Monday, February 13, 2017

President Trump's Views on Civil Forfeiture Represent Set Back to Reform Efforts

One of the things I've been most proud of my Republican Party of late is how GOP state legislators all over the country have led the charge on civil forfeiture reform.  To give credit where credit is due, former President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder also struck a blow for reform at the national level with the decision to end the much abused "equitable sharing" forfeiture program. Unfortunately, in a meeting with a Sheriff's Association, President Donald Trump signaled support for civil forfeiture...though in fairness he clearly does not understand the issue:
Trump: So you're saying—OK, so you're saying the asset taking you used to do, and it had an impact, right? And you're not allowed to do it now? 
[Jefferson County (Kentucky) Sheriff Aubrey: No, they have curtailed it a little bit.
And I'm sure the folks are— 
Trump: And that's for legal reasons? Or just political reasons? 
Aubrey: They make it political, and they make it—they make up stories. All you've got to do— 
Trump: I'd like to look into that, OK? There's no reason for that. Dana, do you think there's any reason for that? Are you aware of this? 
Acting Attorney General Dana Boente: I am aware of that, Mr. President. And we have gotten a great deal of criticism for the asset forfeiture, which, as the sheriff said, frequently was taking narcotics proceeds and other proceeds of crime. But there has been a lot of pressure on the department to curtail some of that. 
Trump: So what do you do? So in other words, they have a huge stash of drugs. So in the old days, you take it. Now we're criticized if we take it. So who gets it? What happens to it? Tell them to keep it? 
Boente: Well, we have what is called equitable sharing, where we usually share it with the local police departments for whatever portion that they worked on the case. And it was a very successful program, very popular with the law enforcement community. 
Trump: And now what happens? 
Boente: Well, now we've just been given—there's been a lot of pressure not to forfeit, in some cases. 
Trump: Who would want that pressure, other than, like, bad people, right? But who would want that pressure? You would think they'd want this stuff taken away. 
Aubrey: You have to be careful how you speak, I guess. But a lot of pressure is coming out of—was coming out of Congress. I don't know that that will continue now or not. 
Trump: I think less so. I think Congress is going to get beat up really badly by the voters because they've let this happen. And I think badly. I think you'll be back in shape. So, asset forfeiture, we're going to go back on, OK? 
Aubrey: Thank you, sir. 
Trump: I mean, how simple can anything be? You all agree with that, I assume, right? 
Unnamed Participant: Absolutely, yeah. 
Trump: Do you even understand the other side of it? 
Participant: No. 
Trump: It's like some things— 
Participant: No sense.

1 comment:

Veterans for Peace Indianapolis said...

Garden-variety tyrant. If he only had a brain ...