?Without Due Process? (The Progressive, August, 1993), 57:32-34, is an article written by a free-lance writer, Peter Cassidy, who writes in favor of bringing civil forfeiture reform initiatives to Congress and State Legislatures. A civil forfeiture involves a procedure wherein money, property and real estate are seized and then forfeited to the government in a special judicial hearing.
Cassidy gives specific details on civil forfeiture procedures and the effect that these forfeitures have on United States citizens. Cassidy mentions that many civil forfeitures have had an adverse effect on citizens whose property and currency was seized under suspicion of drug trafficking. However, Cassidy fails to mention asset forfeitures that have resulted from proven illegal activity.
Cassidy directs his article to the average layman---those who do not deal directly in law enforcement. He stresses that civil forfeitures have many flaws and that these flaws need to be made known to the general public.
Missing from Cassidy?s article are any positive results of forfeiture proceedings. Cassidy does not mention any benefits obtained by federal, state and local governments as a result of civil forfeitures. Civil forfeitures are used to punish drug dealers and drug traffickers. Sometimes these forfeiture proceedings discourage future illegal activity in a community. Striking drug dealer?s in the pocketbook can have an awesome effect.
Cassidy is justly outraged at a few horrid injustices of forfeiture laws. One citizen lost his life because of a forfeiture procedure and another citizen took her own life because of a forfeiture proceeding. Cassidy discusses cases where other citizens have lost their assets and livelihoods due to civil forfeiture proceedings under false pretenses. Cassidy neglects to include any explanation that would outline the benefits that can be received from civil forfeitures by society as a group.
However, much good comes from...