Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Eureka! Forfeiture or Worse to Combat Vice.
Vice Squad mentioned in passing some time ago that the town of Eureka, California was thinking of seizing the cars of motorists arrested on prostitution or drug-related charges. Actually, it looks as if the arrests would be for loitering with the intent to engage in some prostitution or drug-related offense. Why stop there? Why not arrest people for thinking about loitering with the intent to engage in one of those verboten activities, or for filling up their gas tanks with similar intent?
The Eureka city council was scheduled to decide the issue today.
A civil liberties group came out against the forfeitures, of course, on various trumped-up grounds, including some involving that old chestnut of "due process." And sure, the car might belong in whole or part to some innocent person, but the US Supreme Court has already decided that their interest can be sacrificed to the greater good of deterring vice.
Oh, I just thought of a better idea. You see, not all the drug and strumpet mongering or purchasing that goes on out there is done by motorists -- some people walk or take the bus to areas in which they loiter with the intent to engage in wickedness. So the car seizures can't deter them, and might even cause car owners to switch to non-vehicular methods of arranging loitering. So why not destroy the home of anyone arrested for loitering with illicit intent? That should deter everyone except the homeless -- and you can provide housing for them out of the proceeds from sales of the scrap left over after the homes are destroyed! Yes, it's all coming together now.
Vice Squad has long been a fan of asset forfeiture provisions to combat vice.