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Arguments Against SB 175 S2

(Alert 2 for 2/25/04)

Summary: Read an excellent 1-page handout (in .pdf format) on some of the many problems with SB 175 S2, provided by Mr. Arnold Gaunt. Additional insights are provided below.
See another handout as well, "Forfeiture abuses do occur in Utah.

A caller confronted General Shurtleff on talk radio, stating that, "The whole idea of forfeitures is to make money for police departments." Shurtleff responded:

"Wrong... I flat out disagree with you. That is not the purpose of forfeitures to make money for police departments... The purpose of forfeiture and the purpose for every law enforcement I've spoken with is to take the proceeds of crime; take away the profit out of crime. That's the purpose and the basis for it."
(Source: Interview on Jim Dexter Show, KTKK AM 630, August 5, 2003)

That same day, on a different radio program, General Shurtleff stated this to the question of whether we really need the federal government coming in to prosecute Utah cases:

"We don't have funding enough... The problem is our task forces, they don't have the funding. They are not being funded appropriately by the legislature or county. The money has to come from the feds and we need that additional assistance."
(Source: Interview on Sheriff Richard Mack Show, KTKK AM 630, August 5, 2003)

Which is it? Is the goal of forfeiture to attack crime or to make money? Salt Lake County Attorney David Yocom seems to be more plain-spoken:

"Our agencies have nothing to gain by doing forfeitures. In fact there is a disincentive for doing them when you consider costs we will suffer and can no longer recoup under the law."
(Source: "Law makes forfeitures a hot potato," Kirsten Stewart, Salt Lake Tribune, July 4, 2003.)

Should police not respond to a homicide because they receive no financial reward?

Yocom is not alone in his assessment: "Clark Harms, deputy Salt Lake County attorney, said an added benefit to Valentine's bill is it will help cash-strapped law enforcement agencies hire more officers."
(Source: "Seizure Law Put in Play," Kirsten Stewart, Salt Lake Tribune, February 11, 2003)

And Senator Greg Bell stated in the senate hearing a couple weeks ago: "You don't expect them to do forfeitures if they don't get the money back, do you?"  Oh really? Does this mean that our law enforcement agencies have no incentive to pursue murder and rape investigations?

"Forfeiture is an important crime fighting tool, but must only occur within Constitutional limits.  While I oppose civil forfeiture, I support criminal forfeiture, once an individual has been found guilty." General Mark Shurtleff on his 2000 campaign literature.

Once in office, Shurtleff opposed Initiative B. When confronted recently on talk radio, he stated:

"People have jumped on me and said, 'Well you said during your campaign you supported only criminal asset forfeiture.' And my position has always been: In a pure philosophical sense, a pure constitutionally philosophical sense, that's what makes the most sense is to go strictly with the criminal asset forfeiture. But in the real world, I think a lot of people recognize& that we're going to include civil asset forfeiture." (Interview on Sheriff Richard Mack Show, KTKK AM 630, August 5, 2003)

And General Shurtleff's chief deputy Kirk Torgensen wrote:

"Forfeiture has been part of the law for centuries. There is nothing about it which is unconstitutional or lacking in due process." Kirk Torgensen, chief deputy to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
(Source: "Forfeiture law rightly denies criminals their ill-gotten gains," Kirk Torgensen, Salt Lake Tribune, July 6, 2003.)

Again, consider Title 18, Section 983, U.S. Code to which more innocent Utah citizens would be subjected to under SB 175 S2:

(d) Innocent Owner Defense.
(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.

Nothing lacking in due process?  To be assumed guilty in America and to be forced to attempt to prove one's innocence?

Citizens were not idiots when they passed Initiative B by 69 percent of Utah voters in 2000.


Download Fliers & Get More Information

You can view, download, and copy updated fliers against SB 175.  Visit our Volunteer Action Page and make your neighbors aware of the threat to their rights and community.

Note that the latest version SB 175 differs little from the first substitute or original bill. All versions trample on your rights by providing Utah police financial incentives to subject you to unjust federal confiscation statutes. Obtain more background information.


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


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