As the famous saying goes, you can beat the rap but you can’t beat the ride. The war on unpatentable drugs has given law enforcement almost completely unchecked powers when it comes to stealing your shit and holding you in a cage. Civil forfeiture laws, for example, grant law enforcement the power to literally take your stuff and they only have to return it if you can prove that it wasn’t tied to a drug crime in any way (and proving a negative is very difficult). Likewise law enforcement officers can put you in a cage if you are in possession of anything that looks like it could be a verboten drug. While you may eventually beat the charge after lab analysis has been performed on whatever you were carrying you will have still wasted months of your life in a cage:
MANKATO, Minn. — A Mankato man was jailed for months while he waited for the state crime lab to process suspected drugs that turned out to be vitamins.
Joseph Burrell was arrested in November and charged with two felony counts of drug possession. His bail was set at $250,000. The 31-year-old Burrell says he’s not happy it took so long for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to process the evidence.
In all likelihood Mr. Burrell will receive no compensation for being unlawfully detained for months. This is because the state doesn’t have to compensate you when it makes a mistake, you only have to compensate it when you make a mistake.