The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states quite clearly that , "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."
However, in 2014, for the first time ever, law enforcement officers (Government) STOLE more property from American citizens than criminals. I know the distinction between the two is a hair thin line, but this theft by government of American assets is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment.
The government uses a Asset forfeiture or asset seizure is a form of confiscation of assets by the state. It typically applies to the alleged proceeds or instruments of crime. This applies, but is not limited, to terrorist activities, drug related crimes, and other criminal and even civil offenses.
So pretty much anything the government or police agencies dreams up is used as an excuse to illegally steal from the American people. The way the government gets around the 4th Amendment is bureaucracy on steroids. The mind mindbogglingly complicated procedures, red tape, and often, outright denial of the victims 4th Amendment rights; often wear the victim down so that they simply give in to financial rape. Asset forfeiture violates so many civil liberty issues that the practice should be illegal. However, since the police agencies, the US government, and the courts each get a piece of the stolen assets, civil liberties are trampled and justice is thrown out the window.
Police Officers can seize cash, vehicles, property from people without convicting or even charging them with a crime. By not charging them with a crime the courts are taken out of the equation. Make no mistake, this is theft by the government. It is a controversial practice known as civil asset forfeiture. Last year, according to the Institute for Justice, the Treasury and Justice departments deposited more than $5 BILLION into their respective asset forfeiture funds. That's a lot of new cars, New guns, combat vehicles, and even big screen T.V.'s for the officers break rooms.
Even, if by a miracle, you are able to get a court to admit that the police officer or governmental agency was wrong in their theft of your property, you still will not receive all of your money or property back. Because the court had to go through the procedure of returning your property the court often takes 30-50 percent of the value of the property for court costs and court fees. Often, after a governmental agency or Police officer seizes your property they will offer, up front, to return your property, cash, etc minus a 40-50 percent fee. So, even if the government is fully aware that it knowingly seized your assets illegally, they are still going to profit from their mistake. This allows police and governmental agencies to continue to knowingly profit from illegal practices which would land any average American in jail for felony theft.
An even more onerous fact is that the $5 BILLION seized by the Federal government don't bring to light how much property and cash is seized by state and local police departments each year. Data for all 50 states is unavailable because the state and local police departments do NOT want an HONEST accounting of just how much graft they are stealing form the American people. The closet numerical data to be found is by the Institute of Justice which stated that the total asset forfeiture haul for only 14 states was a Quarter of a BILLION dollars in 2013 alone!
The grand 50-state total would probably be in the multiple BILLIONS. So, the lean number stolen from the American people by theft and violation of the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution is somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 BILLION dollars annually.