Friday, May 28, 2010

Government Confiscates 19 Acres of Land from Man Convicted of Child Porn

Sentencing Law & Policy: Eighth Circuit affirms big real property forfeiture for child porn offense.

I wonder if any of the usual suspects who get riled up about property rights will have any complaints about the intriguing forfeiture ruling from the Eighth Circuit today in US v. Hull, No. 08-4015 (8th Cir. May 26, 2010) (available here). Here is how the decision in Hull starts:

Larry Richard Hull was convicted of two counts of distribution of child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(1). The district court ordered forfeiture of Hull’s real property, which consisted of approximately nineteen acres in rural Iowa, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2253(a)(3). Hull appeals the forfeiture order, contending that the evidence was insufficient to support forfeiture of the property under § 2253(a)(3). He also asserts that the district court erred by failing to make adequate findings of fact to determine whether forfeiture was a grossly disproportionate penalty in violation of the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. We affirm.

Anyone concerned with U.S. property rights and the government's growing power to confiscate property from citizens should be outraged by this ruling.