Government Confiscation Different From Armed Robbery?

I had joined my brother several times in going to auctions of Federal Property confiscated or otherwise taken under “Forfeiture”. We would smile and joke about the loss of the Drug kingpin’s Mercedes and his other pleasures. In fairness, we would question the legality of this whole operation. It would go something like this,…”so the government can just come in an take the guy’s stuff? Something just doesn’t seem right about this”. This wasn’t stolen property. Just stuff they guy had. Then earlier, I wrote the post on Janet and the DHS Seizes electronic devices at the border and not returning them to the rightful owners. I started to thinking about those auctions and I started worrying, Is this what we are coming to? In this story, one could be a lawful citizen in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I caught this story from the Agitator which is spot on to my concerns:

..a former prosecutor described the Michigan forfeiture law to the Detroit News this way:

“It’s a money grab, pure and simple; a sneaky way of getting a penalty on something prosecutors can’t prove. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

From:  The Agitator

Earlier this month, police in Oakland County, Michigan raided a medical marijuana dispensary in the town of Oak Park. The deputies came in with guns drawn and bulletproof vests, with at least one wearing a mask.

They made no arrests, but they did clean the place out. The confiscated all of the dispensary’s cash on hand and—in a particularly thuggish touch—also took all of the cash from the wallets and purses of employees and patients. In this update, police officials say the raid was the result of street dealers telling police they were buying marijuana from the dispensary. I suppose we’ll see in time if that’s true, and if it is, if the dispensary was actually aware that it was selling to dealers. But at first blush, the claim sounds like a pretty good way for street dealers to put a legitimate competitor out of business.

Under Michigan’s asset forfeiture law, 80 percent of the cash the deputies seized will go directly to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department. The other 20 percent goes to the local prosecutor. Medical marijuana is legal under Michigan law but is of course still illegal under federal law. And apparently there’s some debate about the legality of dispensaries. All of which means this particular dispensary will have a hard time proving it earned the seized cash legitimately. I doubt the patients and employees will get their cash back, either. The cost of challenging the seizure is likely several times more than the amount of money most people carry on their person.

There’s been some talk in the Michigan legislature about reforming the state’s asset forfeiture laws, but there’s been no action so far. Last February, a former prosecutor described the Michigan forfeiture law to the Detroit News this way:

“It’s a money grab, pure and simple; a sneaky way of getting a penalty on something prosecutors can’t prove. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

4 Responses to “Government Confiscation Different From Armed Robbery?”

  1. Regular Folks Fighting Civil Forfeiture Abuse « BUNKERVILLE | God, Guns and Guts Comrades! Says:

    […] not the same, the conclusion is. We usually associated it with drug dealers. Early I had posted:Government confiscation any differenet from armed robbery? But this story takes it to a new level. If anyone doubts that we are in the last days of this […]


  2. Sunday Hunt For Links – Red Fox Edition | Political Realities Says:

    […] Bunkerville wonders if property confiscation by the government is any different than armed robbery. […]


  3. Conservatives on Fire Says:

    This is worrisome. The government keeps finding more ways to chip away at our liberties. We are slowly becoming a police state and very few seem to notice because it’s a little bit here and a little bit there. The type of law you described make the police the equivalent to the judge, jury, and executioner. NOT GOOD!


    • Bunkerville Says:

      You are so right. It is the steady slow drip that is destroying us.


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