The Department of Justice is bringing 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.
Last year 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: “In the months since we made the difficult decision to defer equitable sharing payments because of the $1.2 billion rescinded from the Asset Forfeiture Fund, the financial solvency of the fund has improved to the point where it is no longer necessary to continue deferring equitable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.”
Actions like this aid in situations such as the 2014 US Marshals Service’s ability to acquire 173,991 Bitcoins and 144,336 computers in connection with the Silk Road. Asset forfeiture is on the rise, and in 2014, the feds brought in a total of $5 billion, up from approximately 3.5 billion in 2013.
Another consequence of this change is that this allows the Obama Administration through the DoJ who has given 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.
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