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Tyrone chief decries changes to seizure laws

Tyrone Police Chief Brandon Perkins is concerned about proposed state legislation that would make it more difficult for law enforcement to seize cash, cars and other property used in the drug trade.

In a letter to Tyrone residents, Perkins notes that such seizures are one of the best ways to hit drug dealers where it hurts most: in their wallet. Because many drug offenders only serve two or three years in prison, going after the money produced by their organizations is one of the most effective ways to combat drug criminals, Perkins wrote.

Perkins is asking residents to contact legislators Rep. Virgil Fludd, D-Tyrone and Sen. Ronnie Chance, R-Tyrone, to fight House Bill 1, a 91-page bill that would enact sweeping changes to all forms of law enforcement seizures from those selling drugs to gambling and prostitution operations.

According to the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, House Bill 1 would make it more difficult to seize weapons used by drug dealers and also make it easier for parties not involved in the drug transaction to potentially claim ownership of the property.

The bill also changes the burden of proof in seizure cases from “a preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence.”

HB 1 also makes it easier for a person unrelated to the crime to argue that the property in question should not be forfeited. Such a person would have to show they did not consent to the crime, did not know that it was likely to have occurred, and they did not own a motor vehicle specifically jointly with the person whose crime allowed the forfeiture process to convene, among several other requirements.

Three of the co-sponsors of HB 1 are attorneys: Republican Representatives Wendell K. Willard, Edward H. Lindsey Jr. and Democrat Representative Stacey Y. Abrams.

Perkins said he agrees with a portion of the bill which strengthens the reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies to disclose what property they have seized. He also acknowledged that some law enforcement agencies apparently aren’t meeting the current reporting guidelines. Dealing with those issues can be handled by sanctioning those particular law enforcement agencies instead of making it more difficult on all police agencies, Perkins said.

“My concern is that they’re making it harder for law enforcement to seize the proceeds of criminal activity,” Perkins said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

Forfeited drug money also helps police departments such as Tyrone pay for training and equipment, lifting the burden on taxpayers, Perkins said.

Tyrone gets its federal drug seizure funds through participation on the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department’s Tactical Narcotic Team, which secures seized funds through federal drug seizure laws, Perkins said. Those funds have paid for new police cars, computers and report-writing software, shotguns for all officers and a recent renovation of the department’s basement to add office, storage and training space, Perkins said.

Because those funds were available, it relieved Tyrone taxpayers of the burden for paying for them, Perkins added.

“I don’t think citizens realize how much drug money helps us run our agencies and diminishes our draw from public funds,” Perkins said.

The basement renovation cost about $100,000 and the computers cost upwards of $80,000 for example, the chief noted.

Perkins said he understands the concern of some interest groups backing the bill who think law enforcement targets certain people for seizures. As far as the Tyrone department is concerned, the agency does not directly seize any items or money, though it benefits from such seizures conducted by other agencies.

Perkins said he feels that drug seizures should not be considered “a free for all” for police to take items and cash to help their budgets. At the same time, he doesn’t want to see seizure restrictions become too burdensome on law enforcement.

“Our mission is to get drugs off the street, not seize people’s property,” Perkins said. “But in cases where we can legally use that against them, we should be able to do that and I don’t think the state should be tying our hands.”

Comments

PTC Observer's picture

Be careful what you ask for, all it takes is someone that doesn't like what you say, what you do, or simply how you look to set you up to have your property taken from you. Our law enforcement agencies, as Tyrone Police Chief Brandon Perkins points out, use property seizures to meet budgetary constraints, unfortunately this property can easily be yours.

"The presumptive seizure of property permitted by the act inflicts punishment without proof. It reverses the presumption of innocence that is the basis of our criminal justice system. The act contravenes another of the fundamental Rights of Englishmen — no crime without intent. An owner’s property can be seized if a trespasser, unbeknownst to an owner or over his objection, uses it to “facilitate” the commission of an offense."

“An owner’s property can be seized if a trespasser, unbeknownst to an owner or over his objection, uses it to “facilitate” the commission of an offense. “ continuing this logic of the law, “With “probable cause,” law enforcement can seize property, and the statute gives them incentives for seizure. …..”law enforcement agencies retain the proceeds. ….”The forfeiture provision was intended to leave suspected drug traffickers unprotected by the traditional safeguards of criminal procedure. But this cannot be done without also leaving the innocent unprotected. By permitting punishment without indictment, prior to conviction, and despite acquittal, property rather than crime has become the target………Some of them have also learned that it is just as easy to go after the property of the innocent as it is to go after the property of the guilty.”

Roberts, Paul Craig; Stratton, Lawrence M. (2008-03-25). The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice

S. Lindsey's picture

...but.. In Alabama once we seize property it was held until the deposition of the trial.. if the subject is found not guilty then the property was released back to them... IF the subject was found guilty.. then we had a separate hearing to have the property condemned. If we could show a link to the drug trade and the property and the Judge agreed we got the property... if not it reverted.

Certain things like Cash, Weapons if seized at the time of arrest automatically reverted to seizure. However, cash could be returned IF the CONVICTED drug dealer could prove the cash was NOT part of their illegal activities.

Weapons automatically were seized.. possession of a weapon in conjunction with drugs and dealing those drugs resulted in an automatic forfeiture.

Criminals should not be able to profit from their criminal activity..

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

SPQR's picture

What's more important, expediency or due process?

S. Lindsey's picture

...what's your point?

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

SPQR's picture

The seizure of property in many cases has become a business model for many law enforcement agencies. Sort of the next step beyond speed traps. Its especially heinous because the proceeds are kept by whatever law enforcement agency does the seizing. This is a formula that results in due process being thrown out the window.

suggarfoot's picture

Shame on the reps for trying to make it easier for the dopers and their relatives to keep their property. I have seen some of these things go down at the airport and have known a few DEA. Believe me when I tell you the dopers have all the rights. They are given every opportunity to explain why they are traveling with 300,000. in cash but have no job, never had one, and many prior arrest for drugs. They also have drug dogs that will either hit on the money or not. Personally, I would open my wallet and let the dogs sniff as I have nothing to hide.

That illegal money is used to buy cop cars so the taxpayers don't have to. It is a win win for the taxpayer.

I question what kind of people these lawmakers/reps are to side with the drug dealers and make it easier.

Every opportunity is given to this slime to prover ownership. What happened is they found some slick high priced lawyer that has told them step by step how to get it through a 3rd party with a little bending of the laws. Then the dopers buy a few well placed people.

They get to keep their dope money and buy more and make more kids addicts.
These politicans should be sooooo proud of themselves.

SPQR's picture

when you're a hammer.......

Be it resolved that Spell Check will at times prevent a poster from appearing to be a fool!

S. Lindsey's picture

I just want to clarify your position.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

the end justify the means? How much freedom do you give up to catch criminals? The fact is that this law works against the innocent.

Let me illustrate how absurd this law is, let's suppose that a law was passed that was a capital offense. Occasionally, we all recognized up front that there would be those that may be innocent, but they would lose their life anyway. The logic would be that we shouldn't let criminals get away.

When we deprive the innocent of their property without due process, it is morally the same thing.

The fact is that law enforcement everywhere has become "addicted" to this source of funding, and in some cases at the expense of freedom. How do we protect the innocent? Due process.

S. Lindsey's picture

I do not condone the seizure of property before conviction other then in cases of evidence or property demonstrably purchased illicitly i.e. cars, jewelry property easily converted. By this let me give an example.. 20yo male with no visible means of support...has $10k+ Jewelry $40k+ car.. no note maybe $10k in cash....

This hypothetical individual is arrested and charged with Drug trafficking.
That property can be demonstrated to a Grand Jury that it was gained illicitly through drug trafficking thus should be seized.. Now if the perp was found Not guilty then the property has to revert... of course the IRS and State is going to be asking questions..but wasn't Capone taken down for Tax evasion so...

Property will always be seized for instance if a gun was used in a Murder then of course the weapon has to be seized... I am sure you are not saying that the Gun should be given back to the suspect simply because he/she has not been convicted yet right?

So the 4th can be abridged under certain conditions before Due Process begins..

Has it been abused.. I am sure.. but do you really want to throw the baby out with the bath water?

Do you really want to give a drug dealer his cash, gold and cars back that was purchased through their criminal acts?

If I stole your property I have converted that property to my property. Should it not be returned to you upon my arrest and conviction.. I mean I possessed it so by definition it is my property.. would you want me to keep it until my conviction.. maybe destroying it or converting it to cash maybe to even pay for my defense? Of course you would.. so was MY 4th rights abridged if it was seized..NO.. because the property was gained from a CRIMINAL act..and I should not be able to profit from that act.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

So you don't believe that the concept of presumed innocence has merit in all cases?

Who decides to which cases it should be applied?

If it is the state, then I will take my chances with the punks, they offer less of a threat to me than an all powerful government.

Evidence is different than property, evidence can be tangible assets used in the commission of a crime a gun, a baseball bat, a car, etc. This can't be extended to all assets. If so, it would mean that if you were ever charged with possession of drugs, because someone planted them in your car, called the police to inform them of your distribution of drugs, then all your assets could be seized. All assets..... your home, your bank accounts, your cars, your furniture, etc. could all be taken from you. You know what, all it takes is an unidentified phone call. This is how the law works now.

When we accept one small bit of lost freedom, then it is just the beginning of a much larger loss.

Without due process we are all at risk, I am certain you can see this.

S. Lindsey's picture

... I seriously doubt that someone could drop an 8 ball in your car and the Police can then seize your home and bank accounts without probable cause.. They HAVE to show linkage even in Georgia...

Do you have any specific cases?

" With criminal forfeiture, it is the owner who is on trial, and the property can only be forfeited if the owner has first been convicted of a crime. But with civil forfeiture, the government can proceed against the property directly under the legal fiction that the property somehow acted to assist in the commission of a crime."

Are we speaking of Civil or Criminal.. I just check Georgia Case Law... no asset forfeitures are made until AFTER a conviction...

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

the book.

S. Lindsey's picture

I will... but you may be confusing the two.. Criminal asset forfeiture is different then Civil forfeiture..

Now Civil forfeiture laws are a joke and a travesty. These laws switch the burden of proof onto the person and not the Government...

But that was not the comments nor the discussion. It's common many people confuse the two...

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

A law, whether civil or criminal that takes property without due process is wrongheaded, immoral and unconstitutional.

The current laws have corrupted our law enforcement officials with money that they think they need to run their departments. It, in short, is an industry powered by other laws that make drugs illegal. It is a political force empowered by controlling human action.

BTW, I am not confusing the laws, it is a criminal act to sell or distribute drugs in America as broadly defined by the courts under the Federal RICO Act. These laws fuel local police agencies by using the RICO Act for the distribution of assets seized to agencies involved in the arrest of suspects.

Read the book. ;-)

http:// www. gambling-law-us. com/Federal-Laws /rico.htm

You have to eliminate spaces in the above link, so I don't get thrown into The Citizen twilight zone.

S. Lindsey's picture

... I still believe that assets gained from a Criminal act may be seized BEFORE conviction. Simply for the reason to deny those assets to the presumed criminal for use or conversion.

But believe me I see and agree with your point.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

Enjoy the book, you may change your mind after reading it.

S. Lindsey's picture

...busted too many drug dealers in my lifetime and saw the evil they did to kids and adults alike while living like kings...Taking their "stuff" away seemed to hurt them more then the jail time they got...

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

reasoning is the reason I could never be considered a conservative.

Enjoy the book.....and remember if one person loses their property without due process, you could too.

Most people who have 'busted drug dealers' and who are in certified law enforcement positions are 'conservative'. Most that I have come in contact with for well over 30 years uphold the law and respect due process. Everyone is entitled to their personal feelings. - but I'm glad to say that the majority of certified law officers follow the law. Is 'due process' ignored in Georgia? From what I read here, that is a concern.

PTC Observer's picture

would suggest that you read the book, it's not about Georgia, it's about your beloved Federal Government.

SPQR's picture

are you a criminal before you have your day in court?

S. Lindsey's picture

...and would that matter to the issue at hand?

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

SPQR's picture

On the presumption of innocence until proven guilty I do not understand seizing property for an indefinite period waiting for your day in court or in some cases waiting to be formally charged. If this was Mexico, to me, it would be understandable but here it seems to contradict the basic premise this country was founded on. But maybe I missed something. Perhaps I could be enlightened.

S. Lindsey's picture

...feel no need to repeat myself.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

NUK_1's picture

It also removes all presumption of innocence before the fact when the State can freeze, seize and even sell someone else's property before they have their day in court to answer to the charges. Even if found not guilty, they then usually have to fight like hell to reclaim what is their own to begin with.

This has been widely abused by the Feds for years(we seize all your bank accounts and then make you beg to pay for an attorney to represent you against "us") and now a lot of various states and local jurisdictions have gotten in on the act because it's lucrative for them.

PTC Observer's picture

Please read the referenced book.

S. Lindsey's picture

... but just to be clear I am against seizure of property NOT tied to the criminal act... BUT... I am for seizure of property gained by the act..

If a drug dealer used his proceeds to buy a car or a house then it should be seized...much like a Murderer should not profit from selling their stories to the Media or making a movie or book deals.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

PTC Observer's picture

current law gives authorities broad interpretive power to decide. No due process. If you're innocent and you can't access your property to protect yourself, then you are deprived of not only your property but you best chance of proving yourself innocent.

I don't see any in between on this Lindsey.

suggarfoot's picture

I agree with Perkins. As a property owner it would be very hard ..not..to know that the dopers were using it to cook meth, stash dope, etc. If you knowingly rent to a doper so he can sell kids a slow death, you deserve to loose your property.

I strongly believe in hitting the dopers in the pocket. They are slime. Too bad our politicans want to cuddle up to them. It is all about money and getting the pockets lined.

PTC Observer's picture

Could disagree with you, except maybe those that have been found innocent and can't get their property returned to them because it has been sold by law enforcement.

How many innocent people should lose their property because of our zeal to crack down on drug dealers. How many hotel owners not knowing drug activity is going on on their property lose their life's work to law enforcement?

This law simply "cancels" due process, a Constitutional right.

And move on..

The war on drugs is a HUGE failure.

Sorry Chief, I understand what you are trying to do, and how hard your job is, but asset forfeiture laws that allow non-judicial seizure of property by LE are wrong. Not only is is fertile ground for abuse, but it violates a fundamental principle of our legal system, innocent until PROVEN guilt in a court of law.

If you feel you have a legitimate claim to their property as compensation for your expenses, wait until after conviction then pursue it in civil court just like the rest of us.

suggarfoot's picture

I think what gets lost in the debate is that we are trying to protect the children, our children.

We aren't talking pot dealers here, we are talking hard core dealers. When the feds move in on a group, they have perhaps been watching them for a year or more. They have done all the background. That is what people don't understand. They have a real good idea if you are knowingly letting dopers use your property as a stash house, cook meth, etc.

It is important to remember the victims are our children, not the dopers or their buddies. Some kids get hooked the first time they try coke, meth, etc. The whole family is then victimized by watching helplessly as their child slowly goes down. All so some doper can buy himself somemore bling.

As the laws are now, I feel an honest person, if they are honest, can prove their property was unknowling used.

As I said earlier, the slimy lawyers and politicans sell themselves to the dopers. It is up to us to say 'no' to changing the laws. The laws are there to protect our children from being victimized. I don't give a rat's a$$### if a doper loses his paycheck. They are poor excuses for human beings. Thank goodness my child never used and was into sports, the laws are there to protect US...remember that. Dopers have way too many rights as it is.
The doper has the money to hire a slick lawyer, or pay off a politican....your helpless child does not.

Citizen_Steve's picture

Honestly Suggarfoot I see government abuse as a far bigger threat to a happy future for my kids than drug abuse. A parent cannot protect their kids from all evils, but drugs are a choice and parents can do quite a lot to equip their kids on such choices. But continuing to expand the profit incentive of our already abusive authority will collectively harm our kids to a much greater degree than will drug abuse.

Steve

Great example of how to use misdirection to stop a criminal.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KvO-8IvoCI&feature=player_embedded#!">Gun Control works "Thank God for Guns" and Gun Control.</a>

Pro or Anti Gun the scene from Boston Legal is hysterical!!! Watch, wallet gun..here's a link
http://willshatner.blogspot.com/2011/06/gun-control.html

From a review of the book:

[quote]They show how crusading legislators and unfair prosecutors are remaking American law into a weapon wielded by the government and how the erosion of the legal principles we hold dearsuch as habeas corpus and the prohibition against self-incriminationis destroying the presumption of innocence. [/quote]

I understand your concern. To paint the entire federal government with a broad brush is difficult to swallow based on my experience. Civil Rights attorneys and current specialists in habeas corpus have been dealing with crusading legislators and unfair prosecutors for generations in this country. In my personal experience, it was the 'beloved federal government' that has come to the aid of women, minorities, etc. The Innocense Project, thanks to current scientific advancement has done/is doing much in this area. To correct injustice has been going on for a long time in the country - even before Lincoln. Welcome to the club. I'm sure Libertarians are continuing to search out those who misuse power. Glad to have you aboard. Get the individuals - don't smear the entire system.
Going after <strong>persons</strong> has proven effective in court. (They [those who abuse our Constitution] are also entitled to due-process)

PTC Observer's picture

Lincoln the standard bearer of the big government "solution" was the first President to suspend habeas corpus and it continues today off and on depending on "circumstances".

So much for due process and Constitutional protections. It's this entire system that delivers these results DM.

G35 Dude's picture

When the Supreme Court ruled that Lincoln did not have the authority to suspend habeas corpus, he issued a warrant for the arrest of Rodger Taney who was the head justice of the supreme court at the time. This arrest was never carried out but it estimated that between 13 and 30 thousand were without habeas corpus. Lincoln's response was

[quote]"As commander in chief of the army and navy, in time of war, I suppose I have a right to take any measure which may best subdue the enemy." [/quote]

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/adams3.html

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

NUK_1's picture

He's textbook Example A of the "ends justifies the means," and unfortunately, a lot of his successors also agree with that supreme arrogance and absolute total disregard for why this country was founded in the first place. They all agree that authoritarian and dictatorial governments are bad....until getting elected, just like Lincoln.

Unfortunately, a lot of poorly-educated products of our American public school system also feel the same exact way about blatant abuse of power but will scream and howl when it one day affects them the same way. Or, maybe not. Middle East and African dictators have shown that a lot of their citizens are ignorant and hopeless trash so why not suppress/kill the hell out of them instead of trying to educate them otherwise? Lot easier to be King or Dictator than to raise up the people you are governing.

There's a lot of Americans very ready to accept a dictator telling them how to live, how to think, where to worship, and what they should or should not to do morally. They would welcome that.

[quote]a lot of poorly-educated products of our American public school system also feel the same exact way about blatant abuse of power but will scream and howl when it one day affects them the same way[/quote]

No one, regardless of their education, likes to be treated DIFFERENTLY. If the big guys 'do it' - OK - as long as it doesn't affect ME. You're right. It's called 'human nature' unfortunately.

Rove, Norquist, Koch - and Democrat power mongers - don't give a hoot about the poorly-educated in our country - they are concerned about manipulating those who are elected - so as to maintain <strong>their</strong> power. The 'real' power in this country is the VOTE. (and the 'big guys' underestimated the power of the little giver in our country)

hutch866's picture

Maybe it's just me, but I feel if you're going to quote someone, maybe you should use the ENTIRE sentence. It's amazing the difference one word can make in a statement.

I yam what I yam

Unfortunately. Sorry about that - was not intentional. I'm agreeing with Nuk. I said: [quote] You're right. It's called 'human nature' unfortunately.[/quote]

Some members of this current Republican Party - that tried to brag about being the PARTY OF LINCOLN (in a weak attempt to get African American votes) - are now openly acknowledging what many historians have always known regarding President Lincoln. According to history, President Lincoln - as men and women in power have done throughout history - did what he could to maintain his power and reach his goal. Are the current Republicans (southern) still trying to go with the LIE of being proud of Lincoln's accomplishments regarding ending slavery? African Americans have been aware of President's Lincoln's goals and what he wanted for 'black folk'. The conversations between Lincoln and Frederick Douglas prove that he was more of a pragmatist than a 'humanist'. However, the results did 'free' many physically. . .and he kept the country together at that time. What continued the separation years later is the ending of Jim Crow - another form of 'slavery'.

Charles Adams:

<cite>Charles Adams is the author of When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession, Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts That Built America, and For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization</cite>

The 'liberals' in our country are well aware of the Charles Adams' in our midst. So are moderate conservatives. It is too bad that conservatives and progressives cannot work together to maintain the greatness of these United States.
We're more than TAXES. No one is fooled about the theme of 'taxes' - as the great divider between citizens and government. (It is a concern - but the souths seceding will not help the south to maintain the American Dream without federal assistance) No one is going to pick the crops of the south for free. And the 'new' American will not subject themselves to racist attitudes. The ignorance of racism and the quest for supremacy based on skin color is becoming more and more obsolete. The next generation is our hope. The generation of 20-40 is meeting the challenge.

PTC Observer's picture

You make no sense at all. Then again, it's not surprising given your philosophy.

I bother to converse with you just to show others that there is another opinion/philosophy in this country. Thank heavens!! You call for government workers to lose the right to vote - and Alabama wants to get from under the Voting RIghts Act. Interesting.

S. Lindsey's picture

While 80% of Republicans SUPPORTED it.

The Democrat Party's Long and Shameful History of Bigotry and Racism

http://gopcapitalist.tripod.com/democratrecord.html

Progressives have no interest in maintaining the greatness of the United States... at least not what made this Country great that is... Now a Socialist utopia now that is another subject.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Let's look at the facts:

[quote]The bill came before the full Senate for debate on March 30, 1964 and the "Southern Bloc" of 18 southern Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator led by Richard Russell (D-GA) launched a filibuster to prevent its passage.[10] Said Russell: "We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states."[11][/quote]

Where did you learn your history? But keep posting. You just can't understand who the Democrats were in 1964. You may not have been born - but check all of the history books - and stop denying the truth of who was against the Civil Rights Act.

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