Stop Asset Forfeiture
Home Up


by Mark Gibb

Hello, my name is Mark Gibb and I am from Titusville. Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today.

I come here to speak about the importance of restraining government power and to remind us not to take our liberties for granted.

In particular, I want to speak about asset forfeiture. I can think of nothing that flies more in the face of the liberties we hold dear than the seizing of someone's personal property by the government. That is why both the Federal Constitution and our State Constitution have due process clauses to protect us from government. Sadly, over-zealous prosecutors are trying to rake in the dough for their bureaucracies by weakening due process. They operate on the fantastical notion that property can be guilty of a crime. The Libertarian Party reports that since 1985, 200,000 Americans have had property seized by federal, state and local governments. In 80% of these cases, the government filed no criminal charges against the owner. This is obviously nonsense and we should stop it if we value a free society. It will stop if we add the following sentence to the due process clause: "Private property may be forfeited only after felony conviction of, and exhaustion of appeals by, the property owner."

Now I wish to present a personal plea as a young man with his first child on the way. Do not steal away my child's future to decide things for herself, and to pursue happiness in freedom. Please do not look first to the government to solve problems. The idea that government can do good is what causes it to grow without bound. What this accomplishes is the rise of an all-encompassing state that protects us from ourselves and steals wealth and energy out of society. Alexis De Tocqueville knew this could happen when he wrote:

"It (the government) covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

This does not have to happen if we start to restrain government again the way our Founding Fathers envisioned. I urge you to give full consideration to all 12 amendments proposed by the Constitutional Liberty Coalition.

Thank you.


This page was last updated 07/02/00 01:50 PM