Pubdate: Mon, 17 Jun 2002
Source: Birmingham News, The (AL)
Copyright: 2002 The Birmingham News
Author: Paul A. Nichols
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


In the June 8 issue of The Birmingham News, there is a news item stating 
that the Hoover police confiscated $87,000 from two women who were stopped 
on Interstate 459 for driving too slowly.

According to the article, the cash was seized because the women could not 
explain why they had so much money. They will be given a chance to prove 
the money is theirs, and if they can't, the federal government keeps 20 
percent and Hoover keeps 80 percent.

Have our lawmakers gone too far in allowing police to seize money and 
property with no proof of criminal activity? At one time, I thought that a 
citizen was considered innocent until proved guilty, but in situations such 
as reported above, it seems that citizens are considered guilty until they 
can prove themselves innocent.

If they were breaking a traffic law, they should be fined, just as anyone 
else would be, but it seems unfair to seize their money unless there was 
some other reason which was not reported in the news item.

Paul A. Nichols

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