Two things below for you to check out. The first is a youtube video of a New Jersey man who had $20,000 in cash confiscated from him by the police as he was driving through Tennessee (they have some strange laws down there) for absolutely no reason. The second story is an article from the Huffington Post that explains how people are being told to bring bail in cash so that local law enforcement can steal it without even letting the accused out!
There are two takeaways from these seemingly unrelated cases and neither of them are good. First, there is this clear war on cash going on in police departments across the country. In both cases, the notion that large amounts of cash are present = drug related activity (despite the fact that numerous studies have shown that 75%-90% of large bills in circulation have traces of cocaine on them). Second, with local budgets being strained, police departments are becoming more aggressive in stealing (um, generating revenue) in a disingenuous manner from those they have sworn to protect.
So here is the Tennessee video (truly amazing)
The Huffington Post article is pretty lengthy so here are some key quotes:
“The police specifically told us to bring cash,” Greer says. “Not a cashier’s check or a credit card. They said cash.”
So Greer and her family visited a series of ATMs, and on March 1, she brought the money to the jail, thinking she’d be taking Joel Greer home. But she left without her money, or her son.
Instead jail officials called in the same Drug Task Force that arrested Greer. A drug-sniffing dog inspected the Greers’ cash, and about a half-hour later, Beverly Greer said, a police officer told her the dog had alerted to the presence of narcotics on the bills — and that the police department would be confiscating the bail money.
Steven Kessler, a New York-based forfeiture attorney and the author of the legal treatise “Civil and Criminal Forfeiture: Federal and State Practice,” said he had never heard of simply confiscating bail. “It’s abhorrent. You can reject bail if you suspect the money is dirty. But you don’t simply take it and hand it over to the police department.”
Indigent defendants, in particular, may decide not to pursue a forfeiture case due to the expense, particularly if they’ve already used their savings on bail, or are more concerned with fighting pending criminal charges. In many cases, the amount of cash seized would be exceeded by the costs of hiring an attorney to win it back anyway. In addition, under Wisconsin law, indigent defendants are not entitled to a public defender in civil asset forfeiture cases.
Full article here.