Vice Squad
Sunday, February 22, 2004
Los Angeles Having Trouble Seizing Enough Cars....

...of those who have not been convicted of any crime. The Los Angeles Times (registration required) looks into the "civil forfeiture" of the cars driven by people accused of soliciting prostitution. This fine piece of legislation has been in effect for one year now, but resource constraints have limited the number of cars seized: "The big reason is understaffing at the city attorney's office, which handles the car seizure litigation. The problem also has undermined LAPD plans — approved by the City Council — to expand vehicle seizures to target those caught buying narcotics, street racing, pandering or dumping trash."

Hey, I know -- why not seize the home electronics of everyone accused of a crime!? That would really reduce the incidence of crime. (Especially if you don't count the illegal seizures themselves.)

These civil asset forfeitures are now common in vice crimes, and Vice Squad has looked at them in the past. Some cities have their priorities all wrong, however: "In 2000, San Francisco County supervisors voted against adopting such an ordinance, saying the plan would erode the rights of people who are accused but not convicted of crimes." But that is the point of such laws, to erode the rights of the unconvicted! Rights get in the way of law enforcement! Those wacky San Franciscans -- what next, requiring the consent of the homeowner in a time of peace before troops are quartered in his house?

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