Episode 19: Can the Government Steal Your Stuff? Yes. It's Called Civil Asset Forfeiture. (Par
Can law enforcement take your stuff? Even if you've committed no crime? Yes they can. Can they take money right out of your hands? Yes. Your car? They do it all the time. Boats? Absolutely. What about your home or your place of business? Yes, the can and they do. Every day.
It's called Civil Asset Forfeiture. It's a little known but widely abused area of law that's turning entire police departments into financial predators. Under this law, law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local level have the right to seize anything you have if they can argue that it might have been used in a crime, even if the owner isn't even suspected of committing a crime himself. And guess what? The police department or agency that seizes your property gets to keep your property and use it however they want.
In this episode, I'll talk to a single mom who got shook down by cops for $10,000 in cash during a routine traffic stop. I'll even talk to one man who nearly lost his family business thanks to the the police's preditory law. And neither of these people committed any crime. I'll also talk with Rob Johnson, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, who has defended a number of these cases, and Roger Pilon, the founder and director of the Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies who explains how this outrageous legal loophole came to be and how law enforcement agencies are using it to enrich themselves.