WTW: Hillbilly Robin Hood

“The hoary doctrines of Anglo-American civil asset forfeiture law that have been resurrected like some jurisprudential Frankenstein monster, from the dark recesses of past centuries.”
[…]
“In my view, a drug ‘war’ has been perverted too often into a series of frontal attacks on basic American constitutional guarantees – including due process, the presumption of innocence, and…unrelenting government assaults on property rights, fueled by a dangerous and emotional vigilante mentality that sanctions shredding the U.S. Constitution into meaningless confetti.” Henry Hyde, Forfeiting Our Property Rights: Is Your Property Safe From Seizure?

That’s a great quote from Henry Hyde regarding the outright abuse of power by police departments and prosecutors in leveraging asset forfeiture as a punishment of first resort against innocent and guilty citizens alike when it comes to drug crimes. To begin, how do you defend yourself when everything you are worth is taken from you?

In a perfect world, there are little angels on the shoulders of the S.W.A.T. team when their guns are drawn and your property happens to be worth a lot of money that can conveniently be auctioned off and placed in their budget. But sometimes those angels get stuck in traffic.

Naturally, I was perplexed today when I heard that everyone’s 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th favorite state legislator, Doug Jackson (D – Dickson), is introducing a law that encourages asset forfeiture if dog fights take place on your property. Finally, someone taking a stand on the tough issues. And he’ll give the money from the auctioned assets to animal shelters. He cited asset forfeiture for drug crimes as the logical progression for extending that punishment to other crimes.

A real life Hillbilly Robin Hood.

Does this demand nomenclature on my part? That, as an owner of several spoiled and well-behaved dogs, the idea of raising them to kill each other for money is beyond odious.

A crime that already has a punishment that simply needs to be enforced instead of amplifying the ability of the state to seize someone’s property because of the unpopularity of their crime.  Prohibit them from having pets if that makes you happy but this suggested punishment far outweighs the crime.

Some may remember Doug Jackson as the man who made national headlines in his crusade to keep us from jacking off to death at those precocious “Girls Gone Wild” videos that run in an endless loop on Comedy Central after dark.

Funny, Mr. Jackson certainly did not have trouble asserting his property rights when his then 16-year old Girl Went Wild a few years ago and a black suitor threatened to encroach upon her protected wetlands.

But one good quote deserves another:

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

-Some dead commie

Congratulations Doug Jackson. Today, you are that farce.

2 comments

  1. I see some justification for the sale of property acquired by drug pushers…because those assets were probably acquired in the first place by the illegal sale of drugs.

    Probably, that is…

    That’s not the same as some hippie getting caught with a joint in his car while driving on a suspended license…and the car being seized and auctioned off.

    But mostly I appreciate the fact that you used this topic to light up one of your Tennessee pols as you are so want to do. Thanks for making me realize that California is not the only state with $#%^ed up politicians…

  2. That Cato link I put in for Radly Balko’s white paper starts a discussion on asset forfeiture on page 25.

    The idea that someone who is going to use their own land to start growing the whackey weed is a bit of a misnomer and police have personal incentives to seizing whatever they can get their hands on. The case of Donald Scott in California would be a good example of that.

    Applying the standard of property loss for crimes where there is no human victim, even at a misdemeanor level, is not an area where I would like the government to start thinking it’s ok to tread.

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