Saturday, June 11, 2016

Cash And Convict

More states are acting to prevent literal highway robbery:
Right now, 47 of the 50 states allow so-called civil asset forfeitures, with New Hampshire set to effectively end such practices, which allow property and currency to be seized even if it’s only suspected of being connected to a crime.

The changes in New Hampshire and elsewhere follow numerous, high-profile cases in which Americans have had their cash and other assets seized by state-level police agencies without being convicted and of police departments appearing to aggressively pursue such cases to fill their coffers.

Among them is the 2013 case in which motorist Straughn Gorman had $167,000 in cash seized by the Nevada state police, which suspected him of transporting drugs but only issued him traffic tickets.

In another highly-publicized case, a small-town Mississippi police department built a $4.1 million training facility and bought a fleet of new police cruisers from such forfeitures.

The New Hampshire legislation, which Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassen has vowed to sign, would essentially require prosecutors trying to keep assets to first get a conviction, with few exceptions including a defendant’s death.

And it would require them to present stronger cases and harder evidence -- phased in the bill as “clear and compelling” evidence.
There are thieves, and then there's the government...

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