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Confiscation Laws Destroy US Citizen Property Rights

America Was A Special Place

The Early American Men & Women
Believed In Freedoms and Laws

What Happened to these ideas?

Punishing The Innocent

Post-Dispatch Commentary on OpEd Page
Sunday, March 31, 1996

By Rance Thomas

"One of the most troubling recent decisions handed down by the U.S."

Supreme Court occurred a few weeks ago on the forfeiture of private property. Not only was the decision itself disturbing but so was the rationale supposedly justifying it.

The decision involved the seizure of the car of an innocent victim, Tina Bennis of Michigan, because a crime was committed in it. Bennis' husband, John, was caught having sexual relations with a prostitute in the car owned jointly by the Bennises. Tina Bennis was unaware that her husband was committing such a crime in their car. In a 5-to-4 decision, the U.S.

Supreme Court upheld the Michigan's court decision in the forfeiture of the car.

This decision and others relating to forfeiture of private property threaten our right to ownership of private property. It means the invasion of our privacy by the state and its agents. If this decision prevails, no one will be safe from the actions of overzealous prosecutors and police. We must not allow the erosion of our civil or basic rights for any reason even in the pursuit of a noble purpose. Everyone's rights must be protected, the innocent as well as the guilty. If one person's rights are violated and we stand by and do nothing, we condone and contribute to the violation.

"Come On, Mr. and Mrs. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Make My Day!"

If this decision is allowed to stand, there will be future abuses. For example, any property could be seized if a crime is committed in it or on it, regardless of whether the owner was involved or aware of it.

The rationalization of the court's majority opinion is disturbing. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist stated that Mrs. Bennis' appeal "has considerable appeal" but there was no getting around the "long and unbroken line" of precedent.

With this reasoning, we would still have slavery, police-beating confessions and many other rights violations. Justices Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsberg in their concurring opinions also wrote baffling opinions. Thomas reasoned that "the federal Constitution does not prohibit everything that is intensely undesirable." Ginsberg said the court was not supporting "an experiment to punish innocent third parties." If this decision does not punish innocent third parties, what does? Further, if citizens cannot have a reasonable expectation that the U.S. Supreme Court will protect their rights from the excesses of the state and its agents, to whom can they turn? Only Congress now has the opportunity to protect our rights. Several members of Congress have attempted to do this in recent months - so far without success.

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan introduced a bill last year, but unfortunately it did not pass; nor was it reintroduced in the current Congress. This bill would have corrected many of the dubious practices around the nation by eliminating civil-asset forfeiture. In other words, it would have eliminated forfeiture without a conviction.

In the current Congress, Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., introduced HB 1916, the "Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act," which would address some of the concerns regarding current practices. This bill has been languishing in the Judiciary Committee apparently without sufficient supporters to have it brought to the House floor. A spokesman for the committee said he "still has hopes for it during this session." However, he did not sound enthusiastic or optimistic about its chances of passing.

Although Hyde's bill could shift the burden of proof from the individual to the government in forfeiture decisions, it does not go far enough to protect our rights. The bill, however, would establish the right to counsel in proceedings related to claims of seized property. It would establish the right for a claimant to gain "immediate release of seized property for substantial hardship" reasons. It would also eliminate the seizure of property in controlled-substance cases when a crime was committed "either without the knowledge of the owner or without" the owner's consent.

Why aren't members of Congress clamoring to support this and similar bills to protect our rights? Could it be that they are concerned about being labeled "soft on crime"? It seems that the only way our rights can be assured is for Congress to enact legislation that would ensure protection. We must be protected from the zeal of those who, although well-intentioned, would take away our property.

Cartoon Guy Waving!Visit American Civil Rights Review. A Fabulous Website."



jewn McCain

ASSASSIN of JFK, Patton, many other Whites

killed 264 MILLION Christians in WWII

killed 64 million Christians in Russia

holocaust denier extraordinaire--denying the Armenian holocaust

millions dead in the Middle East

tens of millions of dead Christians

LOST $1.2 TRILLION in Pentagon
spearheaded torture & sodomy of all non-jews
millions dead in Iraq

42 dead, mass murderer Goldman LOVED by jews

serial killer of 13 Christians

the REAL terrorists--not a single one is an Arab

serial killers are all jews

framed Christians for anti-semitism, got caught
left 350 firemen behind to die in WTC

legally insane debarred lawyer CENSORED free speech

mother of all fnazis, certified mentally ill

10,000 Whites DEAD from one jew LIE

moser HATED by jews: he followed the law Jesus--from a "news" person!!

1000 fold the child of perdition


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