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…the sort of people who know how to use the law to enrich themselves and rob powerless people figure out how to do exactly that and find their ecological niche in an increasingly morally debased police force.
That’s not what a police state does. It does a lot more.
The devolution is not complete.
Civil forfeiture is a huge mess and something to be railed against. But it would also be helpful to point out that this is not a recent innovation. It derives from the personification doctrine of admiralty law and a number of medieval court institutions where animals and inanimate objects could be charged with a crime.
Roger Pilon’s congressional testimony from 1996 covers the basics very well. It is the abuse of the facilitation doctrine that is giving rise to more and more cases. I recommend Cato’s documentation and remedies for those who wish to pursue this seriously. In a practical sense, one can help by simply raising the question of political candidates, is it ok to seize items by probable cause, not charge the owners with any wrongdoing, and make them prove by a preponderance of evidence that the property was innocent? If the answer is yes, don’t vote for that person.