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Drug Seizures, Research Paper Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1003

Research Paper

Uncertainty over individual rights looms among majority of people in a situation that they have been arrested by the police in connection to drug crimes. The importance accorded to drug seizure laws at state as well as federal level empowers the officials of law enforcement to seize the property of the suspect and this is sometimes on a permanent basis especially if the victim becomes convicted of the drug offense. Worse still for some, the seizure of the property takes place even without conviction of the drug crime (Levy, 1996). An amicable solution for the mystery behind property seizure and forfeiture is a requirement in the justice system.

In some situations, the seizure of the property by the police is irregularly conducted and the property may be owned by a person who is innocent and has no information concerning the illegal dealings. This is a situation requiring that the law facilitate for a petition by the innocent person aiming at returning of the property to the individual. It is the responsibility of the state to ascertain that the property has been returned if the seizure was wrongfully conducted. However, in most cases, this is a process that has been associated with a high profile of frustrations because returning the property may take an extremely long time. The property is taken as part of the evidence of the state during the case of a drug crime and returning it is only after the completion of the case and this may take a long time. In extreme situation, justice is never done (Smith, 1981).

In the situation that the properties of a person are seized because of drug crimes, the bank accounts of the victim may be frozen and their property seized. This puts the affected person in a very difficult situation with regard to taking care of the family and hiring an attorney. In most cases, majority of innocent people have lost their properties including cars, businesses as well as homes resulting from allegations of drug crimes. Though in some cases the informants may be anonymous acquiring back the seized property becomes impossibility.

This is an issue that has been affecting all states in the US and it is not restricted to any social group. In most cases, the suspects of drug crimes are teenage children who hardly own any property. The impact of seizure of property is therefore felt by other people including their parents and the house and car owners which are associated with the crimes at the time that they are detected by the law enforcement agencies.

The government agencies are usually offered high profile incentives with regard to property seizure and forfeiture in connection to drug crimes. They will therefore stop at nothing to implement the necessary measures if the case is detected. The agencies seize and keep the properties and in most cases, they never charge the suspects in the court of law. There are many incidences in which the best cars which have been seized in connection to drug crimes are kept by the law officials and other precious items such as TVs, watches and the like are sold (Kessler, 1993).

According to the official procedure as laid down by the state, the properties seized and forfeited in connection to drug dealings are used to serve several purposes. However the biggest share is given to the law enforcement agencies of the state and also at local level depending on the magnitude of their efforts in the process of seizure and forfeiture of the properties (Kessler, 1993). These are among the motivating factors that contribute to proliferation of law protected cartels that rip off peoples properties in the name of convicting drug dealers. Important constitutional challenges have been raised due to the soaring cases of fake seizures which have caused significant harm to unsuspecting innocent civilians.

The worst scenario is in the situation that the house was rented, the car belongs to a relative and the passenger in a vehicle is the actual drug criminal. Such situations result to subjecting the sufferings to the wrong person. This is a situation requiring definition of some new standards for the civil asset forfeiture in the justice system. These can be construed as thefts that have been legalized in an outrageous manner and further tolerated by the courts. The situation is made worse because the law officers and the court alike have a share in these properties. It has been made legal that a certain proportion of the seized properties can be used by judges, the prosecutor as well as the police. Police and the prosecutors use their powers and the motivation given to them to seize properties on pretext of a drug crime. What is meant to be a law of limiting drug trafficking has been used as a dirty secret involving a forfeiture racket by police, the prosecutor as well as the judges to derive personal benefits from the stolen property in the pretext of seizure (Blumenson & Nilsen, 1998).

This consequently calls for a fight against the forfeiture of property. Confiscating peoples’ property must be brought to an end to avoid the fading memories of justice and liberty. This is a form of looting that must be terminated to save the citizens from the turmoil they go through. Most people have lost their properties as a result of seizure and the cases are never prosecuted in the courts of law. The complications behind returning the seized property is attributed to the huge resources required in the process of defending the victim and proof his or her innocence. The society should fight for their freedom as well as property through fighting property forfeiture.

References

Blumenson, E. & Nilsen, E., (1998). “Policing at a Profit: The Drug War as  Hidden Economic Agenda.” UO C. Law Review 65.

Kessler, S. L. (1993). Civil and Criminal Forfeiture: Federal and State Practice. Updated          periodically.

Levy, L. W., (1996). A License for Steal: The Property Forfeiture. Chapel Hill: UNC Press.

Smith, D. B. (1981). Prosecution & Defense of Forfeiture Cases. NY: Matthew Bender & Co., Inc.

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