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ALERT! Confiscation Bill Imminent!

(Alert 2/6/04)


This alert provided by Arnold Gaunt.  To receive forfeiture alerts directly from Mr. Gaunt, e-mail ajgaunt@xmission.com

Topics:

1. Introduction

2. Equitable Sharing

3. How Initiative B Restricts Equitable Sharing

4. Most Critical Aspect of Sen. Buttars' Bill

5. What You Must Do

Additional Action Item from Accountability Utah:

1. Introduction

As noted in my previous alert this week, Senator D. Chris Buttars (Salt Lake) intends to advance legislation to destroy Initiative B (SB 175).  This initiative, passed by 69% of the vote in November 2000, instituted a broad range of protections for innocent property owners in Utah.  Prior to Initiative B, the police had virtually unlimited power to confiscate property from innocent people and ruin their lives.

Perhaps the most fundamental change brought by the initiative was ending "policing for profit".  Under this perversion, the police, prosecutors, and "confidential informants" could fund themselves from proceeds obtained from your confiscated property.

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2. Equitable Sharing

With a profit motive involved, the blindfold was removed from lady justice, and the rights of the innocent were sacrificed.  There were two ways that the lust for cash from innocent persons could be satisfied:  through operation of state courts, and through "equitable sharing" with the federal government.

It is the latter of the two mechanisms that is the most insidious and destructive to the rule of law.  The operation of equitable sharing begins with an officer of the state seizing property.  Once seized, the property is transferred to the federal government, where where tyrannical laws apply.  Under the tyranny of federal forfeiture, an owner must prove his innocence to have his property returned.  But this can only occur if the forfeiture occurs in a courtroom, because the law authorizes forfeiture to be performed by a bureaucrat.

Because the right to own property is raped by federal power, it is an "efficient" mechanism to accomplish the confiscation.  Once confiscation has occurred, the agency that "cooperated" with the federal police in transferring the seized property can acquire up to 80% of the proceeds from it.  These forfeiture proceeds can then be used and leveraged to obtain federal grants.

In summary, equitable sharing with the federal government offers state, county, and local police the following seduction:  1) An easy means to obtain money that can be used to purchase such items as "training", "equipment", overtime pay, and testimony from confidential informants, 2) independence from local authority, taxpayers, and voters that would otherwise be involved in funding the police and holding them accountable, and 3) the means to obtain federal grants that require matching funds from the police.
[Additional: See a previous chart created by Mr. Gaunt on equitable sharing.]

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3. How Initiative B Restricts Equitable Sharing

Because of the obvious danger posed by equitable sharing, Initiative B was written deliberately to end police financial incentives to participate in it.  The law enacted by the initiative makes it is illegal for property to be transferred to the federal government, unless a state court determines that the property owner's rights would not be violated by doing so.  For any property that is transferred, the police are prohibited from using any proceeds from it.  They are required to transfer them to the State Treasurer.

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4. Most Critical Aspect of Sen. Buttars' Bill

The draft bill being sponsored by Sen. Buttars eliminates the restrictions on the transfer of property of innocent persons to the federal government, and allows the police to fully profit from any proceeds that may result.  It is on this basis that I claim the bill effectively repeals the initiative.

Of course, the confiscators are not promoting their bill as a repeal of the initiative.  Instead, they have concocted a deceptive title for it (Protection of Private Lawfully Obtained Property ), are falsely claiming that opponents are supporting it, are stating that it is only a means for Utah to get federal money to which it is entititled, and focus on minor technical corrections to state forfeiture procedure which are superfluous to the repeal effected by the reauthorization of equitable sharing with the federal government.

Though your legislator may be fooled by the propaganda of the confiscation lobby, you don't have to.  I encourage you to read the draft copy of the bill.  It shows Sen. Lyle Hillyard as the sponsor, though he has passed it along to Sen. Buttars while he apparently continues to work the details behind the scenes.  The most critical portion is 24-1-15 (file page 14, bill page 16), Transfer and Sharing Procedures.  The addition of 2(d) and the revision of 3(a) in this section render the remainder of the initiative essentially worthless.

The official copy of the bill is not available, as the confiscators want to minimize your opportunity to effectively respond to their cruel and ruthless attack.  To the best of my current knowledge and understanding, it will be released as SB 175, available at that link.

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5. What You Must Do

To stop the horror of SB 175 (or whatever other form it may take), you must contact your State Senator now!  Tell your Senator the following:

1.  The bill is illegitimate as evidenced by its concealment from the public.  The initiative received full public disclosure and debate for months prior to its enactment, and any revision of it, to be legitimate, must undergo a similar process.

2.  The rights of Utah's property owners must not be traded away to satisfy the confiscation lobby's lust for money obtained through the injustice of federal statutes.

3.  Your Senator's vote will be a deciding factor in your vote this year and in the future.

4.  Forfeiture (with due process) is permitted by the initiative through state law.  Since the confiscation lobby claims they are very respectful of the rights of innocent people, there is no need to provide a mechanism for property to be transferred to the federal government.  If the confiscators have evidence to the appropriate standard, they can forfeit property without any changes to the law.

5.  You are angry that they have failed to inform and involve you (if so) to stop the wickedness of Sen. Hillyard, Sen. Buttars, Sen. Mansell, and any other Senators that are attempting to secretly collaborate with the confiscators to subvert or eliminate due process of law for property owners.

6.  If they are not aware of the effort to repeal Initiative B, why are they failing to represent you and be involved to protect your rights.

You may contact your Senator at 801-538-1035, or fax at 801-538-1878.  For Democratic Senators, 801-538-1406, and fax 801-538-1449.  See further contact information.
[Note from Accountability Utah: You may also visit our Elected Official Contact Information page.]

If you make contact with a Senator, I'm interested in the response that you receive.  Please e-mail me at ajgaunt@xmission.com. Thank you.

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Additional Action Item from Accountability Utah

Last year, over 100 citizens met in Senate Majority Whip John Valentine's district to demand that he withdraw a similar forfeiture bill (SB 31) also drafted in secret by General Shurtleff and the confiscation lobby.  Sen. Valentine surrendered, promised to drop his bill, and also promised to make sure the citizenry were involved in drafting any future amendments to Initiative B.

We recommend that you also contact Sen. Valentine and demand that he make good on his promises:

Sen. John Valentine (Republican)
Home: 801-224-1693
Work: 801-373-6345
Capitol: 801-538-1035, or fax at 801-538-1878
E-mail: jvalentine@utahsenate.org

YOU DON'T BREAK PROMISES TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS.

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If you have comments or suggestions, please email us at info@accountabilityutah.org.

 

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