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I'm sure the old man is a direct threat to national security. Oh wait. What? He wasn't arrested? No charges filed? They think he may obtained some of his relics illegally so they confiscated them all so they can catalog them all and find out?

Seems legit.
 

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The FBI and its partners might have a daunting task determining the origins and provenance of all of the items, Thom predicted.
"It may be 30 years — or never — before they have it all cataloged."
Apparently the FBI has no regard for the Law!

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
 

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I'm sure the old man is a direct threat to national security. Oh wait. What? He wasn't arrested? No charges filed? They think he may obtained some of his relics illegally so they confiscated them all so they can catalog them all and find out?

Seems legit.
Of course they also pointed out that it would take years to catalog them, And how old id this guy? 91! It just goes to show if your a small fish who happens to by chance to acquire wealth the gooberment will come up with a way to "legally" seize it.
 

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Well.... Now i see why we need DHS. The FBI is way to busy looking through attics, basements and underwear drawers of old wealthy collectors to be bothered with real criminals.
 

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If I may temper the outrage in this case a little, I just did a little web research. I seem to recall that this issue (collecting Native American artifacts) came up when we had a drought around here, uncovering lands normally under water.
Before you collect Native American artifacts you have to be aware of many state and federal laws, particularly regarding grave goods. If you acquire an artifact, even unknowingly, that was obtained in violation of those laws it is subject to seizure. And the FBI agent in charge said in CBS coverage of this "We know that some of the items were acquired improperly". I think that is what set this off.

And before anyone gets too angry about the laws, which may admittedly be complicated and maybe even clumsy, remember what they seek to stop: grave robbery.
 

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And to be clear, when he says "We know that some of the items were acquired improperly" that does not necessarily mean that the old man did something wrong, but that possibly whoever he bought it from did. But that still does not allow one to keep it. Suppose your guns were stolen and someone bought them from the thief believing they were legit. If the police located them, shouldn't you get them back?
 

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Discussion Starter #9

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Well, that is another danger of a private collection of this kind of thing: the legally required documentation is really extensive. And the law as written allows for stewardship by the government while the facts are sorted out.

Look, all I am saying is that you have to know what you are doing legally when you collect stuff like this. That is why museums have entire teams devoted to risk assessment and cataloging.

You are talking about a very particular area of law where there are a lot of parties at the table, and you would do well to know that law and its standards intricately.

One reason I don't collect native american artifacts (aside from lack of interest) is that I know I don't know enough legally to do so.

And in fact the police might temporarily seize an entire gun collection for review if there was reasonable suspicion its provenance was not clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
"particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized"

Lots of people like playing fast and loose with the constitution. I guess i don't.
 

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They probably did describe them: "Native American artifacts."

Look, I believe as much as you do in an informed citizenry watching the behavior of parties like the FBI.

But in this case I think your quarrel is with Federal law, and not the FBI.

If your position is correct, then the old man, or his estate, will beat the Feds on this in court.

But the whole point here is that the legal basis that it is his property to begin with is what is in question here.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Again, some like it fast and loose. That is like going in to someones home with a warrant for 'communications'. And then taking your refrigerator with magnetic letters on in.

My quarrel is obviously with the 'system' not any particular part of it. All of it.
 

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But the whole point here is that the legal basis that it is his property to begin with is what is in question here.
So property handed down from generation to generation that has never been reported as stolen, must be authenticated as legitimately procured by process of government deductive speculation. In other words, the burden of proof falls on the property owner to provide a chain of custody for his possessions! It is just plain ridiculous.
 

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This particular property was not handed down from generation to generation. He largely collected it and over an era where Federal law evolved (complicating the provenance issue). You are not protected by the constitution from retroactive changes to the law viz property in terms of non-punitive seizure. The only constitutional question would be over a seizure of property or liberty as punishment. (Then the issue becomes ex post facto law.) I suspect that is one reason the Feds are bending over backwards to note that he has not been charged.

The question here is a standard of proof. With this type of property, that standard is high.

There are all kinds of gradients to standards of proof in law (that is why O.J. was acquited of killing his wife and Ron Goldman in a criminal trial, but then found liable in a civil trial).
 

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The fact is, unfortunately, that the constitution does not prohibit the passage of laws that allow for non-punitive seizure of previously legally held property, only the punitive seizure of property.

Let me be clear, I don't like the idea any more than you do. But I am not sure the issue is playing fast and loose with the constitution: the constitution does not protect non punitive ex-post facto seizures. Should it? Maybe so. But it doesn't.

In practice there are usually grandfather clauses, but that is about political expediency rather than a constitutional requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Then explain the difference you perceive.

4.The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
5.No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

I must just be simple minded. I missed the entire part about punishment in there. Or where a justification for the actions at issue are. Methinks your head is too far in the law books.
 

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4.The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
5.No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.



I must just be simple minded. I missed the entire part about punishment in there. Or where a justification for the actions at issue are. Methinks your head is too far in the law books.
Oh boy.
OK:
1. the first part is the fourth amendment, which first generally deals with criminal matters and, second, the operative term there is "unreasonable" which is something that is a matter of legislation tempered by judicial review. It is not an absolute standard (hence my comment about challenging the Feds in court). You have presented no evidence that a standard has per se been violated in this case. As for specificity of things to be seized, that goes back to a famous old English case (Entick v. Carrington) but the key in that case was that some part of Entick's property was criminal.
2. The second is taken from the fifth amendment, nearly all of which has also been assumed to speak to criminal matters (though the last part is basically the takings clause, which is not usually actually approached in the criminal context).

So I think where are you wrong is that:
1. you think the fourth amendment is an absolute beyond legislative or judicial discretion when it is not in fact so: it hinges on the word "unreasonable", which is subjective and subject to legislative and judicial review. Broadness is also subjective.
2. You invoke criminal protections to what might not be in essence a criminal case.I suspect that is why the Feds have bent over backwards to say that no charges have been filed (because then some of the things you invoke would become operative). The issue here is whether that is his property under law. If it was not his property under law then this is not a seizure per se for constitutional purposes.
 
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