Here in Minnesota there is a rather heated political debate brewing. No, I’m not talking about the debate over whether or not cannabis should be legalized but this other debate does tie into it. The big debate is whether or not the cops have to find your guilty before keeping your stuff:
A move that would bar cops from keeping property and cash seized in drug cases when there is no criminal conviction is the flash point of a debate between law enforcement and civil liberties advocates that is heading to the Legislature as soon as next week.
Backers say the state’s civil forfeiture laws are long overdue for a little due process. The laws have become a growing source of cash for law enforcement agencies and were famously abused by the now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force, which paid out $840,000 in settlements to victims who had their property illegally seized.
Under current law, police or sheriffs can keep property, vehicles and cash seized in drug cases or drive-by shootings — regardless of the outcome of the criminal case.
I find it funny that this is even a debate. The fact that the police are opposing reforms to civil forfeiture laws is telling. If the job of the police was to uphold law and order they would be all for reforms that prevent the state from stealing property from the innocent. But the police want to keep the laws as is because their primary duty isn’t to uphold law and order; it’s to expropriate wealth from the people for the state. The police really are a gang of thieves as evident by their opposition to require due process before property is stolen.
Civil forfeiture laws are one of the reasons I laugh whenever somebody says that the United States is a nation of laws and our legal system is based on due process. Perhaps that was true at one time but it certainly isn’t true today. The war on unpatentable drugs has made sure whatever due process that may have existed in the United States legal system is now dead and buried.