Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A must read post
Posted by Raznor

Pete Guither, guest-posting at Unclaimed Territory has an excellent post entitled Using the Drug "War" to Expand Government Power - which pretty much speaks for itself. It's hard to find a single excerpt that really sums up this post, but this part is especially egregious:

Forfeiture -- the seizure of the personal property of traitors or certain felons -- has its roots in English common law and was used to a limited degree in the American colonies. Our Founders, however, despised it, and in 1790 the very first Congress abolished forfeiture. That repeal held for 180 years, until 1970 and Richard Nixon's drug war push.

The new federal asset forfeiture law is civil, not criminal, and unlike the English common law, which required conviction prior to seizure, American forfeiture dispenses with the need for proving the property owner guilty of anything. All that is necessary is for the state to claim a connection between the thing seized and drugs, whereupon the government may confiscate the property. It is then up to the owner to prove (at their own expense, hiring a lawyer & etc.) that the property is "innocent." Critically, the proceeds from the seizures go into the budget of the state or federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors offices, creating a horrible incentive for officers to go after seizures solely for the purpose of enriching their units with a swell new fleet of fully loaded police cruisers, or lovely new desks for the DAs.

I highly recommend you read the rest.


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