Trump DOJ Overrules States on Civil Asset Forfeiture

Photo by Gage Skidmore

In recent months, civil asset forfeiture has become a hot topic in Texas. State Senator Konni Burton has been a fierce opponent of the practice. However, in a move that is drawing harsh criticism, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has relaxed restrictions on this practice, stating the federal program supersedes state laws.

Photo by Ryan J. Reilly

What is Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF)?

CAF is also known as the “Asset Forfeiture Program, (AFP).” According to an article from the Daily Wire, current Trump administration policy regarding its application allows “law enforcement to confiscate private property from American citizens under the rubric of the property being supposedly connected to a crime, even if that citizen has not been charged with a crime.” Effectively this means if you have $5,000 in your pocket and a cop finds it, then he can take it from you on the claim that you are a drug dealer or thief. He does not need to open a case nor arrest or charge you. Then, you have to prove that you came by the cash honestly to get it back.

Texans Fight CAF

Sen Burton speaking
Photo from Sen. Burton’s official page

Konnie Burton, the Colleyville Senator who has fought hard against the practice of CAF, filed a bill in December (SB380) that would alter language in the “Forfeiture of Contraband” chapter and strengthen citizen protections from abuse of the policy. Sen. Burton’s bill is currently stalled.


In response to AG Session, Sen. Burton states:

“I am extremely disappointed in the decision…to rescind certain policies…which limited the federal scope and use of civil asset forfeiture… [AG Sessions] is once again allowing law enforcement to potentially circumvent stricter state forfeiture laws and utilize weaker federal laws at the expense of the rights of the individual.”

How the AFP works

Historically, local law enforcement would seize money or property from a citizen based on suspicion of being connected to a crime. Charges did not have to be filed against the citizen. The seized property goes to the department who then uses the money taken or received from sale of the property to buy items such as vests, guns, cars, etc. Perhaps you have seen written on a police car “This vehicle purchased with money seized from drug dealers.”

Asset forfeiture was originally intended for use against cartels. As with most Constitutionally-questionable-but-has-good-intentions slippery slopes, it evolved into smaller claims that were too costly for the average individual to fight. Pennies turn into dollars once they pile on. But when some states began to crack down on the abusive behavior,  local authorities began involving the Feds, who would allow them to “circumvent” the state, and keep up to “80 percent of assets they seize.”

Your Rights

Most people are familiar with the 4th Amendment that protects Americans from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Even closer to home,  Article 1, Section 9 of  the Texas Constitution protects us “from all unreasonable seizures or searches, and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without describing them as near as may be, nor without probable cause…”

How CAF withstands the test against the US and Texas Bill of Rights is a mystery. Couple the AFP with the Bureau of Land Management‘s nasty habit of seizing property and we have a real crisis regarding our constitutionally protected rights.


Join the Texas Nationalist Movement

President Trump‘s administration has done a some things that many Texans can agree with. Nonetheless, his administration’s CAF pursuit is another bucket of water in a sinking ship. Liberty is not given; it is taken. Either the government will take it from you or you will take it from the government. It is time for Texans to perform their own asset seizure- independence. While Texas is under the federal yoke, the abuse will continue and the disregard of laws that were supposed to be chiseled in stone will remain guidelines to be disregarded by whoever holds the reigns of federal power.


When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

Texas Declaration of Independence, March 2, 1836

About Jesse Newberry 16 Articles

Native Texan raised in NE Texas. Husband. Father of six.

  • Garrett Elliott

  • Tony Scott

  • Sessions is a douche

  • Left or Right Washington DC is not our Allie..

  • “When tyrants ask you to yield one jot of your liberty, and you consent thereto, it is the first link forged in the chain that will eventually hold you in bondage.”
    -Sam Houston, defending the Bill Of Rights

  • “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.” –Thomas Jefferson to
    Charles Hammond, 1821.
    “It is a singular phenomenon that while our State governments are the very best in the world, without exception or comparison, our General Government has, in the rapid course of nine or ten years, become more arbitrary and has swallowed more of the public liberty than even that of England.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798
    “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” -James Madison
    “When the representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their hands, then indeed their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the state, and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution.” Thomas Jefferson, 1774
    “A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever” – John Adams .
    “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation… to a continuance in union… I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate.’
    –Thomas Jefferson
    ” Texas will again lift it’s head and stand among the nations. It ought to do so, for no country upon the globe can compare with it in natural advantages.”- Sam Houston




  • The doj can’t over rule a state. States have sovereignty the federal government answers to the states. Stop with the cheap b.s. stories and tell the whole truth. Plus if we the people allow this to continue then we will have our bank account taken for a traffic ticket.

    • Did you even read the story? It’s heavily sourced. Yes, the states are sovereign, but there is agreement on the part of judges and politicians to ignore and subvert that. You may not like the use of “overrule.” Perhaps you know a better word to describe DOJ telling states “We are going to ignore your laws & continue CAF in your state.” I don’t. THAT is why Texian Partisan does these stories. Better to be informed than pretend it’s not happening.

    • Yes i read the story plus article 9 and 4 of the Constitution.

    • Great. I’m glad. Apparently the Feds can’t. But you called “b.s.” So far you haven’t backed that up. That’s unfair to the author, who did cite 4a of COTUS and Art. 1 Sec. 9 of COT in his article. Disagree, but don’t accuse ppl of lying without evidence.

    • ThunderStruck what is your solution to the problem? I’m open to new ideas. Federal overeach has far exceeded the Constitution for a long time.

    • I agree.

    • You mean like 850$ for texting behind the wheel in new york

    • Jeff Thah that is just another form of taxing people it’s all about money.

  • Disappointed by this.

  • You didn’t think bush was anything but a one worlder did you? Roberts and Alito are federalists. And there is a silver lining in ca. Telling the feds to piss off on sanctuary cities. The feds are being stood up to by a state. Not the issue I would chose, but showing some backbone.

  • “There are two types of forfeiture (confiscation) cases, criminal and civil. Approximately half of all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil, although many of those are filed in parallel to a related criminal case.[citation needed] In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third-party claimant. The burden is on the Government to establish that the property is subject to forfeiture by a “preponderance of the evidence.” If it is successful, the owner may yet prevail by establishing an “innocent owner” defense.

    “Federal civil forfeiture cases usually start with a seizure of property followed by the mailing of a notice of seizure from the seizing agency (generally the DEA or FBI) to the owner. The owner then has 35 days to file a claim with the seizing agency. The owner must file this claim to later protect his property in court. Once the claim is filed with the agency, the U.S. Attorney has 90 days to review the claim and to file a civil complaint in U.S. District Court. The owner then has 35 days to file a judicial claim in court asserting his ownership interest. Within 21 days of filing the judicial claim, the owner must also file an answer denying the allegations in the complaint. Once done, the forfeiture case is fully litigated in court.[21]

    “In civil cases, the owner need not be judged guilty of any crime; it is possible for the Government to prevail by proving that someone other than the owner used the property to commit a crime (this claim seems outdated and as such would be contradicted by the “innocent owner” defense).[citation needed] In contrast, criminal forfeiture is usually carried out in a sentence following a conviction and is a punitive act against the offender.”

  • This is precisely the kind of bullshit that makes states want to push back from the table and announce that, “Eh…we’ll just take care of ourselves.”

    • Washington likes to pretend that we can’t become independent, but it forgets: the states created Washington, not the other way around.

      • mikrat

        98% of the sheeple have no idea what you just wrote means. and that includes those on both sides – “R’s and “D’s”

  • mikrat

    The only way the Feds can continue this theft is by the complete compliance of the STATE, County and City governments – That means your Governor, State Prosecutor, Mayor, the non-constitutional City Police Chiefs, and those ever constitution violating Sheriffs.

    They are all in on the theft and gains from it.

    And all those Cops that willfully do this do it with joy knowing they will gain some toys for themselves and/or the dept.