SB 175 S2 (Buttars)
Passed Senate, Awaiting Action in House!
provided by Arnold Gaunt)
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Takes Action Against Your Right to Own Property
2. SB 175
Subjects You to Unjust Federal Confiscation Statutes
3. Will the
Utah House Defeat 2nd Substitute SB 175?
4. Action You
1. Senate Takes Action Against Your
Right to Own Property
On Thursday, February 19, the
Second Substitute S.B. 175 (read it in
.pdf format as well) by a vote of 18-11. The 2nd
Substitute differs little from the 1st Substitute and original
version. All versions trample on your rights by providing Utah
police financial incentives to subject you to unjust federal
Your calls and contacts with
Senators helped to change some votes in the Senate.
Specifically, the following co-sponsors of S.B. 175 voted no
on the third reading:
Leonard Blackham, Thomas
Hatch, Ed Mayne, Dave Thomas
In addition, Sen. Hellewell
voted no on the third reading, after having voted yes on the
second reading of the bill.
Here are the 18 Senators that
have attacked your right to own property:
Allen, Arent, Bell, Bramble,
Buttars, Davis, Dmitrich, Eastman, Evans, B., Evans, J.,
Hale, Hickman, Hillyard, Julander, Killpack, Knudson,
Here are the 11 Senators who
opposed S.B. 175 and its attacks on your rights:
Blackham, Gladwell, Hatch,
Hellewell, Jenkins, Mayne, Stephenson, Thomas, Valentine,
2. SB 175 Subjects You to Unjust
Federal Confiscation Statutes
To protect you from unjust
federal confiscation statutes, Initiative B (Forfeiture
Reform) did two things:
1) Severely restricted
transfer of seized property to the federal government, and
2) prohibited Utah police
agencies from receiving proceeds from federal forfeitures.
Unfortunately, a loophole exists
with regard to the restrictions on transferring seized
property. If a Utah police agency or task force participates
in a joint investigation with federal police, they are
eligible under federal “equitable sharing” guidelines to
receive up to 80% of the proceeds from forfeited property.
Therefore, Utah police do not
seize property anymore, but facilitate the federal government
to directly perform the seizure and forfeiture. The transfer
restrictions in the Initiative do not address this scenario.
For their “services”, the police become eligible to receive a
kickback as previously described.
However, the current state law
does not allow the police to keep forfeiture revenue from the
federal government. Because of this, the U.S. Department of
Justice, in collaboration with Attorney General Mark Shurtleff,
is allegedly holding several million dollars of confiscation
proceeds to in effect politically extort/bribe the state
legislature to repeal the “policing for profit” restrictions
now in effect.
The federal confiscation
Title 18, Section 983, U.S. Code) destroy due process of
law through the following mechanisms:
The owner is presumed to be
The owner must prove his
innocence to have his property returned
Forfeiture is authorized based
on the alleged conduct of the property, not its owner
An owner who successfully
proves his innocence does not receive attorneys fees and
costs, making it unreasonable for him to contest forfeiture
of property valued less than the expense of legal defense
A forfeiture is allowed to be
disproportional to the alleged wrongdoing (owner must prove
forfeiture is grossly disproportional)
Forfeitures can be performed
administratively, instead of in a court
The seizing agency can receive
up to 80% of the net proceeds, depriving property owners of
their justified expectation of fair and impartial justice
note: Pay particular attention to the paragraph on
"innocent owner defense":
(d) Innocent Owner
(1) An innocent owner's interest in property shall not be
forfeited under any civil forfeiture statute. The claimant
shall have the burden of proving that the claimant is an
innocent owner by a preponderance of the evidence
The claimant is the
defendant, i.e. you. Good luck proving your innocence!]
3. Will the Utah House Defeat 2nd Substitute SB 175?
The House Rules Committee now
has control of the bill. The appropriate course of action for
the Rules Committee to take is to hold the bill until the
legislative session has concluded. It is not possible, given
the limited time remaining, to effectively undertake
amendments addressing the injustices and subversions in 2nd
Sub. S.B. 175.
Speaker Marty Stephens has
appointed every House Committee Chairman and Committee member.
He is directly responsible and accountable for the priority
and flow of 2nd Sub. S.B. 175 through the House. As the leader
of the House Republican Caucus, Speaker Stephens should be
using his position to influence the Rules Committee and to
expose the danger to innocent property owners posed by the
4. Action You Must Take
It is imperative that you make
contact with Speaker Stephens and your Representative. With
respect to Speaker Stephens, insist that he use the power of
his position to stop 2nd Substitute S.B. 175 by influencing
the House Rules Committee to hold the bill, and to inform and
persuade the House Republican Caucus to a position of
opposition. Tell Speaker Stephens that his performance on S.B.
175 will be an important factor in determining your vote for
Governor in 2004.
You may reach House members at
801-538-1029, or fax 801-538-1908. Democrat House members may
be contacted at 801-538-9505, or fax 801-538-1016.
Obtain additional contact information at the house Web site.
Accountability Utah note:
Find your representative or obtain additional contact information.
Arnold J. Gaunt
Note from Accountability
Utah: For more information, see the
Property Rights section of our Issues & Alerts page.
Also, you can help pass out fliers
in your neighborhood.
If you have comments or suggestions, please
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.