War on Freedom

Commentary: Asset forfeiture and the destruction of Amerikan liberty!

on . Posted in War on Freedom

By Jacob G. Hornberger

December 2, 2019 - For centuries, it has been an established tenet of Western jurisprudence that a person cannot be punished for a crime unless the government first convicts him of the crime in a court of law. After the Constitution called the federal government into existence, our Amerikan ancestors demanded that this principle be enshrined in the Bill of Rights because they were convinced that federal officials would end up violating it.

The Fifth Amendment states in part: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…. nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

What is “due process of law”? It is a phrase whose origin stretches all the way to Magna Charta in the year 1215. It means “notice and hearing”. In a criminal case, that means the federal government is prohibited from depriving a person of life, liberty, and property without a formally issued grand-jury indictment and a formal trial, where the government must prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, it means that the government must provide advance notice and a formal hearing or trial before it can deprive a person of his property.

The centuries-old judicial principle of due process of law was destroyed when Congress enacted what are called asset-forfeiture laws, which are part of the decades-long federal effort to win the war on drugs, which is arguably the most failed, deadly, destructive, and racially bigoted government program in our nation’s history.

Realizing that all of their previous efforts to “win” the war on drugs had failed, the feds came up with what they considered a brilliant idea, but one that actually has turned out to be one great big crooked and corrupt racket that forcibly takes money out of the pockets of law-abiding citizens and puts it in the coffers of state (terrorist pig thug) cops and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, in direct contravention of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Here is how the system works. The state (terrorist pig thug) police decide to stop a late-model car traveling down the highway that is being driven, say, by an African-Amerikan. The (terrorist pig thug) cop might come up with some excuse for the stop, such as a defective tail light. After asking for a driver’s license and car registration, the (terrorist pig thug) cop will ask the driver if it’s okay if he searches the vehicle. The driver, who has nothing to hide, says yes. The (terrorist pig thug) cop finds a case containing $10,000 in cash. The driver explains that he is on his way to buy a used car for his son.

What happens then? Under traditional rules of jurisprudence, nothing should happen except to let the driver proceed on his way, with, at most, a citation for a defective tail light. The driver has not committed any other offenses. Under our system of justice, he should be free to be on his way.

But that’s not what happens under the asset-forfeiture law. The law permits the (terrorist pig thug) cops to assume that the cash must be “drug money”. Thus, the law now permits the (terrorist pig thug) cop to just take the driver’s money and transport it back to the (terrorist pig thug cop) station, where the loot is divided up between the (terrorist pig thug cop) department and the DEA.

Notice something important about this process: There are no criminal charges filed against the driver. There is no advance notice of the seizure. There is no hearing or trial before the seizure. People, especially poorer people, are having their money seized and taken from them by (terrorist pig thug) cops in direct violation of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment (as well as the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment).

The (terrorist pig thug) cops say to their victim: if you don’t like what we are doing to you, you can sue us; and they can. But as a practical matter, most don’t. They just resign themselves to the theft of their money. After all, most of them don’t have the money to hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit in the hope of getting their money back. Even if they do, they know that they’ll have to pay the lawyer $300-$500 an hour, with no assurance that they will prevail in the litigation. It’s just not worth it to most people, especially most poor people.

It’s a classic case of highway robbery at the hands of the State. It’s also a classic example of how Amerikans have had their liberty destroyed by their own government, which was precisely what our ancestors were trying to prevent when they enacted the Bill of Rights.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. Send him This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Eulogies

Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005

Freedom
2003-2018

Freedom sm

My Father
1918-2010

brents dad

Dr. Stan Dale
1929-2007

stan dale

A. Solzhenitsyn
1918-2008

solzhenitsyn

Patrick McGoohan
1928-2009

mcgoohan

Joseph A. Stack
1956-2010

Bill Walsh
1931-2007

Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Eustace Mullins
1923-2010

Paul Harvey
1918-2009

Don Harkins
1963-2009

Joan Veon
1949-2010

David Nolan
1943-2010

Derry Brownfield
1932-2011

Leroy Schweitzer
1938-2011

Vaclav Havel
1936-2011

Andrew Breitbart
1969-2012

Dick Clark
1929-2012

Bob Chapman
1935-2012

Ray Bradbury
1920-2012

Tommy Cryer
1949-2012

Andy Griffith
1926-2012

Phyllis Diller
1917-2012

Larry Dever
1926-2012

Brian J. Chapman
1975-2012

Annette Funnicello
1942-2012

Margaret Thatcher
1925-2012

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Jack McLamb
1944-2014

James Traficant
1941-2014

jim traficant

Dr. Stan Monteith
1929-2014

stan montieth

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy

Stan Solomon
1944-2015

Stan Solomon

B. B. King
1926-2015

BB King

Irwin Schiff
1928-2015

Irwin Schiff

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

David Bowie

Muhammad Ali
1942-2016

Muhammed Ali

GENE WILDER
1933-2016

gene wilder

phyllis schlafly
1924-2016

phylis schafly

John Glenn
1921-2016

John Glenn

Charles Weisman
1954-2016

Charles Weisman

Carrie Fisher
1956-2016

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds
1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds

Roger Moore
1917-2017

Roger Moore

Adam West
1928-2017

Adam West

JERRY LEWIS
1926-2017

jerry lewis

HUGH HEFNER
1926-2017

Hugh Hefner

PROF. STEPHEN HAWKING
1942-2018

Hugh Hefner 

ART BELL
1945-2018

Art Bell

DWIGHT CLARK
1947-2018

dwight clark

CARL MILLER
1952-2017

Carl Miller

HARLAN ELLISON
1934-2018

Harlan Ellison

STAN LEE
1922-2018

stan lee

CARL REINER
1922-2020

Carl Reiner