Law Enforcement Wants To Be Able To Seize The Cars And Homes Of People Convicted On Child Porn Charges

from the good-intentions,-but-some-bad-implementation dept

Some odd news out of Massachussetts. Legislators and law enforcement are teaming up to push legislation that would give agencies permission to seize and sell property belonging to people convicted of sexual crimes against children.

A local sheriff and state representative are awaiting the review of a bill that would allow prosecutors at the conclusion of a child-exploitation case to seize and sell assets used by predators, using the proceeds for victim rehabilitation and therapy, education programs for children, or bringing the funds back into law enforcement.

Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and Rep. James Arciero testified Tuesday before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on the House bill. They are waiting for a favorable recommendation to move the bill forward.

"We feel that it's important to make sure that we have a zero tolerance when it comes to protecting our children," said Arciero, a Westford Democrat.
The bill would allow the court to seize and sell items, excluding hard drives, that are used to entice minors or to produce or disseminate child-pornography crimes. The proceeds of the sales would fund programs for Internet safety education, victim rehabilitation and therapy, and the purchase of technical equipment for law-enforcement agencies.
On one hand, what's being discussed here isn't the far more nefarious civil asset forfeiture, in which property is deemed "guilty" and seized without corresponding convictions. This would be criminal asset forfeiture, which can only move forward once the defendant is convicted.

The resulting funds would be narrowly dispersed, with some going to participating agencies but the bulk of it directly to the special investigative units that handle these crimes.

But there are some concerning aspects to it, not the least of which is the use of the phrase "zero tolerance," which tends to shut down all further critical thinking by those uttering it. For one, the list of items that can be seized is fairly broad. Even though the article notes hard drives will not be permitted to be sold, the statements issued don't specify whether other storage media will be put on the "not for resale" list. In fact, it appears other devices (cameras, cellphones) that formerly stored illegal material will be sold to the general public.
In front of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Koutoujian testified, "Massachusetts authorities can already obtain warrants and seize cameras, computers, cellphones, vehicles used by perpetrators in child pornography and enticement cases. But this legislation would allow prosecutors at the conviction of the case, with the court's permission, to dispose of the seized property and generate funds that could be put into three narrowly tailored areas."
While officials claim the devices will be "wiped" before resale, it's not difficult to imagine this eventually leading to someone ending up with an auctioned item that still contains illicit material. That's just human nature. Sooner or later, the wipe job won't be done as well as it should have been. Or at all. That alone is problematic.

Further problems present themselves in the expanded list of seizable/sellable items. Law enforcement will also take vehicles "involved" in "enticement." A narrow reading would only allow the seizure of a vehicle that has been used in the commission of the crime. But the bill doesn't lend itself to a narrow reading. It would also permit the seizure of property in "dissemination" cases, which means little more than using a torrent service to obtain the illegal material. Downloads and uploads are intertwined, making every illicit file sharer a participant in "dissemination" of child porn, even if that person did not create the images being trafficked or specifically intend to distribute them further.

So, this bill could be used to seize cars from people who've never molested a child, much less used their car to "entice" a child into participating in illegal sexual activity.

The bill also provides for the seizure of houses and bank accounts, using this same tenuous connection. While it is not uncommon for some forms of property to be seized as a means of providing retribution to victims of criminal acts, it's not always applied to criminals who have only viewed child pornography. Restitution orders have been granted to those whose pictures have been distributed, but this hasn't been explicitly tied to the forfeiture of assets.

The bill would effectively cut victims out of the loop, routing seized assets to the agencies participating in the arrest and prosecution. The only caveat that may allow for victim restitution is the fact that the agency performing the seizure needs to seek the court's permission before selling seized items and distributing funds.

The bill does provide a safety valve for families who are unaware of a family member's criminal behavior, hopefully preventing them from losing their houses or vehicles because of another person's activities. But it's very limited. Law enforcement wouldn't be able to seize these assets without it being shown that other owners of these items were aware (or should have been aware) of the defendant's behavior. But it doesn't say where the burden of proof lies, suggesting it might be wrapped up in the petition for property return process, which would place it on the other owners of the property, rather than on the state. (Other homeowners can also ask the court for a "homesteading" exception to prevent residences from being seized, which is probably a better route than challenging the seizure head-on. But this exception doesn't apply to other seized property like vehicles or bank accounts.)

It's also limited solely to owners, so spouses/children/relatives who aren't listed on titles can't challenge the seizure. It also sets a very low bar for government agencies when it comes to "proving" other property owners were "aware" of illegal behavior.
Proof that the conveyance or real property was used to facilitate the unlawful dissemination of visual material or the enticement of a child under the age of 16 on 3 or more different dates shall be prima facie evidence that the conveyance or real property was used in and for the business of unlawfully disseminating such visual material or enticing a child under the age of 16.
Houses are where computers are almost always found and one resident torrenting child porn on three different dates is apparently all it will take for state agencies to render unaware family members homeless.

While I can appreciate the Sheriff's complaint that funds seized are often routed towards the expensive upkeep of more glamorous drug interdiction units, SWAT teams and "task forces," this proposal still has a lot of flaws that need to be addressed. The narrow set of criminal acts it applies to, along with the conviction requirement, limits the potential abuse. But adding vehicles and houses to the list of seizable goods is problematic, especially when the underlying crime may be nothing more than possession of illicit images and the use of file sharing software.

Unfortunately, none of these questionable elements can fully be explored until the law has gone into effect. The bill still needs work, especially in terms of determining other property owners' culpability. Because, seriously, something happening three times in the same location is somehow "proof" that other property owners were aware of criminal activity -- criminal activity that is hidden from everyone because it's morally unacceptable everywhere?

Filed Under: asset forfeiture, asset seizure, child porn, criminal asset forfeiture, homes cars, massachusetts


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  • identicon
    Sunhawk, 21 Dec 2015 @ 11:47pm

    Definitely the part that concerns me the most (or, at least, caught my eye immediately) is the possibility of someone's property being used without their knowledge or consent and then being seized.

    For example, what if I ask my neighbor to check in on my dog while I'm on vacation for a couple weeks. I give them copies of the keys to the house and all that.

    My neighbors decide to use my house as a stage over the next couple weeks for some adult videos starring their underaged kids. I come back after vacation and never know the difference.

    A year later they're arrested. Can the police, seeing the rooms of my house in some of their produced child-porn videos, seize my home? And if they *think* they can, would I be able to actually legally (effectively, that is) fight it?

    What if I'm particularly computer-dumb and my computer is infested with malware and used as a proxy to protect the actual child-porn collector from discovery? Is my computer now forfeit?

    And so on.

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    • identicon
      David, 22 Dec 2015 @ 3:28am

      Re:

      Look, they can "civilly forfeit" your house anyway. Wouldn't you rather that they have a pretext? Think of all the children that won't be molested in your house once the police has sold it off. Well, actually, there is not going to be much of a difference. The police will keep reseizing and reselling that house on the same pretext. This is good for steady income.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Dec 2015 @ 11:53pm

    Ummm, and when someone sexts and an overzealous group of law enforcement decide the parents house would fetch a pretty penny?

    While there might be something noble in the intentions, something something road to hell.

    Far to often we see these great ideas pushed and expanded to get more cash. The fact they want to use the cash to fund them like the drug or human trafficking units get funded... they want more toys and toys are expensive.

    Family members should have known, and that is why we want to make them homeless. We found evidence, why couldn't they see it? Now sign the deed.

    On paper this has all the the heart string tugging won't you do it to protect the children, but it will just end up being another tool to grab more cash with people not questioning because to question means you want children to be molested.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 12:00am

    I see what they're after here. It's not enoguh to take sexting kids phones, they want to go after their cars and parents houses too.

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  • identicon
    Glenn, 22 Dec 2015 @ 1:00am

    So, the govt. abusing our tax dollars just wasn't cutting it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 22 Dec 2015 @ 1:13am

    Do I get this right?

    If my 15-year old daughter sexts a boy friend of her from her room, my house may be seized? As an asset in the production of child pornography?

    That's fucking nonsensical. When there are tangible victims, they might be eligible to recompensation, and in the course of ensuring that recompensation, property may be seized already. That makes sense.

    But nowadays, many instances of "child pornography" are indeed victimless crimes and the "perpetrators" are often identical with the "victims". Giving prosecutors carte blanche to exacerbate the damage they dole out with excessive prosecution by being allowed to seize their assets is madness squared.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 4:20am

      Re: Do I get this right?

      Think of the children saying to cover up government mandated theft. They protect the pedo's in high places and expect people to take them seriously.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 7:42am

      Should Have Known

      I wonder what the standard for 'should have known' is. Should a wife know everything her husband does? Should a husband know everything his wife does? Should parents know everything their children do?

      I can see a case where a teenager and his/her parents are not getting along and they wind up attending family counseling. One of the teenagers complaints is not enough privacy and the counselor counsels the parents to give the kid some space.

      The teenager then becomes involved with sexting and one of the others involved gets caught and because nothing happens in a vacuum all the 'participants' are 'caught' as well. Then the up for re-election prosecutor decides to arrest all the parents because they 'should have known' and gets their houses, cars, heirloom silver service, etc. and some great publicity for the campaign.

      Frankly, in my adolescent years I did as much experimenting and testing limits (statute of limitations passed many decades ago, sorry) as most of my friends did, and probably as much as my parents did in their time (well maybe my father, certainly not my mother). There is no way they could have known what I was up to unless they locked me in my room and in some jurisdictions that is considered cruel and unusual punishment.

      At some point the electorate is going to catch onto the governments various power grabs and be really pissed. It is not going to happen all at once, but gradually. I hope it is not too gradual or all the recently awoken people will be in jail when the masses finally catch on.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 8:20am

        Re: Should Have Known

        Under the law used in the sections surrounding the proposed law, "knowing" is defined as "a general awareness of the character of the matter." Well, the definitions apply "unless the context requires otherwise". Because the legislators apparently don't even trust themselves to remember what they've redefined words to mean.

        Technically they would need to modify the scope of the definitions if they wanted it to apply to a new law that was in its own section, because the definitions section explicitly lists which sections it applies to, and this bill doesn't appear to modify that list. So who knows?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Should Have Known

        with fire and sword, the revolution will start. Unless the unlikely happens and the government manages to stamp out everyone that still respects their founding fathers and constitutional rights.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lisboeta, 22 Dec 2015 @ 2:05am

    What?

    There is no question that child pornography is despicable.

    However, this proposed law is equally despicable.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 2:38am

    Nope, sorry, I vehemently disagree.

    This is little more than Government-sanctioned theft. Even in the case of pedophiles and terrorists. THose people sre still entitled to own property, even if they do not use it.

    Moreover, I am reminded of a poem from 1930s Germany, which was a stark warning, and not a guidebook. It begins thus:

    First, they came for the gypsies, and I did not speak out...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 2:55am

    This is just making the door wider. People need to treat these types of laws like the NRA treats gun laws. No matter how small or "for the child" type of laws they fight it. Cops have shown they will Lie, Cheat, and Steal from us. We can not trust them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 3:12am

    Right. Because this law only serves to help. Parents, don't let your teens sext each other. You could lose everything you own.

    The resulting funds would be narrowly dispersed, with some going to participating agencies but the bulk of it directly to the special investigative units that handle these crimes.
    Fuck the victims of child sexual abuse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 6:25am

      Re:

      Not sure if you have been paying much attention to history but this is how government works.

      Laws these days fuck the victims twice. Example... if a business has been breaking the law they get fined, but the victims of that law break will not see any remuneration.

      In my opinion a new Amendment to the Constitution should be, no fines of any kind or form may be levied against any individual or entity for breach of any law whether perceived or found guilty in court of law. People just need to go to jail, but also for vastly shorter periods of time.

      Want to speed? Great! 1 day in jail! Being able to pay your way out of broken laws is what leads to this type of corruption for both citizenry and officials. You will find that those making laws will be quite a bit more sane about it when you take all of the money influence in the form of fines away. Red Light traffic cameras, drug charges, DOL violations... holy shit this list would go on forever!

      A whole lot of people would not be nearly as quick to abuse your rights if the only punishment was jail time. This should apply double to officers and administrators of the law!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re:

        In my opinion a new Amendment to the Constitution should be, no fines of any kind or form may be levied against any individual or entity for breach of any law whether perceived or found guilty in court of law. People just need to go to jail, but also for vastly shorter periods of time.

        Oh, absolutely. But considering the golden rule (he who has the gold makes the rules), it will never happen if left to the ruling class.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 4:18am

    This could not possibly be abused in this day and age of thousands of cases being thrown out because the police were caught manufacturing fake evidence to arrest and imprison people that did no crime save they pissed off a power tripping cop or DA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dmitri, 22 Dec 2015 @ 4:29am

    Devils Advocate

    first we dehumanise child abuser(like a guy who pissed on child's playground at 3 at night). Then we take any prospects of job, by putting him to jail. Then we take away his house, making him homeless. Then the car, further killing prospects of job and doing additional damage.(in some places public transport doesn't work at all).

    What has this got to loose now? So from dangerous, we make him a menace to a society. What can possibly go wrong?

    Americans, please do smth about it NOW, before that sort of shit hits EU.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 4:38am

    Money maker

    Offender Located. Seize house, car, camera. Sell House, Car, Camera. Use proceeds to hunt for more offenders. Whoops forgot to delete illicit material from camera. Offender Located. Seize house, car, camera. Sell House, Car, Camera. Use proceeds to hunt for more offenders. Whoops forgot to delete illicit material from camera....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Y Pennog Coch (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 9:03am

      Re: Money maker

      >>> Whoops forgot to delete illicit material from camera.
      It's worse than "forgot". Often you can't properly delete data from flash memory.

      And if you do find a device with correct support for secure erase in its firmware, what you get at retail won't necessarily be what was reviewed:

      "Instead of the original Silicon Motion controller, the new batch of PNY Optima drives had a different, SandForce-based controller known for its less-than-perfect implementation of garbage collection leaving data on the disk for a long time after it’s been deleted."
      http://articles.forensicfocus.com/2014/09/23/recovering-evidence-from-ssd-drives-in-2014-un derstanding-trim-garbage-collection-and-exclusions/

      About the only cure for this is going to be for someone overseas to purchase one of these tainted goods, and then publically gift it to one of the idiots who drafted this law, and add "oh by the way, STRICT LIABILITY".

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re: Money maker

        Powerful electromagnets won't work?

        I am presuming that the method of data removal is predicated on the drive being usable afterward, because a drill seems the most effective method of drive destruction.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 22 Dec 2015 @ 4:24pm

        Re: Re: Money maker

        Often you can't properly delete data from flash memory.

        I hear this sort of thing all the time, but it always ignores one simple fact; No device is designed to be able to retrieve data once it has been overwritten.

        If you have a 16GB SD card and you simply delete the files and call it a day, someone may still be able to recover them. However, if you then fill the card up with another 16GB of files, say large dummy files full of zeros, it overwrites all of the data that was previously there. A 16GB flash drive or SD card will store 16GB of data. Not 32GB, not 64GB. If you fill it with 16GB of data, that's the only data that will be on the drive/card.

        The myth that overwritten data can still be recovered comes from hard drives. Under IDEAL laboratory conditions, highly specialized equipment can sometimes detect traces of the previous magnetic pattern, provided that the data has only been overwritten once, however the process is not foolproof. It also doesn't work if that portion of the drive has been written to more than once because they can't separate the patterns. Highly specialized equipment can also sometimes find a few bits of data on the edges of tracks where the head placement wasn't perfect, but again, this takes expensive equipment and all you recover are fragments of data, not complete files.

        For anyone outside of the intelligence community, once data on a device has been overwritten even once, it's gone.

        Don't believe me? Data recovery services charge large amounts of money to recover data from failed or damaged hard drives and they would love to take your business. Contact some of these companies, tell you have a hard drive in perfect condition that you accidentally "zero-filled" and ask them how much they would charge to recover all your data. Make sure to tell them that while the entire drive was overwritten, it was only overwritten once. They'll tell you that it's impossible to recover anything of value from such a drive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 5:29am

    It will happen some day

    Problem #1
    Some avid eBay seller attends the police auction and purchases lots of digital media and devices.

    These items are then put on eBay and sold to the highest bidder.
    When the winning bidder gets the item they discover child porn. Seller is promptly arrested and all their assets seized.


    Problem #2
    Some sick person is making child porn with their kids without their spouses knowledge. Once discovered they are arrested and their assets seized. The ignorant spouse and the victims of the crime are now homeless, have no transportation and no money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Oblate (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 10:17am

      Re: It will happen some day

      Seller is promptly arrested and all their assets seized.

      I would guess that small items like cameras would be sold to a police officer for a fraction of the actual resale value, and then they would sell it online and pocket the profits. The buyer who reported the pictures would then be arrested for possession, partly since now it's their word vs a police officer, and partly because they can.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 3:20pm

      Re: It will happen some day

      it's more likely the spouse would lose custody for not knowing what was going on behind their back. The children would of course be sent to foster homes to be re abused for profit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 6:01am

    Plants

    It's getting easier all the time for things to planted on computers. What could possibly go wrong?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 22 Dec 2015 @ 4:30pm

      Re: Plants

      Not only that, but filenames aren't always accurate. What if someone uploads child porn to a torrent site and calls it "Cute 18 year old girl.mp4"? Anyone who downloads it before the site deletes it will be guilty of distributing child porn. How were they to know ahead of time that what they were downloading was illegal?

      Suppose a torrent site in Europe is hosting copies of Traci Lords' porn movies? Someone in the U.S. might download them not knowing that Traci is in them or that she was underage when she made them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 6:37am

    Apparently,

    Apparently the average drug dealer is no longer wealthy enough to sustain law enforcement revenue targets. Perhaps they should consider a profit sharing agreement with this countries many privately operated prisons?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 7:53am

      Re: Apparently,

      Um, they paymaster has moved to the other side of the goalposts. Its kickbacks from corporate run prisons, not drug dealers that are the sources of funding these days.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 6:42am

    we're a nation gone mad. turned on itself. we've written our own end.

    these people are looking for excuses now to perform bigger heists. we didn't beat the mafia. we became the mafia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 7:01am

    so basically you and everything you own is guilty and if you borrow something , well toss that in there , I hate pedophiles and child molesters as much as anyone else but ffs this seizing everything shit has got to fucking go as we saw in the case no long ago about the kid who sold a small amount out of his unknowing parents house .. when do we the people get to call a crook a crook (law enforcement) and who do we go to for protection...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 3:27pm

      Re:

      you don't own anything not even your children according to your government. The state owns everything and if you disagree then you are a terrorist. They will go out of their way to slander you as such.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 7:45am

    If it walks like a Nazi and talks like a Nazi, it is safe to assume it is a Nazi. They can hoist up some boogeyman man in the middle east or Southern Asia, but by now we all know who the real boogeyman is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 7:46am

    Low bar?

    It also sets a very low bar for government agencies when it comes to "proving" other property owners were "aware" of illegal behavior.

    Proof that the conveyance or real property was used to facilitate the unlawful dissemination of visual material or the enticement of a child under the age of 16 on 3 or more different dates shall be prima facie evidence that the conveyance or real property was used in and for the business of unlawfully disseminating such visual material or enticing a child under the age of 16.


    That part of the law discusses whether the property was used for the activity. But it's not relevant to awareness unless the owner was aware of those 3 instances. So... if they were aware, they were aware. I'm not sure what the problem there is (other than that the government shouldn't be seizing houses in general.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 7:49am

    Burden of proof

    But it doesn't say where the burden of proof lies, suggesting it might be wrapped up in the petition for property return process, which would place it on the other owners of the property, rather than on the state.

    It actually does say where it lies.

    In all such suits where the property is claimed by any person, other than the commonwealth, the commonwealth shall have the burden of proving to the court the existence of probable cause to institute the action, and any such claimant shall then have the burden of proving that the property is not forfeitable pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (a), inclusive.


    The state must "prove" probable cause. After that, anyone else has the burden of proof that it's not forfeitable.

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  • identicon
    Middlesex County Resident, 22 Dec 2015 @ 7:56am

    Massachusetts - #1 at owning your property for you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 8:00am

    Does CGI count?

    There has already been discussions about how good CGI is getting to the point that one might not be able to tell the difference between a CGI human and a real life human. So if somebody makes a totally CGI porn video and claims a character is 15 years old - and there are real life 15 year olds who look older - would they be subject to the same forfeitures even though there was no real life victim?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 3:28pm

      Re: Does CGI count?

      Your making the mistake that this law is being made in good faith. it isn't, this law is being made to legalize grand larceny by the state.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 22 Dec 2015 @ 4:48pm

      Re: Does CGI count?

      There has already been discussions about how good CGI is getting to the point that one might not be able to tell the difference between a CGI human and a real life human. So if somebody makes a totally CGI porn video and claims a character is 15 years old - and there are real life 15 year olds who look older - would they be subject to the same forfeitures even though there was no real life victim?

      Depending on the prosecutor, court and jury, they could be convicted of possessing or distributing child porn for a video that everyone involved knows is CGI. The "PROTECT Act of 2003" pretty much criminalized all depictions of children engaged in sex, real or not. There's a provision that the depiction has to be "obscene", but we all know how easy it is to find a jury who will find virtually anything obscene.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_Act_of_2003

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 8:11am

    Tone deaf, part [Nan]

    This, with all the negative attention that forfeiture has lately received. This, with the laws being changed in several places to constrain or ban forfeiture.

    All that, and along comes yet another tone-deaf police agency, seeking to buck the currents of civility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 8:13am

    Step 1) Start with child pornography, where anyone who complains is branded, so it's a shoo-in.
    Step 2) It's already being done for "other crimes", there is no logical reason it shouldn't also apply to crime X, Y, Z, and eventual most or all
    Step 3) Once it's in place, we are fine crank up the dial and rake in the money!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 8:35am

    Two points

    1) Like you said, it's human nature not to wipe hard drives clean. So, yes, there's a chance that an auctioned hard drive will contain illegal material... as well as financial and other person data. Oh, look, there's the guy's Quicken file with all his bank information. Oh, look, when the browser is opened, it's still logged into Facebook, Twitter, and all the illegal sites.

    2) The bigger issue is how we, as a society, are treating sexual offenders so badly. Now, don't get me wrong, these crimes are horrible and the offender should be punished when found guilty. But we never see these laws for violent offenders. Let me rephrase the proposal:

    The bill would allow the court to seize and sell items, excluding hard drives, that are used by murderers and serial killers.

    If someone is convicted of a sexual crime, they have to go on a registry for the rest of their life, tell their neighbors when they move into a community, and possibly have their assets seized.
    By comparison, a murderer can serve his 50 years, get out of jail, never have to go on a "murderer registry", never tell his neighbors, and never have his assets seized.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 2:00pm

      Re: Two points

      The bill would allow the court to seize and sell items, excluding hard drives, that are used by murderers and serial killers.

      How about anyone convicted of a violent crime? Shouldn't people have the right to know if there is a violent criminal living in the area?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 8:43am

    When you seize someone's house, unless the house was bought with illicit funds, it amounts to an excessive fine. It's also arbitrary, because the size of the forfeiture depends on the value of the home and not the details of the behavior.

    And in the vast majority of cases, seizing the home prevents nothing as far as future crimes. Someone who uploads or downloads porn can do that from their cell phone even if they're living under a bridge. I can see seizing a home if it contains a dungeon or something, or a car if it was actually used to abduct a child, but you know that's not the purpose of the bill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      When you seize someone's house, unless the house was bought with illicit funds, it amounts to an excessive fine. It's also arbitrary, because the size of the forfeiture depends on the value of the home and not the details of the behavior.

      So? Hasn't stopped it in drug cases.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 8:50am

    No abuse here...

    1. Add "child porn" to movie file
    2. Point individual to download movie file
    3. Profit (for the police involved)
    4. Rinse and repeat (for all political adversaries)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 9:38am

    Expect a surge in the number of people being found guilty on child porn charges, including dead people.
    Gotta Cash 'Em All.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 9:59am

    But it doesn't say where the burden of proof lies, suggesting it might be wrapped up in the petition for property return process, which would place it on the other owners of the property, rather than on the state


    No, the bill explicitly states that once the state passes the "probable cause" threshold, the burden of proof is on anyone else claiming the property. So, yeah, if you're the homeowner, you have to somehow prove that you DIDN'T know. I am not sure how that is possible to do.

    (I posted something similar a few hours ago but I think the spam filter ate it.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 10:13am

      Re:

      So, yeah, if you're the homeowner, you have to somehow prove that you DIDN'T know. I am not sure how that is possible to do.

      It's not. By design it's meant to be incredibly difficult, if not flat out impossible, just like other similar armed robbery at badge-point laws.

      If you can completely flip 'innocent until proven guilty' around to 'guilty unless proven innocent', then conviction and seizure rates skyrocket, and if you get a cut of anything successfully 'seized', well, the more you can grab the better off you are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 3:30pm

      Re:

      you can try and fight it in court, or my favourite route would be to take out as many goose stepping thugs as you can when they come to steal your property.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 11:31am

    Should take at least a week before its abused.

    "Hey Fred, that's a really nice car over there. I want it. Does the department still have that NSA stealth file-upload software in the drug surveillance department? If that guy's got a computer, he's about to become the recipient of a shitload of digital kiddie porn tonight. I'll get his registration info and get the boys to work out his email address. Otherwise, we'll have to insert it manually as magazines and pictures into his bedroom closet during the night and plant some more during the raid. I'll bet he's got some nice shit in his house too. It'll be fun working out ways to tag his shit as proceeds of kiddie porn sales. Tomorrow is gonna be a great day, just not for him."

    Same game. New name.

    Who cares. He's a druggie.
    Who cares. He's a terrorist.
    Who cares. He's a pervert.
    Who cares. He's a hacker.
    Who cares. He's a hoarder.
    Who cares. He's a trans-sexual.
    Who cares. He's a hippie.
    Who cares. He's a file sharer.
    Who cares. He's a Muslim.
    Who cares. He's a foreigner.
    Who cares. He's an eco-warrior.
    Who cares......

    When the cops steal more property than the crooks, but only the crooks and the victims go to jail, you know you're living in a Fascist Police State.

    For those of you who are saying, "Well I'm not any of those things, so I don't have to worry.", ask yourself this;

    Who are the cops going to steal from after they've robbed all the "bad" people of their goods?

    Answer: You, the "good guys".

    That's what the public surveillance is for.
    Turning "good guys" into potential sources of free assets.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 2:09pm

      Re: Should take at least a week before its abused.

      Who cares. He's a druggie.
      Who cares. He's a terrorist.
      Who cares. He's a pervert.
      Who cares. He's a hacker.
      Who cares. He's a hoarder.
      Who cares. He's a trans-sexual.
      Who cares. He's a hippie.
      Who cares. He's a file sharer.
      Who cares. He's a Muslim.
      Who cares. He's a foreigner.
      Who cares. He's an eco-warrior.
      Who cares......


      You left out gingers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 22 Dec 2015 @ 9:47pm

        Re: Re: Should take at least a week before its abused.

        "You left out gingers."

        errrr....... ummm...... yeah, guess I did indeed.

        refresh my memory willya...

        Wutza ginger?
        You mean like ginger-"snaps".......?
        Christmas Cookies??

        I'm gonna take a leap of faith here and assume you meant "ganger", as in street-"gang"-memb"ers", like Crips, Bloods, etc., sorta thing.

        If so, oops, my bad, yeah them too.

        USA got more bad-ass boogey-men now than the kriss-chunz had during the dark ages. Getting real hard to list them all.

        Real good thing ya'all got the CIAF BIN SADOJ hiding in yer bedrooms to protect you 24/7 from this ever-increasing roster of night-terrors eh.

        ---

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justin Saying, 22 Dec 2015 @ 11:43am

    More money for the CIC (crooks in charge)

    It would be interesting to see them go after the Vatican because of the proven record of abusive priests.

    There are all kinds of allegations involving politicos in very high places.

    Somehow the wealthy and powerful are rarely are targeted.

    Oh well, steal $ from easy Pickens, as they say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dr evil, 22 Dec 2015 @ 11:45am

    Turn it around

    Common roll with it and allow it, except make CAF apply to gubmint and police FIRST. Higher standard and all.. Of course, do defense allowed. /sarc. (Or is it?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 12:55pm

    I would understand it if the property being seized were part of the proceeds of the crime, but this is just an excuse to steal. If the government wants money to pay for enforcement, they should obtain it through statutory fines. Taking someone's property and selling it for whatever it will fetch, without reference to a specific amount being sought that is independent of the property, is nothing other than theft.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Dec 2015 @ 9:50pm

    Arresting, Confiscating property is a doiv cgtrin of devils.

    Nude does not even equal sex, morons. Arresting is a doctrine of devils. Confiscating property is a doctrine of devils. It most assuredly is not God’s law. God made porn. The whole universe is naked being porn if you want to call it that. Bad everything including yourself. This whole universe is porn being naked. Blind yourself so your eyes are not offended seeing what people did not make. Ban one thing ban all things including yourself. God's work KJV Cambridge edition says work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. That is not saying arrest people for being what you are which is nude. That does not say be a terrorist confiscating the property ty of another. Philippians 2:12King James Version (KJV)
    12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
    Obey God's word saving your soul. That saved soul will not see God as if he was fire.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    marcus (profile), 23 Dec 2015 @ 9:16am

    A$$et Forfeture is always great for Law Enforcement, bad for citizens.

    So basically it will be similar to the asset forfeiture laws that allow the police to confiscate property without due process for alleged drug trafficking. Currently they only want to seize assets after a court case but eventually law enforcement will ask to have laws to seize assets from people they suspect are involved in child porn. This will be a great source of income for child porn units of law enforcement agencies and what is stopping a law enforcement agency from planting evidence for a conviction. They have conflict of interest since they will get to seize property if they can get a conviction under these laws. This means they have a great source of stable revenue unlike government funding that can always get cut. If they don't get enough people charged with child porn, they will go around looking harder for people involved in child porn and even arrest people who are not involved in child porn in order to make money off of seizing assets. This is a bad idea and we need to take the rest of the asset forfeiture laws off the books.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 23 Dec 2015 @ 10:05am

    Pariah.

    Pariah \Pa"ri*ah\, n. [From Tamil paraiyan, pl. paraiyar, one of
    the low caste, fr. parai a large drum, because they beat the
    drums at certain festivals.]
    [1913 Webster]
    1. One of an aboriginal people of Southern India, regarded by
    the four castes of the Hindus as of very low grade. They
    are usually the serfs of the Sudra agriculturalists. See
    {Caste}. --Balfour (Cyc. of India).
    [1913 Webster]

    2. An outcast; one despised by society.
    [1913 Webster]

    {Pariah dog} (Zool.), a mongrel race of half-wild dogs which
    act as scavengers in Oriental cities.

    {Pariah kite} (Zool.), a species of kite ({Milvus govinda})
    which acts as a scavenger in India.
    [1913 Webster]

    From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

    pariah
    n 1: a person who is rejected (from society or home) [syn:
    {outcast}, {castaway}, {pariah}, {Ishmael}]

    They've already been convicted of sexual child abuse. What's worse than that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 24 Dec 2015 @ 1:17pm

      Re: Pariah.

      Ah, the viewers of child porn - what lower beast walks the earth.

      Perhaps we should once again nuke Japan, to eliminate Hentai as well.

      "They've already been convicted of sexual child abuse. What's worse than that?"

      Give'em time.

      I'm certain the Forces of Order At Any Cost will come up with many new ways of making pariahood even more awful than normal, while making a profit in the process.

      Taking all their property seems like a very good start.

      Perhaps, sterilization/castration and branding their foreheads with a huge "cent" symbol - a capital "C", with a perpendicular bar drawn through its center - can become the thing to do after they've been stripped of all their worldly goods.

      The symbol would of course stand for "No Child", both to represent the condition of castration/sterilization and as a warning to kids to stay away from the pariah. The profit would come both from taking their goods and giving employment to those good men and women who love to remove body parts and burn flesh for fun.

      I'm sure that even a small glance into the past history of human kind will give you an encyclopedia of ways and means used to increase the torture and humiliation of those our societies deems despicable and deserving of institutionalized torment.

      Check out the Maleus Malificarum for some real good tried and true tortures/punishments. :)

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 24 Dec 2015 @ 7:36pm

        Re: Re: Pariah.

        Perhaps, sterilization/castration and branding their foreheads with a huge "cent" symbol - a capital "C" ...

        I read an old book about that, but it was about another form of deviance, adultresses.
        Check out the Maleus Malificarum ...

        That was just one twisted sexual deviant misogynist. Even the RCs dumped him in record time. This is institutionalized shunning, a la the original untouchables, which is just a small step above servitude. I'm not happy about prisons reaching out to exert control over those who've served their time.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          GEMont (profile), 26 Dec 2015 @ 2:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Pariah.

          "which is just a small step above servitude"

          I think an extensive examination of the process of creating pariahs - regardless of the society under scrutiny or the moral rule promoting the condemnation of people that is used - will show that "servitude/slavery" is the primary, and possibly the sole purpose of the process.

          Slavery is a well established goal of human society's morality rules, because it eliminates the cost of labor, enriching the already wealthy by reducing expenditure, and modern prisons are now pretty much just slave labor camps.

          I understand that American prison-made jeans are cost-competitive with Chinese slave-labor-made jeans.

          ---

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Dec 2015 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: Pariah.

        Perhaps, sterilization/castration and branding their foreheads with a huge "cent" symbol

        I've argued before that criminals should all have have their convictions tattooed on their foreheads.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          GEMont (profile), 26 Dec 2015 @ 2:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Pariah.

          "I've argued before that criminals should all have have their convictions tattooed on their foreheads."

          I imagine there would then be a real demand for an enterprise that specialized in the removal of such tattoos, not so much as a way of removing the identification from the foreheads of criminals, but for the purpose of dis-branding the thousands of wrongly convicted innocents that the "justice system" creates every year.

          When the justice system gets it right 99.99999% of the time, your idea might have some small merit, but that percentage is far away from its current success rate and permanently scarring an innocent human being is not something we should think of as unavoidable collateral damage.

          Unless of course you're one of those people I mentioned above:

          "...and giving employment to those good men and women who love to remove body parts and burn flesh for fun."

          In which case I suppose you simply can't help but try your best to set up future employment for yourself and your ilk.

          Sadly, I'm just one of those people who would rather examine and understand the root causes of harmful behaviors such as rape, assault and child abuse, and try to work towards removing the cause, instead of just hammering on the symptoms or committing revenge upon the people who do such things, so coming up with new ways to abuse the criminals isn't really my goal.

          But, if you want to go one step further, why not champion the notion of dissecting executed murderers and harvesting their organs to use in hospitals to save lives through transplantation.

          At least that will make you sound somewhat humane.

          ---

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Dec 2015 @ 5:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pariah.

            Sadly, I'm just one of those people who would rather examine and understand the root causes of harmful behaviors...

            Where's the fun in that? I demand to be entertained, even (or especially) at someone else's expense. /s

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Reality Bites, 28 Dec 2015 @ 10:28am

          The so called "justice" system has a .1% accuracy rate.

          They are nothing if not the most ineffective dumbest drooling psychopaths in the world.

          The treason for profit prison system should be shut down and everyone involved simply deported or executed.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reality Bites, 28 Dec 2015 @ 10:25am

    Pigs are always completely full of crap

    Pathological liars should never be listened to... just more of the same crap flowing from their hole.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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