Civil forfeiture has to be the most bogus of all search and seizure laws. Apparently, you just cannot travel with large sums of cash on your person as an American citizen without being a suspect in drug trafficking. Oh, sorry, I thought that I was allowed to take my money in whatever way I wanted?
I mean, if I was traveling to do a drug deal, why wouldn’t I just make other arrangements to pay, like precious metals? Cash is so traceable and is coming out of vogue for many dealers of shady things. I digress. The latest story of the American justice system gone horribly awry will have your tail feathers in a bunch, too:
One can easily see how this can be abused.
Joseph Rivers, a 22-year-old Michigan resident, was on his way to Los Angeles in April to fulfill his dream of becoming a music video producer, according to Rivers and his lawyer, when federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) boarded his Amtrak train during a stop in Albuquerque.
DEA agents approached Rivers, the only black passenger in the train car, and asked to search his bag. Inside the bag, agents found $16,000 in cash—money Rivers said he had saved up and received from family members to pursue his music video aspirations.
The agents detained Rivers and asked him about the cash. According to Rivers and his lawyer, Michael Pancer, a San Diego-based attorney, Rivers had the agents call his mother to confirm his story, but the DEA nevertheless seized his money, believing it was somehow connected with drugs.
The DEA agents then released Rivers, leaving him penniless in Albuquerque. He was never charged with a never charged with a charged with a crime. The incident, first reported by the Albuquerque Journal, is the latest case to highlight the practice of civil asset forfeiture.
Ok, so this young man left home to pursue his dreams. He had all he worked for, all he had gotten from well-wishers to make a new life, and he was snagged up by the DEA under this bull crap civil forfeiture law. Stupid. Can we not focus on the real crimes of drug trafficking and stop seizing innocent folks’ private property?
This is way more than just bordering on stupid, it’s asinine, and it needs to stop NOW.
H/T: Weasel Zippers
Civil Forfeiture Reforms Stall — For Now
Should cops be able to take your money without charging you with a crime?
Written by Katie McGuire. Follow Katie on Twitter @GOPKatie, or email the author at [email protected]