“‘Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. ‘The idea of having the sentence first!’” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, 1865.

“The government has seized close to $7 million in assets as part of the investigation, including six Ferraris, two Rolls-Royces, one Cobra, four vehicles, $1.2 million in jewelry, and $3 million in bank accounts. Following arraignment on Friday, all seven defendants were released after posting $10,000 cash each for bail.”

What’s happened with the idea of innocent until proven guilty? How does it happen in the United States that the government “seized close to $7 million” before a trial? Even if the evidence is so clear and compelling that the government knows the outcome of the trial will be a guilty verdict and that a judge will order payment of fines and penalties, where does the power; the authority; the justification for the use of force come from to take something to which the government has no title and of course “the government” should not want to own six Ferraris and two Rolls-Royces?

It’s not in the Constitution, the power to take property, – except for Eminent Domain. Before property can be seized the accused must be given the opportunity to pay the fines and penalties but before that, they must know the amounts they must pay and before that they must be provided a trial according to the Sixth Amendment to the Federal Constitution.

Suppose the accused would rather sell the furniture including the art on the walls instead of selling the Rollers? Or, in the alternative a suppose a relative or a friend decides to step up and pay the fines? Suppose the governor commutes the sentence entirely like President Bill Clinton did for Marc Rich? Clinton pardoned 450 people. Maybe President Obama will pardon Claire Risoldi and how long will it take for whatever agency that took the Ferrari’s to return them?

In the old days, before the Constitution was ignored people had a right to a trial before sentence. Even Alice in Wonderland knew that in 1865.

If you’re OK with the seizures you are in the wrong country.

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