your stuff without affording you any form of due process. But he also supports "small government."
  10. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    And the explanation is simple, in that when he claims to support small government, he's lying.

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