If you don’t play your cards right, the police can take all of your stuff and keep it for themselves.
No, this isn’t the premise of a film on some kind of futuristic and oppressive society, but rather a stone cold fact of the world we live in.
A case has come to light from the state of Illinois that helps to demonstrate that fact, and the details are rather alarming.
Western Journal has the news.
Illinois police confiscated $128,000 in a brief civil forfeiture hearing Thursday where the property owner was not present, nor had he been charged with a crime.
Galesburg police officer Mike Ingles testified that the money, confiscated from 21-year-old Deshawn Oliver on Jan. 23, was almost certainly drug money, according to the Galesburg Register-Mail.
Oliver’s travel itinerary took him from New York to Chicago by train and then from Chicago to California.
Ingles suspected the route was for drug trafficking and interrogated Oliver in his sleeper car, where he found the $128,000 in vacuum-sealed plastic bags.
Oliver was not notified that the forfeiture proceedings were taking place Thursday morning.
So is this inordinate amount of cash the result of illegal activities as the department contends?
We have no idea, and neither does the department.
Nonetheless, the cash has been snagged, and it doesn’t sound like there’s much that Oliver can do about it.
Illinois received a D- for their civil asset forfeiture laws, according to a 2014 study conducted by the Institute for Justice, making it one of the 10 worst states in the country.
Police must only show that a “preponderance of the evidence” indicates that property was involved in a crime in order to forfeit it.
Additionally, the burden of proof is on the owner to prove his property’s innocence, the opposite of criminal cases.
Once the property has been confiscated, 90 percent of the proceeds go to law enforcement itself, creating a worrying incentive.
Police claim the practice is essential to effectively combating the drug trade where criminal charges are often difficult to prove.
The law directs law enforcement not to use forfeiture as an alternative means of securing funding, but police departments across the country have been found doing just that.
It’s no secret that the state of Illinois has been having some serious economic troubles in recent years.
While we can’t confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that this case is a convenient way for the department to pad its own coffers, something doesn’t smell right.
Oliver has yet to be charged with any crime, but the cops can roll in and take his stuff anyway.
Illinois is still located in America, right?
Source: Western Journal