LP Atlanta members Josiah Neff and Joey Kidd kicked an ant hill yesterday when they announced they'd signed articles with the guys and gals down at the Institute of Justice to pursue some info from their local government on forfeiture disposition. I was vaguely aware of the practice but while looking at the info at the Insitute, I was dumbfounded at the size and scope of this particular government enterprise.
The bottom line for Georgia's law enforcement enterprises is in the millions of dollars each year, and that's just their share of the table droppings from the Federales operations in the ongoing War of Citizens....er, War on Drugs. Lots of eye popping charts over at the Institute as well as first hand commentary and my favorite bit concerning none other than DeKalb County's own Ex-Police Chief, Terrel Bolton:
In DeKalb County, Police Chief Terrell Bolton assigned 10 vehicles for his personal use, including a 2004 Range Rover valued at $32,000 and a 2006 Mercedes-Benz valued at $55,000. Both were acquired by civil forfeiture. Bolton explained that the vehicles were at his home because he feared another agency would take them and defended his weekend use of the vehicles by claiming it was needed to keep the batteries and tires in working order.
What a racket! And best of all it's legal basis is founded on 18th century maritime law formulated for use on that Scourge o' the Sea, freaking Pirates! No need to accuse a living, breathing, potentially lawyer employing citizen of a crime! Just accuse his car as they don't normally talk back or attempt to evade arrest. Arrest his car and you don't even have to read it that little Miranda card. Sweet!
I'm wondering. If Forfeiture laws based on piracy in the 18th century are the core of the War on Drugs, is it possible to obtain Letters of Marque and lawfully seize the prizes back from the cops?