Recently by Bob Bauman: A Decade of Secret Tyranny
Few months ago in this space I asked the question: “Is your property safe from seizure?”
I went on to explain the wanton abuse of the civil forfeiture laws by local, state and federal police agencies. In 2010, forfeiture programs confiscated condominium units, homes, cars, boats and cash in more than 15,000 cases, worth a combined $2.5 billion – an amount that has doubled in five years, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
One source of defensive measures against civil forfeiture can be found on the website of Forfeiture Endangers American Rights (FEAR), an excellent anti-forfeiture group founded by California attorney, Brenda Grantland. FEAR also provides a list of forfeiture defense attorneys.
Brenda is a friend of mine and I was honored in the past to serve as member of the FEAR board of directors and to work with her in the U.S. Congress for forfeiture reforms.
Now, with anti-forfeiture activist Judy Osburn, they have just published their first E-book, Asset Forfeiture: What to Do When Police Seize Your Property. This new e-book tells citizens what to do if forfeiture happens to them. It outlines the law with links to statutes, cases, and internet resources.
Asset forfeiture has risen from an obscure concept in the mid-1980s to a whopping profit-making industry for law enforcement agencies. Over 400 federal statues now trigger forfeiture, and every state has its own statutes as well. These statutes allow police to seize property – not just from criminal defendants, but from third parties such as parents, spouses, landlords, and lien-holders.
Because there is no requirement that anyone be charged, much less convicted, large numbers of forfeiture cases are not even connected to a criminal proceeding but property is confiscated by police.
Forfeiture victims have a difficult time defending their property, especially when the government can seize everything they have, including cash, leaving them unable to finance a defense.
This book explains in the detail the federal forfeiture process – civil and criminal. It tells how to qualify for a court-appointed attorney, and what to do if you are forced to represent yourself. The book is outlined in a simple question and answer format.
Like the previous Asset Forfeiture Defense Manual, this small booklet is an invaluable tool for anyone facing asset forfeiture and/or for lawyers attempting to defend people against these unjustly used laws. I recommend it highly.
Reprinted with permission from The Sovereign Investor.
Robert E. Bauman is a former Member of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland, (1973–1981). He is also a former federal official and state legislator; Member, Washington, DC Bar; Graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (1964) and the School of Foreign Service (1959), Washington, DC. Robert currently serves as legal counsel for the Sovereign Society.