When policing devolves from solving crimes to seeing how much private property police can seize from citizens there is something very wrong with the focus of our nation, yet under civil forfeiture laws this is precisely what’s happening across Canada and the United States.
Like most laws, civil asset forfeiture has, at its heart, good intentions. As the saying goes, however, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
Civil asset forfeiture is nothing more than a paving machine on the road to Hell.
The original idea behind the concept was to take the profit out of crime by seizing the assets of criminals. Unfortunately for citizens, police departments quickly realized there was a loophole in civil forfeiture laws that they could use to profit from, and profit they have.
The way civil asset forfeiture laws are written in most jurisdictions the agency that seizes the assets gets to keep all or most of what they seize. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this system is ripe for abuse.
The only way to get assets returned once they have been seized is to go to court and prove you obtained them legally. In other words, you must prove you did not commit a crime.
As you can imagine, proving that you did NOT do something is not exactly simple.
The Institute for Justice (http://www.ij.org) is an American organization dedicated to ridding the United States of the scourge of civil asset forfeiture. They continually highlight the most heinous abuses of civil asset forfeiture laws across America and have written a report titled “Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture.” This report can be downloaded for free from The Institute for Justice website.
They have also created videos that highlight what’s in their report, one of which is below. I have also included a link to a news video that shows how police in Tennessee police have blatantly abused civil forfeiture laws in order to pad their budgets.
The Tennessee case is one of the most disgusting abuses of these laws, but Tennessee is hardly alone in this. Practically every police department in Canada and the United States use these laws to benefit themselves at the expense of ordinary citizens.
For example, in Ontario civil asset forfeiture is being used to take away the home of Bruce and Donna Montague.
To send a message to Canadian gun owners. That message?
Don’t challenge Canada’s gun laws or we will crush you too.
Bruce Montague’s “crime” was to challenge the constitutionality of Canada’s Firearms Act. What most people don’t comprehend is that in Canada, unlike in America, you cannot challenge the constitutionality of a law unless you have “standing.”
What this means is that unless you are directly affected by the law you cannot challenge it.
In simple terms, this means you must be charged with a crime under the law you want to challenge or you do not have “standing” before the courts.
Bruce Montague burned all the registration certificates for his firearms as well as his firearms license. After the expiry date on his license had expired the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) arrested Mr. Montague and charged him with dozens of counts of violating Canada’s gun laws.
Bruce Montague is hardly a “gun criminal.” He traveled the nation and protested on the steps of every provincial capital in an attempt to be charged so he could bring his case before the courts.
Not a single police force across the nation was willing to arrest Mr. Montague at these protest rallies even though he was in possession of an unregistered firearm and offered notarized affidavits of his admission of guilt.
It wasn’t until 2 years later that OPP constables felt confident enough to arrest Mr. Montague, treating him like a violent criminal instead of the civil disobedience protester that he is.
Bruce’s daughter Katey Montague created a video that explained just how the government of Ontario is using civil asset forfeiture laws to crush her family and take everything they own. You can watch that video below, as well as the Institute of Justice video on the abuses of civil asset forfeiture and the news report video on the civil forfeiture horrors in Tennessee.