Police Seizing Property Equals Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Paul Jacob

Monday, October 26, 2009
(graphic: Shirtydeal.com)

For too long police have been allowed to impose a “profitable tyranny” over those accused of owning property purchased illegally, says Paul Jacob, president of Citizens in Charge, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting and expanding voter initiative rights. While the doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty” applies to most aspects of our legal system, it does not with asset forfeiture. Police across the U.S. “seize more than $1 billion worth of property each year—cash, cars, boats, etc.—that is alleged to have been used in the furtherance of a crime,” writes Jacob.

“The problem is that police don’t have to prove a crime has actually been committed in order to seize someone’s property,” he notes. “Or that the owner of the property committed said crime.”
This “guilty until proven innocent” reversal is now being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court in Alvarez v. Smith. Six people whose money or cars were seized by Chicago police are insisting they were denied their right to due process.
“You might think we were talking about a tin-pot dictatorship, but this is life, today, in these United States,” says Jacob. “Unless the Court overturns this practice, we might as well stop referring to our republic as a “democracy” and call it what it is: a kleptocracy.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Proven Guilty (by Paul Jacob, Townhall)


Leave a comment