What Will Trump’s Solutions Be to End the ‘American Carnage?’
This year, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
With the overwhelming number of issues coming out of the White House and Congress, it is difficult to keep track of all of them, including one issue that Trump touted throughout his campaign – “law and order.”
During his speech at last year’s Republican convention and his speech at the Inauguration, Trump harped on what he referred to as the “American carnage,” painting a picture of a country drowning in waves of crime and disorder, overrun by gangs, and killers, and drug dealers.
Trump’s plans to eradicate this American carnage, like many of his other ideas that have been rolled out lately, there appears to be a major conflict between his solutions and our constitutional rights.
We got a glimpse of this last week when Trump hosted a delegation of county sheriffs from around the country.
During a televised exchange with the sheriffs, Trump inquired what they thought the country needed to do in order to stop crime. One Texas sheriff spoke up, complaining about the attempt at asset forfeiture reform one state representative was pushing.
Asset forfeiture basically gives prosecutors and police the ability to take a person’s home, possessions, and money without even charging them with a crime if they think those items have been accumulated by illegal means.
Unlike the criminal justice system, which puts the burden of proof on the prosecutor to prove the defendant is guilty of a crime, with asset forfeiture, the burden of proof is on the person whose property has been seized to prove that it was gained legally.
Unfortunately, in many jurisdictions, the amount of asset forfeiture that takes place by law enforcement has gotten completely out of control. Last year, the Washington Post reported on the problem and cited statistics which said that Americans lost more property to asset forfeiture by police than they did to burglary.
Because of the potential abuses which may be occurring, many lawmakers across the country are attempting to introduce asset forfeiture reforms, something that many law enforcement officers are unhappy with.
In Texas, two state representatives have introduced bills which would require that a person would need to be convicted of drug-related charges before their property could be seized by law enforcement. It was this reform that the Texas sheriff was complaining about to Trump last week.
When the exchange between the president and the sheriff was aired and written about on multiple news media platforms across the country, many Americans found Trump’s response to the sheriff disturbing.
After the sheriff explained what the state lawmaker wanted to do, Trump responded, “Who is the state senator? Do you want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career.”
Attorney Stephen Hamilton commented, “The problem is that to be guilty of the criminal case, the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In this civil taking area, there is simply an assumption that the property is the government’s for the taking. It is imperative that honest, hard-working citizens don’t have their money or property stolen by the government.”