Sunday, September 07, 2014

Civil asset forfeiture goes on, and it isn't limited to drug money


The Washington Post has a major front page headline and story in the paper Sunday September 7, 2014 about “stop and seizure” by police, and civil asset forfeiture, link here.  The focus of this story is the seizure of cash from motorists in routine traffic stops. In one case, cash from a church offering was seized.  
   
As a constitutional matter, apparently people don’t have an automatic right to claim back their property under due process, because it is defined as a civil matter.
  
This was a big talking point by the Libertarian Party back in the late 1990s when I was in Minnesota and networked with the LPMN. Typically, the seizures have occurred most often in conjunction with drug investigations.
  
However, another possible danger could be seizure of a person’s information resources – personal computers, electronics, data storage, even cloud data (given the recent fiasco).  This is a kind of danger that could set someone up to be framed, as for child pornography.  The person doesn’t seem to have a constitutional guarantee that it would be returned (or to operate with “asymmetry” or without gatekeepers). One weak point could be home routers.  This could also happen when a computer is repaired. This subject is serious and could deserve another Post, New York Times, CNN or Vox Media report. 
  
  
Libertarian reporter John Stossel reports above on “policing for profit”.
   

I rarely get stopped.  The biggest problem is missing signs (No Turn on Red, which can be hard to see in Arlington), or in a few communities, expressway-style divided streets with low traffic that have low speed limits.   

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