Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Confiscating Your Property

 by John Stossel

"In America, we're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Life, liberty and property can't be taken from you unless you're convicted of a crime.

Your life and liberty may still be safe, but have you ever gone to a government surplus auction? Consumer reporters like me tell people, correctly, that they are great places to find bargains. People can buy bikes for $10, cars for $500.

But where did the government get that stuff? 

Some is abandoned property.

But some I would just call loot. The cops grabbed it.

Zaher El-Ali has repaired and sold cars in Houston for 30 years. One day, he sold a truck to a man on credit. Ali was holding the title to the car until he was paid, but before he got his money the buyer was arrested for drunk driving. The cops then seized Ali's truck and kept it, planning to sell it.

Ali can't believe it

"I own that truck. That truck done nothing."

The police say they can keep it under forfeiture law because the person driving the car that day broke the law. It doesn't matter that the driver wasn't the owner. It's as if the truck committed the crime.

"I have never seen a truck drive," Ali said. I don't think it's the fault of the truck. And they know better."

Something has gone wrong when the police can seize the property of innocent people.

"Under this bizarre legal fiction called civil forfeiture, the government can take your property, including your home, your car, your cash, regardless of whether or not you are convicted of a crime. It's led to horrible abuses," says Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice, the libertarian law firm."

Ah yes; abuse thy name is law enforcement. 

What many of us have known for a while is the fact that many practitioners of modern LE are nothing more than fancy-uniformed thugs with a license to steal. From speed traps to sobriety checkpoints to no-knock search warrants, the constabulary is assuming an us-versus-them mentality, and to hell with the oaths they took to defend the Constitution.

Because make no mistake; none of the above could possibly happen without the WILLING assistance of killers for hire. Your property could not be "legally" forfeited, your automobile could not be speed-taxed, and after your front door was mistakenly knocked from its hinges by an errant address snafu you'd be able to have it replaced without petitioning the White House itself.

And this is part of what drives me crazy about the fuss made over the new immigration law in Arizona. For no GENUINE probable cause, cops can decide to cavity search each and every last one of us with nothing more than a whim to guide them. ALL patriotic American citizens are ALWAYS a cop's bad hair day away from being stolen from, beaten, humiliated, and even downright murdered

But the illegal spanish-speakers want a free ride after committing serious crimes.

And some folks agree with all that.


No comments: