Inside Mississippi’s Asset Forfeiture Extortion Racket
State narcotics police seized $4 million in cash—as well as couches, comics, and 18-wheelers—through asset forfeiture in 2015.
C.J. Ciaramella | Jan. 5, 2017 10:00 am
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“We’re completely in the dark on how pervasive the practice really is,” says Blake Feldman, an advocacy coordinator at the Mississippi ACLU. “Pretty much the default mindset is nobody should be overseeing any law enforcement. A big concern will be if the required tracking and reporting is going to be enforced, or if it will be a shallow gesture.”
In recent years, there has been bipartisan momentum in states across the U.S. to roll back civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow police to seize property without convicting or even charging the owner with a crime. Mississippi is no different. According to an April poll of Mississippi voters conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, 88 percent of voters oppose civil forfeiture, including 89 percent of Republican voters.
Reason reached current Hinds County Attorney Claire Baker to ask about the couch seizure, as well as the debate in the state over asset forfeiture.
“There’s been a move to crack down on forfeitures, and I get that,” Baker says. “Mississippi law is wide open as far as forfeiture goes.”
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There has to be reform.
If we eliminate the “(pseudo) War on (some) Drugs”, a lot of this non-sense will stop.
Even before that happens, the forfeiture law needs to change dramatically.
(1) Nothing is taken without a conviction.
(2) The Gooferment’s claim can’t be taken on face value.
(3) The actual owners, like parents, shouldn’t be penalized for something some one else does.
It’s all about “revenue collection”; not solving or preventing “crimes” against real victims.
Obvious, the police and judicial complex are over-funded.
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