House Passes Amendment Rolling Back Jeff Sessions' Civil Asset Forfeiture Expansion

from the LOAD-LAST-SAVE? dept

Trump's pick for attorney general unsurprisingly holds the same ideals as his boss. He also holds the same misconceptions and misplaced nostalgia for tough-on-crime policing that went out of vogue as soon as it became apparent it wasn't doing anything but filling up prisons.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been going hot and heavy on a 1980s-esque law enforcement policy revival. He booted the DOJ off the civil rights beat, telling states and cities to solve their own police misconduct problems -- something they were clearly unwilling to do on their own, hence the DOJ's intercession. He told cops they're getting back their access to war gear, rolling back the Obama administration's minimal 1033 program reforms.

He's been touting tougher policing and tougher sentencing, using a false narrative of a country under siege by drug dealers and criminal border-jumpers. In a time of historic lows -- both in violent criminal activity and violence towards police officers -- AG Sessions is acting like a street corner preacher, promising an impending apocalypse to anyone who will listen.

Sessions is also peeling away federal reforms to asset forfeiture. He's opened the federal safety valve for civil forfeitures, allowing local PDs to dodge state laws limiting the amount of property they can take from uncharged citizens.

Given the makeup of Congress, one would assume Sessions' ongoing effort to raise US law enforcement to "a law unto itself" level would ride on rails, at least up until midterm elections. Instead, Sessions is facing a literal House divided -- not against itself exactly -- but against him.

In a stunning move, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved an amendment to the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act that will roll back Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s expansion of asset forfeiture.

Amendment number 126 was sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine members, led by Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash. He was joined by Democratic Reps. Ro Khanna of California; Washington state’s Pramila Jayapal, a rising progressive star; and Hawaii’s Tulsi Gabbard.

If this passes the Senate untouched, the amendment will roll things back to 2015 -- once again prohibiting federal adoption of local forfeitures. It would make state and local agencies play by the rules set for them by their legislatures, rather than allow them to bypass protections put in place to discourage abuse of programs loaded with the most perverted of incentives.


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  1. icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 1:16pm

    Bye, partisan!

    Amendment number 126 was sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine members...

    It's amazing what can happen when you look beyond the labels "Democrat" and "Republican".

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

  2. identicon
    David, 14 Sep 2017 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Bye, partisan!

    Well, to be fair they can still be partisan. Trump stands for neither Republican nor Democrat values.

    Obama tried unsuccessfully to get bipartisan approvement. Trump is considerably more successful at garnering bipartisan disapprovement.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 2:30pm

    Link?

    HR what the what now?

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Link?

    From the article above:

    Amendment number 126 was sponsored

    Following that link, it's amendment 126 in the second set of amendments to H.R. 3354, made in order under H.Res. 504. Adopted by voice vote, so no roll call.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonyhatter, 14 Sep 2017 @ 2:48pm

    Maybe I missed something but... A lot of the things Trump has done i.e. policies he reversed, and this is where maybe I missed something on this particular issue, but... Last I checked C.A.F. was a law enacted by congress, the Obama admin circumvented the legislative process in enacting many of its policies and executive orders... Last I checked this like many issues (re: so called "Dreamers") is restoring the division of the branches envisioned by our forefathers...

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 2:58pm

    Better, but not the best.

    Glad to see Session get the bitching little smack down he deserves. But... it is still sad to see no mention by the house asking how can this unconstitutional shit pass muster or to even be requested to begin with?

    I guess I will take what I can get.

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 3:03pm

    Re:

    Right, like Trumps EO banning Muslims.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: Link?

    H.Amdt. 391

    An amendment numbered 126 printed in House Report 115-297 to restrict the federal government's use of adoptive forfeiture.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 3:20pm

    Re:

    Party lines are bad. Think for yourself.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 3:23pm

    Full text [was Re: Re: Re: Link?]

    The amendment is short enough that here's the full text from 163 CR H7272

    At the end of division C (before the short title), insert the following:

    Sec. ____. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for activities prohibited by the order issued by the Attorney General entitled Prohibition on Certain Federal Adoptions of Seizures by State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies'' (Order No. 3488-2015, dated January 16, 2015) or the order entitledProhibition on Certain Federal Adoptions of Seizures by State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies'' (Order No. 3485-2015, dated January 12, 2015).

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 3:57pm

    Blockquote link

    In a stunning move, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved…

    I don't see a link in Cushing's article above for the two blockquoted paras. Maybe I'm just blind today. But via Google

    In Surprise Vote, House Passes Amendment to Restrict Asset Forfeiture”, by Zaid Jilani, The Intercept, Sep 12, 2017

    In a stunning move, the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved…

    Amendment No. 126 was sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine members…

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

  12. identicon
    James Burkhardt, 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:09pm

    Response to: Anonyhatter on Sep 14th, 2017 @ 2:48pm

    Well, in this case, congress approved a shared forfiture program. Obama directed agents of the executive branch, namely law enforcement agencies, to not utilize the program. It's entirely how it's supposed to work. Congress crafts the laws, the executive branch chooses how to enforce the law. Dreamers, Forfiture, Wall street, et. al, it's all the same prosecutorial desgression.

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

  13. icon
    John Snape (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re:

    Which executive order banned Muslims?

    If you're talking about the one that restricted refugees from certain countries: if it was "banning Muslims" it would have included Saudi Arabia, at the least.

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

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:57pm

    "He's been touting tougher policing and tougher sentencing, using a false narrative of a country under siege by drug dealers and criminal border-jumpers. In a time of historic lows -- both in violent criminal activity and violence towards police officers -- AG Sessions is acting like a street corner preacher, promising an impending apocalypse to anyone who will listen."

    This is a joke right?

    1. Heroine use and other opiate abuses is at an all-time high.
    2. 11 million+ are working illegally as indentured servants, prostitutes, day laborours at less than minimum wage rates that boarders penal labour conditions in mostly far left so-called sanctuary cities.
    3. Anyone that bashes the character of another person using such exaggerations such as: "street corner preacher, promising an impending apocalypse" is the spitting definition of projection.

    I don't support Jeff Sessions but when people say stupid things, you can't help but defend the one's you don't support.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:04pm

    Re:

    BTW, I'm a legal immigrant from France who choose Boston as my home which apparently is now a sanctuary city. Not only has crime risen by 13% over the past year, but you can't get a job anywhere that has been taken over by illegal immigrants who will only hire their own and since they charge much lower rates for their services, they're destroying those who follow the law.

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

  16. identicon
    Thad, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Bye, partisan!

    Well, to be fair they can still be partisan. Trump stands for neither Republican nor Democrat values.

    But Jeff Sessions was a Republican senator eight months ago.

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

  17. identicon
    Thad, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you arguing that because it didn't ban all Muslims, that somehow means it didn't intentionally target Muslims?

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

  18. identicon
    Thad, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:39pm

    I saw a quote earlier today to the effect that Sessions has stayed in office despite Trump repeatedly insulting and humiliating him because he really believes in reshaping the DoJ to fit his image of what law enforcement should be. Can't find the article now, though.

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

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re:

    The recent Brennan Center for Justice report by Ames Grawert and James Cullen, “Crime in 2017: A Preliminary Analysis” (Sep 6, 2017), in Table 1 on p.3 (p.8 in doc) shows that the violent crime rate in Boston is down 9.7% from last year.

    Is it possible you should have been happier to live in Québec?

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

  20. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Did you even read what you posted?

    The increase in crime rates since Boston became a sanctuary city is spot on.

    Yes, it has dropped over the decades but the increase in crime rates this past year has grown greatly.

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

  21. icon
    FamilyManFirst (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Oh, really?

    While the number of murders is up in the city, overall crime was down in 2016. (http://www.wbur.org/morningedition/2016/12/30/boston-2016-crime-statistics)

    Moreover, according to http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Boston-Massachusetts.html, crime has been steadily trending downward for at least the past decade. That site only has data from 2001 - 2015, as the 2016 data isn't widely published yet, but it shows the trend.

    Given your inability to get the crime rate correct I have grave doubts about your assertion of illegal immigrant activity and, for that matter, about your claim to be a legal immigrant from France.

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

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The overall crime rate in Boston is 6% higher than the national average.
    For every 100,000 people, there are 8.28 daily crimes that occur in Boston.
    Boston is safer than 13% of the cities in the United States.
    In Boston you have a 1 in 34 chance of becoming a victim of any crime.
    The number of total year over year crimes in Boston has decreased by 10%.

    http://www.areavibes.com/boston-ma/crime/

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Showing only data that ends before 2016 is highly deceptive, I said AFTER it became a sanctuary city that it has been sharply increasing, which it has.

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Table 1 on p.3 (p.8 in doc). The row for Boston. Columns showing percent change in crime rate from 2016 (down 1.6%) and percent change in violent crime rate from 2016 (down 9.7%).

    Everyone can read the report.

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

  25. icon
    John Snape (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did it even have the word "Muslim" in it at all? If not, you're projecting.

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

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So what?

    That has nothing to do with when Boston became a sanctuary city in 2017...what the hell does 2016 have anything to do with what I'm talking about?

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

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Boston which has some of the worst crime in this city's history, Bluehill Ave...so don't try to tell me what I do and don't know if you've never even lived here.

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

  28. icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh? And when do you imagine Boston became a "sanctuary city"? When Trump started tossing about this attempt at an epithet?

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

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Listen, everything Ive said is based upon my own personal experiences over the past 7 years I've been here...If they don't align with your political ideologies, then that's you're own problem.

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I live in a mostly black american neighborhood, and being the only black french man I know of, it's becoming increasingly more hispanic and that racial tensions have become much worse than when I first arrived.

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Many people feel that illegals from Hispanic countries are making things worse for black americans.

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

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Most especially when somebody gets into a management position and only highers Hispanics...This is not good.

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

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 7:30pm

    Re:

    They've been fighting for a while now...I don't think Sessions will ever get anything passed.

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

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    what the hell does 2016 have anything to do with what I'm talking about?

    You say that crime rates have risen "this past year" and "over the past year."

    If not 2016 (i.e. a year ago), what are we supposed to be comparing 2017's (i.e. this past year's) stats to?

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

  36. identicon
    Thad, 14 Sep 2017 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    1. You don't seem to know what "projecting" means.

    2. Trump said, during the campaign, that he planned to institute a ban on Muslim immigration. Rudy Giuliani said, about the travel ban, that Trump had asked him for advice on how to institute a Muslim ban legally. The ban targeted predominantly-Muslim countries, and Trump initially sought exceptions for Christians. Were you ignorant of these basic facts, or are you being obtuse on purpose?

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

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't know, why don't you ask those who are dead what they think about so-called sanctuary cities inviting every criminal to a place where they can get away with anything simply based on their status?

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

  38. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Statistics can rise and fall from year to year. The long-view look at crime statistics—that is, whether crime rates are trending down or up across a longer period of time than a year—offers a more accurate view of whether crime rates are getting better or worse. Judging by all available statistics, crime rates in Boston have dropped steadily over the past decade. A spike in crime during a given year means next-to-nothing unless that trend continues in the following year.

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

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 11:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah and the fact still remains that illegals are being hired more often over than black americans. Vistit and fast food restuaraunt or look at any other work that's being done that requires no highschool degee...people try to say that children don't want to work these jobs anymore, it's only because they have a fucking monopoly on it.

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

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You mean the Christians that are being killed in those specific countries specifically because they are not willing to convert to Islam? Funny how you twist everything around to be supportive of your opinion and ignore reality.

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Please keep to the topic at hand. Your appeal to emotion and attempt to deflect is weaksauce.

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Please keep to the topic at hand. Your appeal to emotion and attempt to deflect is weaksauce.

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Whoops someone is attempting to deflect after they got called on their bullshit.

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

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Many people feel that you are full of shit.

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

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Citation? No of course not.

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

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 5:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Data from an incomplete data set such as the current year is highly deceptive.

    Fixed that for ya

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

  47. icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Sep 2017 @ 7:52am

    Re: Bye, partisan!

    You deserved a second first word.

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

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Almost 50% of the country lives in a place where crime is above the national average. Fetch me my fainting couch before I swoon with the indignity of it all.

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

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Years not over yet. Not suprising that basic fact escaped your racist ass.

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

  50. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 15 Sep 2017 @ 10:39am

    Asylee vs TPS

    The topic at hand is immigration. In the context of immigration law, refugee is primarily defined as an oppressed minority. Xians fit into that category in that part of the world.

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

  51. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 15 Sep 2017 @ 10:41am

    Re: Response to: Anonyhatter on Sep 14th, 2017 @ 2:48pm

    So you are fine with the executive branch being selective about what laws it will enforce? That is not a "lawful" idea. It's also something bound to run afoul of the ideology of either party. For extra bonus points, it can also violate our founding principles depending on what's ignored.

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

  52. identicon
    JEDIDIAH, 15 Sep 2017 @ 10:45am

    Lies, damned lies.

    Furthermore, crime is not uniform within a city. The average could be down but crime in the rough areas could be up.

    This is the same way the climate can be warming even if you're having lower than average temperatures where you're at.

    Stats also depend on reporting. I could very well see crime under-reported in high crime areas. People may not simply see the point in bothering. (been there, done that)

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

  53. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2017 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Link?

    H.Amdt. 391: … printed in House Report 115-297…

    Fwiw (actually very little), here's a convenient link for House Report 115-297, which accompanies H.Res. 504.

    But don't bother clicking, unless you need to verify that the report contains no substantive discussion of the amendments. It does indeed have the text of amendment 126, which text is also available at 163 Cong. Rec. H7272 (daily ed. Sep 12, 2017).

     


     

    Incidentally, the “sponsored” hyperlink — the one that's blockquoted without attribution in Cushing's article above — that hyperlink sucks already.

    It points to dynamic content for the “Daily Schedule”. Today, the content has already changed for next week.

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

  54. identicon
    Cowardly Lion, 15 Sep 2017 @ 1:05pm

    Racism is alive and well, and living in Boston

    This sounds a lot like "Well, there goes the neighbourhood".

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

  55. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 Sep 2017 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the fact still remains that illegals are being hired more often over than black americans

    If you had cited statistical sources instead of anecdotal data, I might have cared about your assertion of fact. Also: Even if we assume businesses hire undocumented immigrants at greater rates than legal citizens of any race, you have not expressed a motive for doing so.

    Come up with a stronger argument than “this is true around the country because I saw it happen in one part of one state of the entire United States” next time. It might just save you from being mocked for making empty declarative statements.

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

  56. identicon
    Thad, 15 Sep 2017 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Asylee vs TPS

    That's not exactly true. Refugees are defined by US law as "people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion." While in many cases that will mean they're members of minority groups, that need not be the case; it's entirely possible for a minority to persecute a majority. Iraq under Saddam Hussein is a good example; that was an instance where a Sunni minority oppressed a Shiite majority.

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

  57. icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 17 Sep 2017 @ 5:52am

    Re: Re: Bye, partisan!

    Nit: Although "Republican" is both a noun and an adjective, "Democrat" is only a noun. The corresponding adjective is "Democratic".

    It's my experience that those who use "Democrat" as an adjective usually carry a distinct right-wing bias, but it looks like the usage may be spreading to the point that that may be becoming a less reliable indicator...

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


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