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Quiet Change Expands ATF Power To Seize Property

ATF

Once again, we see the FedGov showing a total lack of concern for Individual Rights, as it seeks to make their job “easier”. – Shorty Dawkins, Associate Editor

This article comes from republicbroadcasting.org

by Mike Slad

A quick glance at the Federal Register (Vol. 80, No. 37, p. 9987-88) today reveals that Attorney General Eric Holder, who earned cautious praise last month for a small reform to the federal equitable sharing program, has now delegated authority to the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to seize and “administratively forfeit” property involved in suspected drug offenses.  Holder temporarily delegated this authority to the ATF on a trial basis in 2013, and today made the delegation permanent while lauding the ATF for seizing more than $19.3 million from Americans during the trial period.

Historically, when the ATF uncovered contraband subject to forfeiture under drug statutes, it was required to either refer the property to the DEA for administrative forfeiture proceedings or to a U.S. Attorney in order to initiate a judicial forfeiture action.  Under today’s change, the ATF will now be authorized to seize property related to alleged drug offenses and initiate administrative forfeiture proceedings all on its own.

The DOJ claims this rule change doesn’t affect individual rights (and was thus exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act) and that the change is simply an effort to streamline the federal government’s forfeiture process.  Those who now stand more likely to have their property taken without even a criminal charge may beg to differ.

Further, the department claims that forcing the ATF to go through a judicial process in order to seize property requires too much time and money.  Whereas an “uncontested administrative forfeiture can be perfected in 60-90 days for minimal cost […] the costs associated with judicial forfeiture can amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars and the judicial process generally can take anywhere from 6 months to years.”  In other words, affording judicial process to Americans suspected of engaging in criminal activity takes too long and costs too much.

Note that the above quote speaks of an “uncontested” forfeiture.  This refers to a situation in which the property owner fails to engage the byzantine process for recovering their property. Defenders of civil asset forfeiture often claim that such failures to contest amount to admissions of guilt, but there is substantial evidence that many victims of civil asset forfeiture simply lack the time, resources, and legal knowledge to fight the bottomless resources of government to get their property back.  This is especially true when it comes to the War on Drugs, within which the bulk of civil forfeiture targets are poor, lack legal education, and lack access to attorneys and other avenues to vindicate their rights.  There are also troubling examples of the government simply never initiating proceedings against the stolen property and thus never giving the owners a chance to “contest” anything at all.

Read more here.

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Shorty Dawkins

Oath Keepers Merchandise

3 comments

  1. The socialist side is coming out. I can see this taking an additional step towards censorship.

  2. This is ridiculous.

    Anyone here remember the Fourth Amendment?

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated”

    NO warrant, NOT lawful, is JUST THEFT. Since it is a crime against the people and our way of government it qualifies as a *TREASONOUS act (treason is against the American people, always, in all its forms as we are the fount of our type of government; and if any type of force, threat of force, or perceived force is use it is **TERRORISM against the American people and the USA.

    Come on call it what it is. NO more politispeak.

    * http://www.shastadefense.com/Dare-Call-It-Treason-21.pdf

    ** 28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

    Title 18 U.S. Code section 2381: Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    Which used to say until lately:

    Title 18 U.S. Code section 2381: “When in the presence of two witnesses to the same overt act or in an open court of law if you fail to timely move to protect and defend the constitution of the United States and honor your oath of office you are subject to the charge of capital felony treason, and upon conviction you will be taken by the posse to the nearest busy intersection and at high noon hung by the neck until dead…The body to remain in state till dusk as an example to anyone who takes his oath of office lightly.

    I like the second better

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