A Blindfolded Justice Gropes for Purpose

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A Blindfolded Justice Gropes for Purpose

by Leon Felkins

Maybe Justice needs to take her blindfold off as she seems to be confused over the purpose of seizing private assets. In my research for a recent essay, House Arrest, I found several papers that made it clear that inanimate objects are sometimes arrested and seized by the government so that they could be punished, or, at least, taken out of use for illegal purposes. While the exercise of this concept trounces all over the Constitutionally guaranteed rights, at least the stated purpose has some merit.

But when I read the news reports, I get a different drift. It is almost as if the real purpose is simply for profit or to acquire goods. Take a look at the following quotes and see if you agree.

Agents acquire record number of vehicles, guns in '97, February 15, 1998, StandardNET, Ogden UT

"We don't target anyone because they have assets we want. We target anyone, regardless of the quantity, if it so happens those assets have been acquired through the profits of selling drugs or if they've been used to assist in anyway," Sgt. Tony Huemiller said.

But then...

"If the vehicle used in the transport of drugs is owned by someone other than the defendant who had no knowledge of the crime, the vehicle is released.
Other times, the strike force declines to seek forfeiture because there is more money owed on a car than it's worth.

Wait a minute! I'm getting confused. Maybe another newspaper article will make it clearer:

"Car impoundment law may get tune-up", Associated Press, March 29, 1998

RALEIGH -- State education officials are putting the finishing touches on recommended changes to a new state law that takes cars away from drunken drivers and gives them to schools.

Under the law, school systems receive cars seized from people caught driving drunk on a revoked license. Once those people are convicted, schools can keep or sell the cars.

But since the law took effect Dec. 1, school systems across the state have spent thousands of dollars towing, storing and insuring an estimated 420 cars per month.

That adds up to 1,680 cars statewide. As of Thursday, only three had been sold, said Allison Schafer, legal counsel to the North Carolina School Boards Association.

I don't know anybody who's made money from it yet,'' said Jan Crotts, executive director of the North Carolina School Administrators Association.

"Schools appreciated the thought,'' Crotts said. "But it's turned out to be costly and very pesky.''

In Johnston County, educators spent $15,000 in March to comply with the law. "We have 20 cars (stored at the school bus garage), and there is not a single one you can make money from," said Jim Causby, superintendent of schools.

It is apparent that Mr. Causby is confused. The purpose of seizure is to deter crime, NOT TO MAKE MONEY! In fact, it is accepted that deterring crime may actually cost money.

And that is the way it should be. For if deterring crime became profitable to the deterrers, what would they do if all crime stopped? Not a pretty thought.


Originally posted by Leon Felkins, March 29, 1998 to the FEAR-List. More of Leon Felkins' essays may be found on his webpage, A Rational Life. Leon's other pissedOff rants can be found here.

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