Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Paul Jacobs on Not Robbed Until Proven Guilty

Paul Jacobs writes about an abuse where the police will take property, but sometimes never file charges. Not Robbed Until Proven Guilty starts with:

You are “innocent until proven guilty” in America, with one big exception: Under civil forfeiture laws, police don’t have to prove that a crime has actually been committed in order to seize your property. And once your boat or car is stolen by your government, the burden falls to you to prove your stuff is innocent.
Police departments are getting rich from the loot they seize from folks never convicted of a crime. As the Institute for Justice argues, civil forfeiture laws provide an ugly incentive for police “to enforce the laws in ways designed to maximize forfeiture income rather than to minimize crime.”
Now a challenge has reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Alvarez v. Smith concerns six people whose property was seized by Chicago police, though three of them were never charged with a crime.
The Institute for Justice, the Cato Institute, the ACLU and the Reason Foundation have filed amicus briefs arguing that due process was denied.


You know this is a serious problem when the Cato Institute and the ACLU are on the same side.

I hope the Surpreme Court rules agains the Chicago police.

Technorati tags: forfeiture, laws

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