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Eapen Thampy - Americans For Forfeiture Reform - June 22, 2012

Cannabis Nation Radio Discusses Forfeiture Reform

Eapen Hampy, the Executive Director,  of "Americans for Forfeiture Reform"  discusses the need for reform of laws which result in forfeiture of millions of dollars of legal cash, and property nationwide, seized by authorities using  forfeiture laws that give them excessive power to fund their organizations with an ongoing circle of forfeiture.  The forfeitures are often times not connected to drugs, but rather are often assets seized thru abuses of the authority that forfeiture laws give to law enforcement, and often the seizures are  legal money and property.   As many are becoming aware there is a war on private property in the United States,  and the forfeiture laws are used to take property from its rightful owners, and use the cash, and sale of that property to further fund the aggressive policing, raids, and seizure process.  

Founded in June 2010, Americans for Forfeiture Reform is made up of involved citizens, activists, and members of the law enforcement and legal communities who are speaking out about the failures of America’s asset forfeiture regime.  These policies have failed to deter, eliminate, or reduce criminal activity while creating a law enforcement culture that has incentives to increase revenue rather  concern itself with public safety. Moreover, the evolution of forfeiture practices in America have gutted a number of core Constitutional and legal mechanisms key to the impartial administration of justice, particularly the rights to due process of law and the right to a fair trial.

The history of forfeiture laws, abuses, and several legal cases will be discussed, including one to be heard this fall, where the  US Supreme Court will hear Florida v. Harris, a case where the Court will decide whether or not a dog alert is sufficient to generate the probable cause necessary to sustain a search or seizure. This case is important because dog alerts are used to justify the seizure of millions of dollars in legal cash and currency from travelers around the United States every month. 

In the rush to fight the “War on Drugs” and now the “War on Terror”, the US government expanded America’s forfeiture regime to allow the forfeiture of virtually any property through an umbrella of federal and state law. Now American law enforcement directly retains billions of dollars per year free of legislative oversight or appropriation. It is this money that sets the policy and determines the protocol of the law enforcement agencies that are dependent on seizure revenue to buy military-grade equipment for domestic policing and to pay for their salaries.

Americans for Forfeiture Reform analyst Scott Meiner has done groundbreaking research into the false science of dog alerts, which is highly recommend to anyone interested in the subject:   False Dog Alerts