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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Asset Forfeiture

NOTE: Records are current through mid-2015. The records understate the extent of airport seizures because they do not include cases in places such as San Diego and Sacramento. SOURCE: USA TODAY analysis of Justice Department seizure records. Credit: Karl Gelles, USA TODAY
USA Today has a story about how the DEA regularly confiscates big bankrolls from travelers. Nobody gets arrested, and the DEA, being all benevolent and all, hands the cash to the local police department. Just who are the criminals here?
    This shit has been going of for years, which makes me wonder where the hell has the ACLU been? After I figured out how to spell forfeiture (it has two f's), I found this item (last one on the page):
The DUE PROCESS Act (H.R. 5283S. 3045) is a response to the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The bill levels the playing field for individuals who want to challenge law enforcement’s seizure of their property by providing access to counsel, an increased burden of proof for the government, and other procedural protections. 
But why hasn't the Supreme Court put a stop to it? Possibly because no case has made it that far, which makes me wonder why not. So now I'm thinking that the tips the DEA is getting on these travelers (who are carrying these big wads of cash) are coming from the drug dealers, and the cash caches they are 'confiscating' are nothing more than bribes to keep them from disrupting the drug trade. Or am I being too cynical?

If drugs were legal, all these kind of problems ought to go away. They wouldn't of course, because there is no shortage of stupid, vicious and cruel people. But making drugs legal would be a good start. We might get a few more cases of people running amuck on drugs, or committing suicide, but that would still be better than the criminality we have institutionalized in our justice system.

The common opinion of suicide is that it is terrible. It is terrible for people who know the person, but for the person committing the act it might be the best thing. If you are in constant excruciating pain and the medical establishment can't help, suicide might be an attractive choice.

And then there is the 'problem' with people accidentally committing suicide by taking too much of a prescription pain killer. If it's a prescription painkiller, we know how much of the drug is in there. We aren't talking about street corner heroin which have anywhere from zero to 100% active ingredients. If people are dying from taking too much Oxycodone, it's either because they want to die, or they don't know what a fatal dose is. And why is that? I'll bet it's because 'nobody needs to know' that kind of information.

USA Today story via Detroit Steve.

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