Pubdate: Mon, 16 Sep 2002
Source: Island Packet (SC)
Copyright: 2002,sThe Island Packet
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


So Jasper County and Ridgeland police are trying to figure out how to best 
split money seized from drug offenders after the federal government first 
takes its cut. The financial incentives created by civil asset forfeiture 
laws create a very dangerous precedent. The government can legally 
confiscate cars, cash and homes without even bothering to charge owners 
with a crime. This is a clear abuse of power.

Vague allegations of drug trafficking hardly justify turning protectors of 
the peace into financial predators. The drug war threatens the integrity of 
a country founded on the concept of limited government. The steady rise in 
police searches on public transit, drug-sniffing dogs in schools, racial 
profiling and suspicionless drug testing have led to a loss of civil 
liberties, while failing miserably at preventing drug use.

The United States now has the highest incarceration rate in the world, in 
large part due to the war on some drugs. It's not possible to wage a 
moralistic war against consensual vices unless privacy is completely 
eliminated, along with the Constitution. America can either be a free 
country or a "drug-free" country, but not both. Drug abuse is bad, but the 
drug war is worse.

Robert Sharpe, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jackl