Pubdate: Thu, 05 Apr 2001
Source: Herald, The (WA)
Copyright: 2001 The Daily Herald Co.


I am writing in response to the March 19 letter by Mr. Gregory Lemke 
("Property forfeitures: Don't give the drug dealers chance to profit from 
wrong"). Is he unaware that in this country we are presumed innocent until 
proven guilty?

Allowing police to confiscate the property of anyone suspected of a crime 
would be giving too much power to law enforcement unit. Law enforcement 
means upholding the laws of this country, which are written to protect its 
citizens. We already have stories in the papers every day of corrupt 
police. Why would he think that giving them that type of power would not 
open us up to more abuse? I can predict his response already: if you are 
not a criminal, you have nothing to fear.

Does he believe that there are never innocent people accused of crimes? 
What would stop a jealous neighbor from reporting that you are growing 
marijuana in your house? Under his plan, the police could therefore seize 
your house and keep it before you are even convicted of anything. Already, 
we have more of our citizens in jail than other industrialized countries in 
the world and still we can't stop the drugs from being sold.

It's time to try a new solution to the drug problem, like finding out why 
people continue to use drugs even after going through the DARE program - or 
trying to get people off drugs and give them some hope in life. Or trying 
to truly rehabilitate prisoners and give them a trade for when they get out 
of prison, instead of giving them no other option than to return to the 
ways of making money that ended them up in jail to begin with. Taking away 
more of our rights will not help any but those already in power.


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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart