Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Unanimous Supreme Court Strikes at Civil-Asset Forfeiture!

This post is dedicated to Max Redline, who has been blowing the trumpet on this egregious "legal" punishment for years.

In Timbs v. Indiana, the Supreme Court has ruled that States are subject to the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause.

Civil-asset forfeiture is a legal process by which law enforcement agencies can seize any property, money, bank funds, you-name-it, by saying the items seized were involved in a criminal activity. They don't have to prove they were or that the person committed any criminal activity. The charge itself is sufficient to allow seizure and the defendant has to prove his innocence.

Here's David French at National Review describing the case:
At issue was the important question of whether the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause applied to the states and whether the excessive fines clause applied to a practice called in rem civil-asset forfeiture. Under this practice, law-enforcement officials often engage in two separate punitive legal processes against criminal defendants. The first is the criminal prosecution itself, which can impose prison sentences and fines according to statutorily defined punishments. The second is often a civil action against the criminal defendant’s property. Yes, the government will file suit against trucks, cars, jewelry, boats, and cash — leading to absurd case captions like, say, Texas v. One Gold Crucifix — claiming that the property was used for criminal purposes and then seize that property under a lower, civil, burden of proof.
Law enforcement agencies get to keep the proceeds, so there is a big incentive to finger anything they can for civil-asset forfeiture. French points out that "in 2014, for example, the state took more money from citizens than burglars took from crime victims."

Unfortunately, this is just the first step, as the Supreme Court has left the job of determining what is "excessive" in asset-forfeiture. But, it's a good first step.

What needs to be added beyond determining what is "excessive" is that the person whose property is being seized has to be actually convicted of a crime. Icing on the cake would be that law enforcement or government agencies could not profit by the seizure, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Windshield Wipers in Up Position - fixed itself

The windshield wipers on my parents' van got out of sync and stopped in the up position.

After doing research about fixing it, I decided going to a mechanic was better than taking off the shielding and getting into the works myself.

Well, procrastination (about 2 weeks of only 3 or 4 drives in the car) worked. One rainy day the wipers went back into the down position. Heh. No one on YouTube or the prominent articles on the internet mentioned that possibility. So, I thought I would post it here.

Perhaps it's like the check engine light. My car has had its warning light go on and off for the last 18 years. So far no problems with the car or engine that it was the warning for. I do pray, however, that it will not go on and stay on during DEQ testing time. The Lord has been good to answer my prayers on that.