Dutch Approach To Asset Forfeiture Will Literally Take The Clothes Off Pedestrians' Backs

from the take-'em-right-off dept

We've long complained about civil asset forfeiture in the United States. Law enforcement agencies, thanks to a series of perverse incentives, have grown to love taking people's property (usually cash) without charging them for crimes. The excuse is that lifting a few thousand dollars from some random person somehow chips away at drug cartels located overseas.

It would seem to be more crippling if criminal charges were pursued and suspects interrogated, jailed, and flipped. But law enforcement has no time for that, not when a pile of cash is only a few pieces of paperwork away from changing ownership.

They're taking asset forfeiture to a whole new level over in the Netherlands. Dutch cops will now be taking the clothes off people's back if they "suspect" the clothing might be out of the spending range of the person wearing it. (h/t Charles C.W. Cooke)

Police in the Dutch city of Rotterdam have launched a new pilot programme which will see them confiscating expensive clothing and jewellery from young people if they look too poor to own them.

Officers say the scheme will see them target younger men in designer clothes they seem unlikely to be able to afford legally – if it is not clear how the person paid for it, it will be confiscated.

The idea is to deter criminality by sending a signal that the men will not be able to hang onto their ill-gotten gains.

The police say they'll be able to make quick determinations about the legality of… um… clothing by accosting well-dressed youngsters. Presumably, no one will be carrying receipts. The police have used the term "undress" but swear they'll be focused on items that won't leave their former owners in a state of undress (watches are mentioned). Then again, the police also say they'll be packing clothes to hand out to people they've disrobed for dressing too richly, so it's obvious it won't just be watches being watched.

What's propelling this new spin on asset forfeiture? Apparently, it's some form of disrespect Dutch police want to shut down.

Police Chief said the young men targeted often have no income and are already in debt from fines for previous convictions but wearing expensive clothing.

This “undermines the rule of law” which sends “a completely false signal to local residents”, he explained.

The law already gives Dutch police permission to forfeit items procured with criminal funds. Over the last decade, the police have expanded these programs to go far beyond perceived kingpins to reach street hassle levels. Dutch law enforcement have been performing "Rolex checks" on young people for three years now, but the recent expansion into Rotterdam (it originated in Amsterdam), coupled with inflammatory "undress them on the street" comments from the Rotterdam police chief, has resulted in a new wave of backlash.

The police refuse to say how they'll determine rightful ownership of clothing/watches/jewelry they wish to seize. Obviously, the specifics would let "criminals" know what receipts to carry, but also suggests they're not entirely sure how they're going to carry this out either. Of course, the method matters less to the police. They don't have to prove anything. All they have to find is a lack of proof of legitimate ownership. The burden is completely upon those walking around wearing items cops subjectively feel they can't afford. Given the way this deck is stacked, citizens may as well just hand over "expensive" items the moment an officer approaches them. Why go through all the extra hassle if it's not going to change anything?

The police chief has responded to the backlash by blaming the media and the citizens for "rushing ahead" without knowing all the facts. This is a typical response, one that should be greeted with the obvious point that most of the facts came directly from from the police chief, i.e., the threat to "undress" people in public to rebuild "respect" for the "rule of law." Those facts are ugly and indisputable. And they're all attributable to Rotterdam Police Chief Frank Depauuw. He can't blame an extremely awful forfeiture program on all the people who won't be actively participating in it. The facts will continue to develop, but they're never going to reach the point where this program looks like anything but a gross misuse of power.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 8:42am

    Here's Some Facts

    Sales of expensive clothes will take a nose dive.

    Shops selling expensive clothes will fold.

    Stores that sell knock offs of expensive clothes will file for bankruptcy.

    Many will become unemployed, and the tax base will consequently drop from a loss of both sales taxes and income taxes.

    The first department that should then be targeted should be the one that started Domino Effect, the police.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 3:04pm

      Re: Here's Some Facts

      > "Sales of expensive clothes will take a nose dive."

      Actually, the clear suspicion is that the clothes are stolen, therefore it'd be likely that sales would increase.

      However, if you'll read an apparently credible Dutch native's comment below, you'll find this is likely mistaken translation, not so bad as claimed.

      Now, don't you feel like a fool? -- Because I do, for reading Techdirt and not doubting every claim.

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 9:31am

    Papers Please

    At all times, you must carry bank statements, paycheck stubs, identification, and all receipts for all clothing, jewelry, and electronics you happen to have with you.

    Or just wander the streets naked.

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

    • identicon
      tin-foil-hat, 29 Jan 2018 @ 9:46am

      Re: Papers Please

      Being naked sounds like a lot of fun. In the summer anyway. I bet that's against the law too. Even a naked person still has some valuables for the taking like organs or maybe virginity. That seems to be where it's headed.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:26am

      Re: Papers Please

      At all times, you must carry … all receipts for all clothing, jewelry, and electronics you happen to have with you.

      That would be really suspicous, wouldn't it, if the cops found someone carrying a receipt for years-old clothing? Probably reason enough to arrest.

      Discrimination on sex and age might raise problems with courts—they even admit it's their plan: "Officers say the scheme will see them target younger men".

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 5 Feb 2018 @ 6:03am

      Re: Papers Please

      Papiere, bitte

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 9:46am

    What's Dutch for "Theft at badgepoint?"

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

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 29 Jan 2018 @ 9:49am

    Laws

    Do the dutch have a constitution and would this be legal?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:10am

      Re: Laws

      Do the dutch have a constitution and would this be legal?

      I don't know about the Dutch, but I can tell you from the US that constitutions don't mean what they used to.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:12am

      Re: Laws

      no one gives a fuck, here in USA there is a constitution and no one fucking obeys that either. We do put on at good show though!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 11:52am

      Re: Laws

      Holland is a much more socialist country; I believe the police are nationalized, or at least at the state level.

      So on the one hand, this means that the local beat cop has less incentive to confiscate stuff, as he won't get to see the proceeds. However...

      Police Chief said the young men targeted often have no income and are already in debt from fines for previous convictions but wearing expensive clothing.

      Where I'm from, that describes a lot of the rich kids with foreign millionaire/billionaire parents. It also describes a bunch of poor folks who buy knockoffs from China.

      So how are the police supposed to tell if something's stolen, bought with ill-gotten gains, bought with Daddy's money, bought BY Daddy, or a cheap fake?

      From their perspective, it appears they want this so they can take the stuff from punks they already know, who are racketeering etc. and displaying their gains with bling. But there's not much of a step between going after these guys and going after someone who just rubs you the wrong way, and NO controls in place to separate these two groups.

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

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 30 Jan 2018 @ 1:21pm

        Re: Re: Laws

        I am still trying to figure out how a well-dressed person "looks poor".

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

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 31 Jan 2018 @ 5:20pm

          Looking poor...

          If they have a nice enough tan that they obviously don't work indoors under factory fluorescent lights, but not a dark enough tan to suggest they work out in the fields.

          That nice beach / salon golden-orange tan. And sun-bleached hair. Everyone else is too poor to wear clothes.

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

    • identicon
      Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 6:15pm

      Re: Laws

      We do have a constitution, and the way this article describes the issue, it would definitely be illegal.

      However, luckily things are not as this article describes it and the issue in fact appears entirely unrelated to asset forfeiture. The following comes from my understanding of Dutch law regarding confiscation.

      Legally, the state has no right to confiscated items. Of course one can confiscate items for the purposes of an investigation, but in criminal proceedings the state can only secure the right to these assets if they can be proven to have been used criminally, or if they're illegal or against public interest to own. Expensive jackets are not illegal, and it'd take charging the owner with a crime involving the jacket to meet the other option.

      Civilly, this can only be done to pay debt or as ordered by a judge. Since the police do not carry a judge in their pocket to order the items to be seized, they can legally only hold them temporarily until the investigation concludes, unless they want to go through a lengthy civil procedure (which without due cause they would lose). If the person is charged and the item was involved in the crime, it can then be legally seized permanently.

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

      • icon
        Narcissus (profile), 30 Jan 2018 @ 12:23am

        Re: Re: Laws

        Just to clarify some more:

        It's not the case that they'll just walk up to some random guy who looks "too poor" to ask for his receipts. They're specifically targeting people whom they know.

        So in practice it is like this: They spot a guy they know has a criminal record and they know he's on welfare but still he's wearing expensive clothing and watches or, for that matter, he's driving a brand new BMW M3. In that case they'll want to check how he can afford these things.

        While there is an asset forfeiture procedure in The Netherlands, as mentioned above, it can only start after you have been convicted of a crime and the prosecution has to prove they are ill-gotten gains.

        That is not to say that the procedures from the article do not have their problems. Cases of racial profiling do happen and the rules are not always implemented properly. It's however a bit over the top to suggest that if you look "Moroccan" and you wear an expensive coat you'll have to carry your receipt with you at all times.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 9:51am

    Wait, you mean other people don't carry around a bag with all their receipts?

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      This is really just a ploy to get access to smart phones. People can actually carry receipts for everything on their phone and since they are going to have to offer them into evidence, they are going to need to unlock their phone for the police to look at them.

      I am going to start by making the lock-screen background on my phone a picture of the receipt for the phone itself. Then, I will at least be able to retain my evidence.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re:

        as funny as that sounds it is not that far fetched, but you are mistaken about one thing...

        good luck keeping the phone, it obviously holds evidence, screen locked showing proof of phone or not.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 9:52am

    Clothes on those assumed to be enabled by crime stolen by those whose clothes enable them to commit crimes.

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

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:01am

    Random profiling or reasonable parole enforcement?

    > "He said the young men targeted often have no income and are already in debt from fines for previous convictions but wearing expensive clothing."

    It was not clear whether police would *only* stop individuals already under parole supervision, or whether they would stop random individuals and find out about their parole status only after the stop (an invitation to profiling).

    If this is targeted *only* at parolees with unpaid fines, it might be better than the American approach of keeping such people locked up.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:36am

      Re: Random profiling or reasonable parole enforcement?

      It was not clear whether police would only stop individuals already under parole supervision, or whether they would stop random individuals and find out about their parole status only after the stop (an invitation to profiling).

      Not random—they have to be young, poor-looking men (a trifecta of illegal discrimination).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re: Random profiling or reasonable parole enforcement?

        so a guy wearing expensive designer clothing, shoes and jewellery is going to actually look poor to someone?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Random profiling or reasonable parole enforcement?

          Contradictions like that are working fine for the TSA:

          In some cases, the TSA indicators place travelers in the difficult position of seeming deceptive to the TSA no matter what they do—whether they “give[] non-answers” to questions or they are “overly specific with answers”; etc.

          (Well, not working, but it lets them harass people.)

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

        • icon
          Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 11:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Random profiling or reasonable parole enforcement?

          Under a parolee-only hypothesis, the parolee might be required to carry an RFID chip, or have a face registered in a facial-ID system, or otherwise be positively identified by the cop *before* he can be stopped.

          All very creepy and "Orwellian," but it might be better than sitting in an American jail.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Random profiling or reasonable parole enforcement?

            All very creepy and "Orwellian," but it might be better than sitting in an American jail.

            And not hypothetical or new: some people are already forced to wear trackers on their ankles.

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

            • icon
              orbitalinsertion (profile), 30 Jan 2018 @ 1:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Random profiling or reasonable parole enforcement?

              No one discussing parole mentions that in many cases, parolees have to pay for the "costs" of their parole? As if a parolee can get a well-paying job straight out of the box. It's all kinds of fkd up.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:01am

    Corrupt thug Frank Depauuw should come to Baltimore

    He'd fit right in to the culture of corruption that pervades the entire BPD. Just as he wants to rip off the people who have something worth ripping off, the BPD has been targeting drug dealers that appear to have available cash and robbing them.

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

  • identicon
    Dingledore the Previously Impervious, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:02am

    They're dutch

    they're not overly concerned about a lack of clothes.

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

  • identicon
    Iggy, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:18am

    The rule of law

    Nothing strengthens the Rule of Law and sends a true message like warrantless searches and seizures

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:28am

      Re: The rule of law

      Nothing strengthens the rule of law like allowing racist Dutch police (i.e. most of them) and paedophiles in law enforcement from LEGALLY taking clothing off children and "frisking" them.

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:20am

    i think the bigger story is this seems to be a form of class warfare, now I am not sure how the Dutch culture tackles this, but the whole "you don't look like you should be wearing that." seems a little... classist to me

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      The Netherlands has very low wealth inequality. Income taxes are high and so is spending on infrastructure, including Roads, Trains and Bicycle Highways. Asset Forfeiture is ... surprising for the Netherlands.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:27am

    Essentially (and I'm sorry for using bad words but nothing else will fit) this is the dutch police deciding "niggers" and "darkies" are poor scum and therefore can't afford things.

    This is going to end badly. The Dutch police are already well known for beating non-white suspects in custody and denying them basic human rights such as access to toilets and lawyers, but now they can just steal their stuff with no oversight or comeback whatsoever.

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

    • identicon
      tin-foil-hat, 29 Jan 2018 @ 11:59am

      Response to: Darkies and Thugs on Jan 29th, 2018 @ 10:27am

      Doesn't Santa have a "darkie" slave sidekick in the Netherlands which is usually played by some white guy in blackface? That says alot about them right there.

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

      • identicon
        Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 5:44pm

        Re: Response to: Darkies and Thugs on Jan 29th, 2018 @ 10:27am

        That's not Santa. We have a separate holiday called Sinterklaas. He does have sidekicks, but they're said to be slaves freed by him who now help him voluntarily.

        Moreover, if you still have a knee-jerk reaction to our culture, recently there are variants on this sidekick that do not wear black facepaint, and are fully white, showing that white people can also be sidekicks, or something ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 6:12pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Darkies and Thugs on Jan 29th, 2018 @ 10:27am

          That's not Santa. We have a separate holiday called Sinterklaas.

          "Sinterklaas or Sint-Nicolaas is a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children... The feast of Sinterklaas celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December... Sinterklaas is the primary source of the popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus... Sinterklaas is assisted by many mischievous helpers with black faces and colourful Moorish dresses."

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

          So there's the character Sinterklaas, more or less equivalent to Santa Claus, and the holiday of the same name.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 6:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Response to: Darkies and Thugs on Jan 29th, 2018 @ 10:27am

            The two may have related origins, but they are most definitely different phenomena. We also celebrate Christmas with Santa, and Santa and Saint Nicholas are understood to be two different people by the Dutch.

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

    • identicon
      Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 6:50pm

      > The Dutch police are already well known for beating non-white suspects in custody and denying them basic human rights such as access to toilets and lawyers

      I would like a source on this please. I've looked it up and I can't find any of this anywhere. The only thing I can find is a single report five years ago where all of 3 people have spoken out against a very small subset of police.

      With the lack of google results when I search things like "Dutch police beating blacks" I can confidently assert that the Dutch police is not in the slightest well-known for this, or, slightly less confidently, at all known to do this. I'd be particularly interested in sources about denying people in custody basic human rights.

      Unless you can provide credible sources (including the idea that this policy is primarily targeted towards black people), your entire comment is a big falsehood. That's actually pretty impressive, but not in a good way.

      > now they can just steal their stuff with no oversight or comeback whatsoever.

      This article mistakenly asserts that this policy is similar to asset forfeiture, which it's not. The police can only temporarily seize assets unless the asset can be proven to be involved in criminal activity, or one other circumstance which doesn't apply to this policy to begin with.

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

  • identicon
    Cowardly Lion, 29 Jan 2018 @ 10:45am

    A Big Mistake

    I'm pretty sure this flies in the face of the European Human Rights Directive, never mind the Dutch Constitution. Also, the Dutch are 100% signed up to the UN's Protocol against Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

    I can see this dying a death about oh, 7 minutes after they mistakenly confiscate Princess Catharina-Amalia's Calvin Klein undies...

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 11:09am

    This reminds me of the Barneys case.

    Young black New Yorker Trevon Christian saved his pennies to buy a sweet $350 Ferragamo belt buckle. He was an engineering student working his way through college, but the counter clerks at Barneys on Madison Avenue thought he must his belt-buckle money was ill-gotten gains.

    They called the NYPD who stopped him a block away and detained him down at the station, because it's apparently too suspicious in New York for a young black man to wear a Ferragamo buckle.

    I believe he was able to sue Barneys and the NYPD and reach a settlement. I don't know the specifics. But he doesn't wear Ferragamo buckles or shop at Barney's anymore.

    But yeah. If you look like you should be poor, apparently wearing nice clothes will get you harassed here in the states too.

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

  • identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 29 Jan 2018 @ 11:43am

    Huh. I really had not expected to see sumptuary laws make a comeback. Things just continue to get weirder.

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

    • identicon
      Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 5:40pm

      This mostly seems to intend to target people with known debts, so I'd say that's a stretch. Moreover the police cannot actually make you forfeit your jacket, that's a mistranslation. They can only take it temporarily, unless they're willing to prove in a court of law that you've obtained it illegally. Doing otherwise is unlawful.

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 30 Jan 2018 @ 7:19am

        Re:

        That's the problem: they can take it. It's a legal harassment tool. That they can give it back is another story altogether; you may find there's a lot of paperwork to fill in, etc., before you can receive your present or knock-off or whatever back.

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

        • identicon
          Kay, 30 Jan 2018 @ 7:46am

          Re: Re:

          You're mistaken. You have to do absolutely nothing to get it back. It's on them to prove that they can keep it, for which they'd need to either:

          1) prove that the asset has been used criminally. They won't try this route without a strong indication that you've actually done something illegal, because to do this they'd need to launch a full-on criminal investigation into you. At the point where that goes to court you'll have bigger fish to fry like not going to jail, which, hey, if you succeed you'll also get your asset back. Or:

          2) if applicable, give them the chance to pay their debt in return for the item, which given the involved debt, if they can't do that, they would have lost the asset to the debt collector anyway. Of course, this entire option doesn't exist if you don't have debts.

          Sure, it's a problem that they can just take it. That's why this policy is controversial here as well. But it's far from a bureaucratic maze to get it back, since they can't legally assert forfeiture in any way, shape or form unless it's preceded by a lot of effort on their part.

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

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 31 Jan 2018 @ 2:32am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Once they've taken your stuff you can't just march into a police station and demand it back, can you?

            At some point a lawyer is involved, and that means either court or the cost of going to court. That's the problem.

            Please can you talk me through the procedure for retrieving seized items?

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

  • identicon
    Michael H, 29 Jan 2018 @ 11:53am

    So, police suspect they are... ill-gotten garments?

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

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 12:17pm

    14th amendment

    Every time I see articles about CAF, I keep trying to wrap my brain around how CAF is legal. It is a blatant violation of the 14th amendment.

    Amendment XIV
    Section 1.
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    A high school student could identify the unconstitutionality of CAF. I read the case Bennis v. Michigan (1996) which opened the floodgates for this rampant abuse of legalized theft. Considering how bad it is now, I don't understand Why it has not reached the SCOTUS again with so many publicized cases of this highly unconstitutional act.

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

    • identicon
      TRX, 29 Jan 2018 @ 1:58pm

      Re: 14th amendment

      > without due process of law;

      "We're the court, we say it's totes okeydokey, where's our cut of the loot?"

      Sort of slows the "due process" part away, doesn't it?

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

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 30 Jan 2018 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re: 14th amendment

        They simply redefine "due process". CAF law was written, that gives the process. Then it is used entirely in ways which have nothing to do with why it was legislated, but it seems most of the PTB are cool with the unintended (or perhaps not so unintended)consequences.

        Due process is not so well-defined. Only some judges, well after any fact, make reasonable rulings on what "reasonable" means.

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

  • identicon
    Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 12:27pm

    I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

    This issue concerns "Inbeslagneming" according to local news outlets, not "Confiscatie". Both translate to "Confiscation", but Inbeslagneming does not give the state any right to the property. Unless they can prove that you illegally aquired it, it's going to be returned to you.

    Doing otherwise would fly in the face of Dutch law, as there are only three ways of asset Confiscatie through criminal proceedings, and this is none of the three. Two require a conviction, and one requires the confiscated item to be unlawful or its possession against public interest.

    Civil Inbeslagneming is even more complicated and involves lengthy proceedings, so you can't just walk up to someone and make them forfeit their clothes. Inbeslagneming can eventually lead to forfeiture, but this involves court proceedings and mostly involves debts.

    I should say that I am not myself a lawyer, but this information is quite easily accessible. Stop freaking out and turn your eye back to your own problems. U.S. Asset Forfeiture is an order of magnitude worse.

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

    • identicon
      tin-foil-hat, 29 Jan 2018 @ 12:59pm

      Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

      My comment about Santa's helper still stands though.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 2:10pm

      Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

      Just because the US has worse problems doesn't mean we should ignore problems elsewhere. Besides which, when it becomes a trend (like Mussolini's fascism) that implies a larger paradigm.

      Still, it looks like one of those things where you can't beat the ride even if you beat the rap. And it's telling that the Dutch police are now being issued changes of clothes for when they have to disrobe someone. That sounds like clothing confiscation is commonplace.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 2:59pm

        Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

        "Just because the US has worse problems doesn't mean we should ignore problems elsewhere."

        But doesn't help anyone anywhere when get the problem WRONG as this apparently Dutch person believes.

        This is just another TYPICAL Techdirt click-baity re-write from flawed source, topped off by this time another country.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 3:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

          Good thing we have your dumb ass to add nothing to the conversation. Otherwise it would have been a waste of time.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 6:02pm

      Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

      Unless they can prove that you illegally aquired it, it's going to be returned to you.

      To which the next question is: 'How quickly?'.

      While it's better that they need to demonstrate guilt rather than the accused demonstrate innocence if you're correct, the fact that they can take it in the first place and only keep it with a showing of illegal acquisition originally isn't that much better.

      Two require a conviction, and one requires the confiscated item to be unlawful or its possession against public interest.

      His explanation seems to cover that last one if a court cares to agree with him.

      'This “undermines the rule of law” which sends “a completely false signal to local residents”, he explained.'

      It's justified, and therefor legal, because it 'undermines the rule of law', and as such combating the practice of people wearing clothes they 'shouldn't have' is in the public interest.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 6:28pm

        Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

        The argument here is that it undermines the rule of law because it's been illegally obtained, and yet the police can do nothing to prevent this sort of thing.

        You cannot make the argument that because it undermines the rule of law, it's against public interest; Only if it undermines the rule of law can it be shown to be against public interest, in other words, if the person is a criminal. The whole argument falls flat on its face if the person hasn't done anything wrong and any court will recognise that.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 7:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

          The whole argument falls flat on its face if the person hasn't done anything wrong and any court will recognise that.

          Even assuming that the courts do indeed not buy the argument, the problem is that, unless I'm missing something, that happens after the property has been taken in the first place. It's nice and all that someone will get their stuff back, the problem is that they stand to lose it and be forced to deal with the courts in the first place on accusation alone.

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

          • identicon
            Kay, 30 Jan 2018 @ 6:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

            They'll only stand to lose it if they're convicted of a criminal offence. Police don't deal those out willy-nilly, for obvious reasons.

            Since police don't deal out charges at random, it follows that either you get back your item without having to do anything, or you become a suspect in a credible criminal investigation.

            The bigger fish to fry in this case is making sure you don't go to jail, and the item they're holding is just an added deterrent from doing bad stuff.

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

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 30 Jan 2018 @ 7:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

              You're assuming they'll be acting in good faith at all times. They're human, Kay. You bet they'll abuse this. Watch this space for the "Told you so!" follow-up stories.

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

              • identicon
                Kay, 30 Jan 2018 @ 8:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

                We have measures in place for this kind of thing.

                Police here is not like in the States. Cases about abuse of power are very rare and are taken very seriously. Police works at a national level too, so individual departments will get cracked down on hard for stepping out of line.

                Judges aren't part of the police force, and will dismiss frivolous allegations. This likely also opens up an opportunity for the suspect to take them to civil court for unlawful arrest, and will prompt an investigation into the police department, likely with involved officers losing their jobs.

                If even the judge can't be trusted to be impartial, they can be replaced by any of the involved parties, including in this case the suspect. The House of Substitution presides over these requests and the judges making up the substitution panel themselves have no stake in the result of the trial.

                A request to substitute will always be heard by at least 3 judges, and they themselves are not immune to substitution. Hence it is possible to have members of a substitution panel substituted.

                If all this fails, the decision can still be appealed and be heard by a more important and centralised court, less likely to have any stake in the outcome of the trial. Even then you can still submit a request for the case to be monitored by the Supreme Court.

                If the Supreme Court monitors a case, the decision they make can cause a judicial crisis if it's made in bad faith, since any ruling in bad faith by the Supreme Court will turn the entire system on its head. This decision is made by 11 Supreme Court judges. If you request a Supreme Court judge to be substituted, this decision will be made by three or five of the highest ranked judges in the country. Like, these people are no joke.

                As a government employee, trying to compromise this process will put your career on the fast track back to the labour market. Not to mention, none of the parties mentioned inherently have any sort of stake in taking your item. They won't get anything for getting it forfeited.

                Even if you assume that the state has some sort of incentive to encourage unlawful forfeiture, you just can't pay off all the involved police officers from the price of a forfeited item, let alone a public prosecutor, a dozen judges and half the Supreme Court.

                In conclusion, this just doesn't work. Even in bad faith, there's no way to make this profitable for the state.

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

                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 31 Jan 2018 @ 5:38am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

                  Thank you for responding, Kay.

                  So basically it's a way to harass people, who can then apply (please can you advise as to how they can apply?) to get their seized items back.

                  That the cops risk being called to account may or may not be a deterrent but the fact is this will be abused. Where there's an opportunity to abuse, there's abuse.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 30 Jan 2018 @ 8:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

              I can't help but feel that you keep focusing on the wrong issue as you try to defend this practice(or at least downplay how bad it is). You've said multiple times that 'unless you're charged, you'll get your stuff back', but as I and others have tried to point out that completely ignores that someone can have their stuff taken on accusation alone in the first place.

              If someone took your property(clothes, phone, whatever), claiming that you 'looked suspicious', would you be mollified when they told you that you'd get it back eventually? The original taking of property is the problem, that they don't get to keep it does not make that problem go away or make it any better.

              Even assuming that Dutch police are paragons of virtue who would never abuse this to harass someone they don't like(for whatever reason), that core problem remains, and it doesn't get any better by repeatedly pointing out that they aren't allowed to keep the items unless they want to go to court for it.

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

              • identicon
                Kay, 30 Jan 2018 @ 8:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

                I won't pretend that this isn't a controversial issue, because it is. This is exactly the reason why people dislike it here, but it is also basically the only reason.

                Yes, they can take the item on accusation alone, and yes, that's bad. All I'm trying to do is show that other concerns people have voiced really are not applicable.

                I will say one more thing, and that's that it's unlikely that the police will try to take an item without having a reasonable belief that you did indeed obtain it illegally, due to the extra hassle it causes for them to have to hold on to the item, investigate its origins, and return it to you if you're innocent.

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

                • identicon
                  Wendy Cockcroft, 31 Jan 2018 @ 5:39am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

                  I will say one more thing, and that's that it's unlikely that the police will try to take an item without having a reasonable belief that you did indeed obtain it illegally, due to the extra hassle it causes for them to have to hold on to the item, investigate its origins, and return it to you if you're innocent.

                  Perhaps you're right, but I can't help doing a mental countdown to "I told you so."

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2018 @ 3:13am

        Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

        I also wonder how quickly items will be returned.

        And, because I'm a deep-rooted cynic, I wonder how much stuff will somehow be 'lost'.

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

        • identicon
          Kay, 30 Jan 2018 @ 4:49am

          Re: Re: Re: I'm Dutch, and I believe there has been a translation mixup.

          That's unfortunately a very real concern that I cannot refute. In some cases police have been known to "lose" items.

          However, since seizing it properly must be done through the appropriate proceedings, it's going to look really bad on anyone's record if they do "lose" it; especially since for the intended target of this policy the held item is going to be part of a criminal investigation. "Losing" that sort of item is highly suspect, and cannot be done inconspicuously.

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

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 29 Jan 2018 @ 12:41pm

    Onus

    Wouldn't the onus be on the police to provide evidence it was stolen or paid for by ill gotten gains?

    I mean, without any evidence, they should have no right to discovery or investigate. "Prove us you own it"...so, you f'ing prove something illegal happened.

    Pathetic. Any office who follows this is a piece of crap.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 1:00pm

    "from young people if they look too poor to own them"

    What's the definition of "too poor"?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2018 @ 1:10pm

    Sounds like a new way to get yer bigot on

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 1:48pm

    mONKEYS WATCHING MONKEYS??

    So, ????
    Double charging and humiliating PEOPLE who cant Pay the state for FINES???

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

    • identicon
      Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 6:02pm

      Re: mONKEYS WATCHING MONKEYS??

      I'm not sure exactly what you're saying here. Humiliating, I can understand, but double charging or fines? None of those things are applicable as far as I can tell from my knowledge of Dutch law. Could you elaborate?

      I should mention by the way that this article is embellished, either because of a faulty translation or journalistic incompetence. The state has no right to the items they've confiscated and by law they must be returned, unless the police can prove that the items were used criminally. This is an issue entirely unrelated to asset forfeiture in that regard.

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

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 2:27pm

    Got His Name Wrong

    If you're going to demonize the guy (rightly so) at least get his name correct. It is Frank Paauw, not Depauuw.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Jan 2018 @ 3:00pm

    We couldn't find any real crime happening so we decided to invent a moral panic so we could rob citizens under the cover of law.

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

    • identicon
      Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 5:57pm

      The article seems to indicate that this is a case of asset forfeiture which it's not; that's hyperbole and either the result of poor translation or journalistic incompetence.

      The police can take the items, but they have no right to them, and must either return the items or prove that they were used criminally in a court of law. Dutch law does not allow the state to seize items like this.

      Criminally, the state may only seize items that have been used in a crime or are unlawful or against public interest to posses (which this is not).

      Civilly, the state may only seize items to pay a person's debt, and with prior notice. If the person can pay in cash, the item cannot be seized. The only exception to this is that an asset can be seized if a judge orders it. (Which this is also not).

      Therefore the state cannot actually take the items permanently, only hold on to them temporarily.

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 30 Jan 2018 @ 7:23am

        Re:

        Yes, Kay, we know.

        The state can take your stuff. Then, by law, they have to give it back unless they can make and prove their case for hanging on to your stuff. That. Is. The. Problem.

        Warrant based on probable cause/reasonable suspicion FIRST, then court order, then forfeiture, please.

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

  • identicon
    Châu, 29 Jan 2018 @ 5:09pm

    Fashion Police

    Now have real fashion police against nice clothes?

    I wonder if citizens can reverse this, take expensive clothes & jewelry from young male police officers, police no can afford clothes & jewelry with police pay; young male police must use illegal methods.

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

  • identicon
    alex in san jose, 29 Jan 2018 @ 5:17pm

    Goddamnit in Palo Alto the homeless are often given quite expensive jackets by the yuppies there; some of these yups have more clothes than they could ever wear so they give some away - what's wrong with that. Fuck the goddamn Dutch.

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

    • identicon
      Kay, 29 Jan 2018 @ 5:35pm

      We're talking multi-thousand dollar clothing here. Not just $400 or something, but around $1500 and up, according to local news outlets (I'm Dutch).

      Not that I agree with this policy, but I can certainly agree that a debtor or homeless person walking around in a jacket that could pay them three months of rent is suspicious.

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 30 Jan 2018 @ 7:26am

        Re:

        Yes, but unless the police are well-versed in fashion how are they supposed to know what is or is not "designer" clothing? It's not as if they'd leave the price tags on.

        I've got some designer gear at home but I got it from a second hand shop. On my salary, I'd struggle to afford to buy it new. Should it be confiscated till I can prove where I got it from (I threw away the receipt ages ago and paid in cash)? That is what I'd have to do to get my fancy Monsoon blouse back.

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

        • identicon
          Kay, 30 Jan 2018 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re:

          Yes, this is indeed a problem. Plans have been stated that police officers will be trained to recognise when something is expensive and new, but people are fallible, and there are legal ways to obtain such items even if you're poor.

          However, you wouldn't have to prove where it came from. The police will have to prove you obtained it illegally. The burden of proof is on them. You have to do nothing at all.

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

          • icon
            The Wanderer (profile), 30 Jan 2018 @ 9:16am

            Re: Re: Re:

            If the burden of proving that you obtained it illegally is on them, they shouldn't be able to take it unless they've proven their case first.

            Whenever they take something and have to give it back because there was no underlying illegality, they've punished an innocent person - and that should require them to compensate the innocent person for the inconvenience (and, potentially, the public humiliation) involved.

            Is there any provision in the law for appropriately compensating those whose property was taken when they had in fact done nothing wrong? And does that compensation in any way come from the police who committed the offense against the innocent person?

            I'd be extremely surprised if so, but if there is, that would at least serve to provide the police with an incentive not to overreach themselves and abuse the law.

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

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 31 Jan 2018 @ 5:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And that will bring us back to D'Oh!

              Because the question not being answered here is, when the cops have decided that you're too poor to be wearing a jacket with "Moschino" written on it, what do you do to get it back? What is the procedure?

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

  • identicon
    78ernico, 21 Feb 2018 @ 11:02am

    Men only

    Why not the ladies?

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.