Pubdate: Fri, 29 Mar 2002
Source: Gazette, The (CO)
Copyright: 2002 The Gazette
Author: Don Powers
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)

On Target


This is regarding Wayne Reynolds' March 22 reply to The Gazette's March 20 
Our View, "Spoils of war" ("Gazette's arguments against asset forfeiture 
show flawed thinking," Letters). Reynolds claimed The Gazette is seriously 
flawed in its position that property seizure should not be allowed unless 
an arrest led to a conviction. Funny, I thought that was one of strongest 
points made in the original column.

Like it or not, we still live in a country where the accused are innocent 
until proven guilty, regardless of the inequities in the system. Penalties, 
to include asset seizures/forfeitures, should follow convictions, not 
precede them. The Gazette provided many good reasons why this is a bad 
policy, and it needs to change.

A few years ago, in his noble but overzealous attempt to curb drunk driving 
in New York, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani proposed seizure of automobiles 
belonging to drivers charged with an alcohol-related offenses, regardless 
of the outcome of the trial. That sort of mindset is similar the asset 
seizure law at hand. It puts too much power in the hands of law 
enforcement, is arguably unconstitutional, and it's wrong.

Don Powers

Colorado Springs
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