Obama Administration Told It Should Return The Crystal-Covered Michael Jackson Glove It Illegally Seized
from the seriously? dept
We’ve talked repeatedly about the federal governments’ overly-aggressive nature in seizing and forfeiting things like domain names, but the government’s abuse of forfeiture and seizure laws goes way beyond just seizing digital assets. Basically, law enforcement often sees seizure and forfeiture laws as an excuse to steal from the public with little to no recrimination.
Thankfully, it looks like the courts may be starting to push back a bit. The Obama administration appears to be losing its case in which it seized millions of dollars worth of assets from the son of the president/dictator of Equatorial Guinea. Included in the haul is an original Michael Jackson crystal covered “glove” from the Bad tour. The feds are claiming that these were ill-gotten gains from corruption. That may be true, but the guy, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, hasn’t been convicted of any crimes either at home or in the US, so the courts are wondering why it should let the US just take his stuff. The feds have a chance to amend their argument, but it’s good to see that the judge is quite skeptical that such seizures are legal.
This kind of thing seems all too common with such in cases, where law enforcement goes after the stuff, but never goes after the actual people involved. And, of course, sometimes they make big mistakes. Either way, hopefully cases like this lead to fixing (or getting rid) of the ridiculous process of asset seizures without due process or without any charges being filed. It’s not just that it’s open to abuse, but that it is, clearly, regularly abused to either enrich law enforcement or just to hassle people the government doesn’t like. That shouldn’t be allowed.