GA HB 832
Should Georgians support Rep. Turner, and others, in their effort to diminish the impact of civil forefeiture on persons accused of criminal acts or to those persons things unwittingly party to such acts?
RESULTS AS OF February 8, 2016
12% of Counties Reported
100% Voted YES | 0% MAYBE | 0% NO
Representatives Turner of the 21st, Pezold of the 133rd, Spencer of the 180th, Clark of the 147th, Caldwell of the 20th, and others are proposing that the courts shall delay the seizure of assets from an accused party until such time as a decision of guilt is rendered. Further, where a not guilty verdict results from a trial, the government shall lose any right to seize the assets implicated in the original indictment. (Current Georgia law allows the seizure of assets before trial.)
Survey Respondent Comments
Any citizen could (and they DO) have their property seized by civil forfeiture, and then they have to hire (AND PAY) a *civil* (not criminal) attorney to get their property back. If they do not hire one, the government keeps their property. The citizen has the burden to prove the property was not involved in criminal activity (i.e. proving a negative).
- Oppressive and costly to citizens;
- Could happen to anyone;
- Probably unconstitutional;
- ALREADY solved by *criminal* forfeiture, which allows the seizure of property of those that are CONVICTED of a crime.
This is basic common sense. The government has no role in citizens lives until after they are afforded due process under the law.
Yes, this bill should be passed to re-establish our constitutional rights of the sovereign citizens and prevent law enforcement and/or the district attorney’s office from moving forward with any civil forfeiture proceedings by the court staying these proceedings, until such time as the criminal proceedings result in a plea of guilty, a conviction after trial, or an acquittal after trial or otherwise concluded before the trial court. An acquittal or dismissal in a criminal proceeding shall preclude civil forfeiture proceedings; which law enforcement is unhappy with, because it cuts into a revenue source on which law enforcement has grown ever increasingly dependent! As Bob Barr (R-GA.)put it, “In many jurisdictions, it has become a monetary tail wagging the law enforcement dog.”
Another darker side to this practice: a decision by New York city’s Mayor, Rudolph Guilliani, to deploy forfeiture against drunk drivers, and New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir invoked deterence when he said, “We believe that… the threat of civil forfeiture and the possibility of losing one’s car, have served to reduce the number of motorists who are willing to take the chance of being caught driving drunk.” On the other hand, a civil liberties group has filed suit challenging the legality and constitutionality of the New York City program. Citing some of the same constitutional concerns that this HB 832 brings to the forefront. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would drastically curtail the federal operation of the law.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said the existing law on civil forfeiture ensures public safety and the rights of law abiding citizens. The proposed bill by Turner requires the court to stay the civil proceedings until the criminal case is completed and requires there to be a criminal conviction before the civil lawsuit can advance. However, that statement is not quite completely accurate, because the bill states “until such time as the criminal proceedings result in a plea of guilty, a conviction after trial, or an acquittal after trial. (We will come back to this plea of guilty subject a little later.) “This proposed bill would effectively change the burden of proof required, would result in longer delays for innocent owners to receive their property back and could very likely create a conflict of interest for prosecutors.”
“I think it is common sense for us to want to see a conviction prior to any kind of punishment and the taking of property certainly is punishment,” Turner said. “In my role as a state representative, I have a duty to develop our constitutional rights and that is why we have introduced this legislation.” (I would just add albeit perhaps semantics, that it is Rep. Turner’s duty to uphold the rights of the sovereign people of GA. 1st and the U.S. 2nd, and to make sure that the Constitution ensures that is what is taking place for ‘We The People.’)
“However, I have never personally received any specific complaints about our very conservative approach to asset forfeiture in Cherokee County,” Wallace said. “We are very conscientious and conservative with respect to civil forfeitures in Cherokee County.”
Since December 2014, law enforcement has presented Wallace’s office with 48 requests for forfeiture. They have moved on 44 of those cases. Gosh, that doesn’t sound very conservative to me!
Of the 44 cases, 23 of the property owners have entered a plea of guilty and 21 criminal cases are still pending. If HB 832 becomes law, District Attorney Wallace would be able to proceed with asset forfeiture immediately following a guilty plea by the defendant. The other 21 criminal cases would be stayed until the results of the trial are determined. Now, that is what I would call being conscientious and conservative with respect to civil forfeitures in Cherokee County; not moving forward on 40 of 44 cases invoking civil forfeiture in Cherokee County! I suppose that conscientious and conservative are relative terms in the vernacular of some public representatives, just as conservative became the operative term or buzz-word, when democrats realized they could not get elected in GA., without having an R, after their name when running for office. Hence, the creation of the Rino candidate!
I just have one more example of the injustice of this law without the benefit of HB 832, strengthening the rights of the people by following the Constitution! The U.S. Representatives were concerned about the problem of police using seized property or funds to finance their own operations. Testifying before the Judiciary Committee, Willie Jones of Nashville, TN., gave an example of abuse.
Engaged in the landscaping business, Mr. Jones planned to buy a shrubbery in Houston, TX. Nurseries prefer cash from out-of-town buyers, so Mr. Jones planned to go there with $9000.00 in cash. Officers detained him at the airport; suspicious of the large amount of cash, they accused him of being involved in drug-related activities. They eventually let him go, but they kept the money, and refused to even give him a receipt for it. Because he did not have 10% of the money seized to put up as a bond, he could not afford to challenge the seizure in the usual way. Disturbed by this and other similar stories of excess, the house members voted to approve H.R. 1658 to curb this abuse. The Clinton Administration said that the bill would have a negative impact on the war on drugs. The House soundly rejected an administration-favored alternative, however – supporters of H.R. 1658 said the alternative bill would expand the federal power, not narrow it. And yet here is another example of out of control government on every level trying, to stifle the sovereign rights of “We The People” by tyrannically passing Unconstitutional Laws or forcing regulations, ordinances, or legislation down our throats. Only “WE” banding together are going to be able to stop these usurpations of our Rights!
I am already impacted by civil asset forfeiture under GA state law which allows for such in some cases, not yet gone to trial.
People are innocent until proven guilty. We should not be seizing anyone’s assets until a guilty verdict by a jury is reached.
We are innocent until proven guilty.
Nobody should have their assets taken from them unless they have earned the assets illegally. Only a trial can determine this. And I would say that even if a person is found guilty, that person’s family should still be provided for.
We must always work to insure that our Fourth Amendment is not ignored. It must be followed at all times. This is one time that every citizen should contact the Speaker and their representative and support this bill. Ask your representative to co-sponsor and support. Defend our Fourth Amendment.
“We are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If you confiscate someones property and liquidate it, what happens if the person is found innocent of wrong doing?
What compensation is the innocent person given and who determines the compensation?
I don’t know how it became lawful to take property w/o just cause to begin with. In my opinion is legalized thievery.
Seizure as it is today is completely contrary to the 4th & 6th Amendments and, particularly, to our GOD-given Rights to Life, Liberty and PROPERTY.
Our entire Governmental and Judicial systems are designed upon PROTECTING our Rights.
We must HONOR these Beliefs & Values.
There is not doubt in MY mind that criminals that have acquired property by ILLEGAL means should be forced to return that property to the rightful owners.
And, I don’t think ANY Government has a right to that property – particularly if the rightful owner(s) can be ascertained.
BUT, this must be done LEGALLY – with a legal TRIAL – it cannot be left up to the arbitrary decisions of ANYBODY – much less an employee of government,
We certainly should have a means of SECURING that the property in question is held such that it cannot be made to ‘disappear’ by the alleged criminal. And, he should have a Simple & Unfailing way for him to recover it if proven innocent
(or NOT PROVEN guilty).
Civil forfeiture is unconstitutional theft by government.
Civil forfeiture clearly violates the United States Constitution in the taking of property without due process. The court contortionist efforts to justify it are reminiscent of that which purported to justify the ownership of human beings by other human beings. It is a travesty that cannot be tolerated in a truly free society.
Because a person should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Seizing property or liquidaing property before a guilty verdict is reached is unlawful search and seizure.
Seizing Property without due process, and this is even a Question of wrong in America? Looks like the last 100 years of Government Education Centers (public school) is finally paying off for Government
With no due process of law, there is no reason to take someone’s assets.
The seizure of assets prior to a finding of criminal guilt is wrong on its face. Law enforcement agencies compound the problem and engage in flagrant abuse when they force citizens to prove the seizure was wrong, much less spend the assets for the legal authority’s own purpose. Even when assets are legitimately seized, they should go into a general fund. That would eliminate the incentive for abuse.
The Government does not have the right to take a persons property if they have not been convicted of a crime.
In effect, the state is seizing property from possible innocent parties which in my book is theft.
Right direction. The the incentive to profit needs to be stripped away from law enforcement. All cash and proceeds from the sale of seized property to go to general fund. With that change, I’m a yes.
The Gov’t can hold the asset until a “speedy trial” has been held, or a Grand Jury preferred charges.
Civil forfeiture is an abomination because it denies a person their property without due process of law: it is by definition tyrannical.
Despite irrational SCOTUS rulings and case law, the 5th Amendment is unequivocally clear: “”No person shall be denied Life, Liberty, or property without due process of law””. This principle is reiterated in the 14th Amendment.
Article VI requires all laws to comply with the US Constitution. The Courts (including the SCOTUS) have no authority to make law; and Congress is denied authority to make laws that violate the Constitution. Therefore it is impossible that laws permitting civil forfeiture without due process of law are legal or moral.
Civil forfeiture is nothing less than armed robbery. It must, under the rule of law, be abolished.
“Representatives Turner of the 21st, Pezold of the 133rd, Spencer of the 180th, Clark of the 147th, Caldwell of the 20th, and others are proposing that the courts shall delay the seizure of assets from an accused party until such time as a decision of guilt is rendered. Further, where a not guilty verdict results from a trial, the government shall lose any right to seize the assets implicated in the original indictment. (Current Georgia law allows the seizure of assets before trial.)
- Amendment IV & V: The rights of the people. . . . . . . not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- Conspiracy to Interfere – USC 42 1985; If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly any persons rights the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damage against any one or more of the conspirators.
- Jury Nullification; The jury has an unalienable right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.”” USSC, 1789
- Courts are to distribute justice and restoration for those who have been injured. Courts were not created to operate as a corporate money making enterprise for a select few !
“Law Enforcement” has had this cash cow for years. Sheriffs and LE agencies are screaming as this will stop their free money and assets. Some are spinning that this will hurt the “war on drugs” while in reality it will hurt their pocketbooks. Way past time that “We the People” have some legislation that actually affords the innocent the protection and due process that our Constitution guarantees us.
The origination of civil forfeiture in our legal system has been much too broadly used and abused.
Not sure if it has any place in our society today.
This is yet another instance where a statute remains long after any shred of usefulness has passed. The current use is nothing more than illegal seizure. Criminal guilt must first be present.
“Not as written.
Sub-paragraph (b) should read: (b) A dismissal in a criminal proceeding shall not preclude a civil forfeiture proceeding against any property. An acquittal shall be a bar to further action against any property seized and the same shall be returned instanter.
As stated in the 5th Amendment of the Constitution, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law”. Use of asset forfeiture before a person is tried before a jury of his or her peers is in direct violation of the Constitution, despite the opinion of a former Attorney General of the U.S. that asset forfeiture is a good law enforcement tool. My question is, who really benefits from this, the general public or the government?
Without conviction, there is no guilt. There is no reasonable reason that a citizen should lose any property just because of an indictment. This should not be happening anyway, as these laws do NOT TRUMP the Constitution.
Innocent until proven guilty.
This is a good start.
The intent sounds good, but the simple concept is not as simple as the Bill would indicate.
Civil asset forfeiture is unconstitutional under the 4th amendment “unlawful search and seizure clause.” No one should have their property taken unless they have been charged and convicted of a crime.
“I am fully in support of his bill, it should already be law.
This is important and supported by the 5th Amendment.
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