Finally, a legal blow to our blatantly unconstitutional asset forfeiture laws. A federal judge has ordered the Nebraska State Police to return $1 million they seized from a couple on the grounds that it was drug-related, without ever charging, much less convicting them, of any crime.
Nebraska state troopers pulled over a man and his wife for speeding, and obtained consent from the couple to search their car. After they found bundles of cash in the trunk, they arrested the couple for suspected drug activity – even though they did not find any drugs or drug paraphernalia. Once at the police station, they hid the money and had a drug-sniffing dog correctly identify the location of the money.
On this basis alone, they sought to retain possession of the funds, using civil forfeiture laws. Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement officers to seize assets they believe are connected to drug activity, regardless of whether they have any basis for charges or arrest against the person possessing the money. As part of the War on Drugs, it is commonplace for officers around the country to seize the funds of subjects pulled over on the highway, solely because they are carrying large amounts of cash.
Over 90% of all money in this country has traces of cocaine on it, so the fact that a drug dog “alerts” shouldn’t even be used to establish probable cause for further investigation, much less charges or convictions. Don’t be surprised if this ruling is appealed because the cops have a good racket going here and they want to keep as much of it as they can.
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