Civil asset forfeiture is nothing more than legalistic double speak for outright theft! What’s so civilized about authorities just taking your money and keeping your money?
A few years ago, I was walking through an airport, on my way to Las Vegas. I noticed that the security line was not moving as fast as it should. As I approached the front of the security checkpoint, I noticed that someone had set off alarm bells by carrying stacks of cash through the scanners which brought an intense scrutiny by authorities who surrounded the guy and were asking him questions. I did not stick around long enough to see what eventually happened to this poor soul, but I could not get over how foolish it was for him to even think of carrying a sack of cash through an airport (even if it was on the way to Las Vegas). The man had clearly not been educated on what happens if/when authorities seize a large amount of cash simply under the pretext of “suspicion”. You don’t have to actually do anything wrong for them to seize your cash. You simply have to behave in a way that draws their attention to you and cause them to believe that you are suspicious. And once they take your money, you have to spend the time and money fighting to get it back. Now, in the beginning, when civil asset forfeiture was first introduced as a legal doctrine, it was intended to punish drug dealers who would be caught with large amounts of cash during a drug bust. But as we all know, it is the hypothetical drug money argument that is universally used to confiscate large amounts of money from just about anyone (regardless of whether or not they are factually innocent).
You can read more about this legal concept here:
The barrier for confiscation of your cash here is not some kangaroo judge or jury somewhere looking at some evidence and making an educated determination that you have done something wrong. Instead, all it takes is some determined law enforcement agent to sound the alarm. And that is exactly what happened to this man at the airport on his way to Las Vegas. Someone at the TSA checkpoint felt his stacks of cash were just too much and that he needed to be interrogated by security. And although I was not standing around long enough to see what happened to him, I can take a guess that they probably confiscated his cash, just like they did to the filmmaker referenced in this YouTube video who had to sue to get his money back.