Stop “Policing for Profit” in Georgia
“A man’s home may be his castle, but that does not keep the government from taking it.” ~U.S. v. Hendler
Georgia Politicians are attacking your private property rights!
Did you know under Georgia law, the government can seize your private property without even charging you with a crime?!
Civil Forfeiture has become big business in Georgia, and it allows the government to seize your cash, cars, and even your house – based on the mere suspicion of a crime.
If you don’t have $10,000 or so to hire an attorney who specializes in civil forfeiture cases, you’re unlikely to ever get your property back, and the Police who took your property can receive up to 100% of the proceeds!
The legal theory behind Civil Forfeiture is that your property is guilty of a crime – not you. And since it is a civil procedure, NONE of the protections that would apply to a criminal proceeding are in place.
Your property is presumed guilty. If you can’t prove it is “innocent,” you can lose it – even if you have not been accused of any wrong doing!
Even if you are tried and acquitted of a crime, the government can still take your property through Civil Forfeiture!
Does this sound like the America you know and love?
Civil forfeiture laws create a perverse incentive for Police to target and seize property INSTEAD of targeting, investigating, and proving actual criminal behavior.
With governments at all levels struggling to pay for their out-of-control spending, it is no surprise this terrible law has encouraged law enforcement and District Attorneys to “Police For Profit” and self-finance by targeting our private property as a funding source.
These ill-gotten funds are often abused:
- One Georgia sheriff purchased a $90,000 Dodge Viper and a $79,000 boat using civil forfeiture funds!
- Another Georgia police chief purchased 10 vehicles for personal use with civil forfeiture funds!
In 2010 alone, Georgia agencies took in a record $28.6 MILLION worth of private property from Georgians – which is more than 4 times the national average!
Countless people across Georgia have fallen victim to this terrible law, including people like Michael Annan. A native of Ghana, Annan didn’t trust banks.
Police in southeast Georgia seized his life savings of more than $43,000 when they pulled him over on I-95 in early 2007. Police used a drug dog to sniff his car, but no drugs were found and no charges were ever filed.
Annan eventually got his money back, but to do so he had to spend more than $12,000 on an attorney to fight the local police force.
Again, does this sound like the America you know and love?
Annan’s story is not unique. Innocent property owners like Paula Peterson of Alma, Georgia, also experience the nightmares caused by the inevitable abuse that comes from Civil Forfeiture laws.
Paula’s daughter drove her late father’s SUV to and from work from her home in Alma. The police later accused the daughter and her roommate of possessing drugs.
Within hours of the arrest, the roommate admitted she was solely responsible for the drugs.
But police still seized Paula’s SUV, simply because it was parked outside of their daughter’s home. They did not return it to Paula for almost five months, even though drugs were never found in the SUV.
The Atlanta and Fulton County Metropolitan Police Departments were sued in 2011 for FAILING to lawfully report their Civil Forfeiture proceeds.
In response to this and a growing chorus of criticism, House Judiciary Chairman Wendell Willard has proposed Civil Forfeiture “reform,” known as House Bill 1.
How can H.B. 1 honestly be called “reform” when it would:
- Continue to allow the government to seize your property without charging you with a crime!
- Provide no court appointed counsel, forcing you to pay substantial legal fees to get back your own property!
- Fail to require the government to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that your property was involved in a crime!
- Allow the government to seize your property – even if you were found innocent of committing any crime!
- Give the Police 90% of the proceeds from your property and give the District Attorney the other 10% – their interests come BEFORE the Georgia Crime Victims Emergency Fund!
- Provide no protection from “Equitable Sharing,” which is when the Police partner with the Federal Government using Federal Civil Forfeiture laws to seize your private property so that they can circumvent state Civil Forfeiture laws that may make the seizure more difficult.
- Fail to require law enforcement to leave a receipt with property owners when they are seizing their private property.
- Not allow you to have a trial by jury!
- Put the burden of proof on innocent owners to prove their lack of knowledge of criminal activity RATHER than forcing the government to prove the owner had actual knowledge of the underlying crime giving rise to the forfeiture.
H.B. 1 continues the Third World practice of declaring you GUILTY until you prove yourself innocent!
Do our elected representatives think they can fool Georgians by calling this “reform”?
Don’t be fooled!
I am counting on your help – it’s critical that you CLICK HERE and sign the petition to end Civil Forfeiture and “Policing For Profit” immediately!
Signing this petition will tell your Representatives that you elected them to represent YOU and to protect YOUR private property rights.
You did NOT elect them so they could fold to pressure from Sheriffs and Prosecutors who want to continue “Policing For Profit” and financing government confiscation of YOUR private property!