Stop Asset Seizures

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The 4th Amendment to the US Constitution (part of the Bill of Rights) says in part, “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, the 5th Amendment says in part, “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

However! Every day, federal, state, and local governments violate these Constitutional Rights. IRS agents routinely seize bank accounts

before a tax case has been heard. TSA agents routinely seize property from travelers – including cash if they’re carrying more than the TSA agent thinks is reasonable. Local police seize cars, homes, and other property from those suspected of committing crimes, before any trial.

Asset Seizure

One common feature of all these asset seizures is that the owner isn’t sued – it’s the property that is sued! Most times there is zero opportunity to recoup the property seized.

One common tactic of the TSA is to search legal aliens returning home with money they saved legally. If there is a lot of money, it gets seized, the person continues on his trip, and the money is gone to the real owner.

Americans have a right not to be subject to this kind of abuse of power. Government agents who carry out these kinds of seizures should be punished.

Action Item: Pass a Constitutional Amendment making all federal, state and local seizures of otherwise legal property illegal. Government employees (and their chains of command) engaging in such seizures shall be criminally prosecuted (including possibility of jail time), lose their jobs, and be subject to civil suit including punitive damages.

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