(Susanne Posel) Donald Trump called on Sheriff Harold Eavenson of Rockwall County in Texas to “destroy” the career of a state lawmaker in the same state because they are an opponent to civil forfeiture.
Eavenson told Trump: “On asset forfeiture, we’ve got a state senator in Texas that was talking about introducing legislation to require conviction before we could receive that forfeiture money.”
Trump replied that he could not believe a state lawmaker would not support this practice by police which involves seizing money and property of individuals suspected of committing a crime – before they’ve been convicted.
Eavenson added: “And I told him that the cartel would build a monument to him in Mexico if he could get that legislation passed.”
Trump asked for the name of the senator and said: “We’ll destroy his career.”
Sheriff tells Trump that state senator is doing something he doesn’t like
Trump: “Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.” pic.twitter.com/75y3t9zc54
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) February 7, 2017
The senator in question is not a “him”, but a her – Texas state senator Konni Burton filed a bill in December of 2016 requiring a felony conviction before law enforcement can seize property or cash under civil forfeiture.
The practice of civil forfeiture has been often misapplied to suspects who were not convicted of the crimes they were accused of, but then cannot regain their lost property because the police believe they “may have” been used in a crime.
For example, in Philadelphia a father’s home was seized because his son was arrested on drug possession charges, and a man who was pulled over in Oklahoma had to hand $53,000.00 to the law enforcement officer involved even though he was not formally charged for having the money.
Last year the Department of Justice (DoJ) brought back the Equitable Sharing Program (ESP) which allows law enforcement to prosecute inanimate objects under asset forfeiture while a joint task force or federal authorities are involved.
In 2015, the DoJ had suspended payments to the ESP; however Peter Carr, spokesperson for the agency explained : “In the months since we made the difficult decision to defer equitable sharing payments because of the $1.2 billion rescinded from the Asset Forfeiture Fund, the financial solvency of the fund has improved to the point where it is no longer necessary to continue deferring equitable sharing payments.”
This development “ allows police to keep up to 80% of assets” seized in association with a crime. Law enforcement is allowed to keep the property “even if the person who owned the assets never ends up charged with any crime.”
Police chiefs have admitted that this asset forfeiture money “has been used for salaries, training and equipment, such as buy body armor.”
In fact, “recent reports have found that the use of the practice has exploded in recent years, prompting concern that, in some cases, police are motivated more by profit and less by justice.”
Another consequence of this action gave the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the authority to “seize and administratively forfeit property involved in controlled-substance abuses.”
In effect: those who are convicted of crimes involving alcohol and/or substance abusers will have their right to bear arms revoked.
By misuse of the civil-forfeiture doctrine, constitutional rights can be circumvented while the owner of the property will have it taken without recourse.