Perhaps if it was published somewhere else it might have been dismissed as a libertarian rant, but an article in the New York Times about police abuse of civil forfeiture laws, where innocent property owners face the task of proving that their property hasn’t been used illegally (something that seems at odds with the American concept of innocent until proven guilty) is getting a lot of attention. Video of seminars teaching cops and prosecutors how to seize private property have surfaced and they make it seem like law enforcement is less concerned with, well, law enforcement than they are with taking your stuff. Instructions like, “If in doubt… take it!” don’t make it seem like justice is a concern. What was intended by legislators as a means to go after the tools of illegal trades has become a method of padding budgets, buying cop toys and, in what would surely be seen by prosecutors as at the very least a conflict of interest if it was in the private sector, paying the salaries of prosecutors who handle civil forfeiture cases. The Times story revels disturbing practices like wish lists of property to be seized. High on the lists are cars. Can you prove that your car wasn’t used for a crime? The government wins 96% of civil forfeiture cases. (Read More…)
Tag: Law Enforcement
To further transparency and improve safety, Ford and Telogis have debuted a system that will gather information on a given police officer’s driving practices.
The panopticon grows taller every day, as motorists who try to learn what information is gathered by the automatic license plate readers face roadblock after roadblock, with three cases set to determine once and for all what can be seen.
The city council of Waldo, Fla. — population 1,000 — sternly told its police department to take a seat in the shame bus, disbanding the force after its chief and interim chief both resigned amid an investigation into the town’s reputation as a speed trap.
From the commonwealth where radar detectors are verboten, and speeding has more in common with sex crimes than physical graffiti, a local company has developed a device that can detect the sort of signals a phone might emit when its owner is texting.
Do you live in New Jersey, but travel around states where a traffic enforcement camera could ruin your day? You may soon be able to put that fear aside, thanks to a new bipartisan bill going through the state’s legislature.
The city of St Petersburg, Florida uses camera systems sold by American Traffic Solutions (ATS, formerly American Traffic Systems) to issue tickets to drivers allegedly running red lights. According to The Newspaper, when the activists at St Petersburg Red Light Cameras reviewed logs of the 21,602 photo tickets issued in the city from October 29, 2011 to April 30, 2012 they discovered that the ATS cameras were reporting that they “measured” Bugatti Veyron level speeds from cars not realistically capable of that kind of velocity.
Beginning December 1, North Carolina will join Australia in having laws on the book mandating the seizure of vehicles for certain speeding offenses. On June 23, Governor Bev Perdue (R) signed the “Run and You’re Done” bill into law which authorizes a county sheriff to take and hold the car of anyone accused — not convicted — of speeding away from a police officer. The state House and Senate passed the measure unanimously.
Under the new law, the confiscation becomes permanent if a judge believes the car or motorcycle was used to elude a police officer while speeding more than 15 MPH over the limit with at least one other aggravating factor, such as having someone under 12 years old in the vehicle or the vehicle was at some point in a highway work zone, regardless of whether any workers are present.
The Washington Post‘s Paul Duggan blogs that Charlie Sheen arrived late to his Washington DC show after being escorted by local police officers at speeds of at least 80 MPH, an incident the actor documented in the tweet shown above. And lest TTAC be accused of pandering to lowest-common-denominator Charlie Sheen voyeurism, Duggan teases an interesting question out of the situation: can just anyone get a police escort and drive legally at illegal speeds? Hit the jump for your answer…