Pubdate: Mon, 15 Sep 2014
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Post Company
Author: Franklin B. Olmsted
Page: A16


The Sept. 11 editorial "The sheriffs of Nottingham" said that 
Congress and the states should demand that forfeited assets not be 
used to fund police operations and that they should limit the 
application of civil forfeiture to kingpins. Both of these 
recommendations are wrong. It is altogether right that cash and other 
property forfeited by lawbreakers be used to help enforce the law. 
And it would be wrong to limit forfeiture to kingpins. Why should 
small-time criminals get a pass? There are many more small-timers 
than kingpins. The instruments and fruits of their crimes should be 
forfeited, too.

The Post's recommendations don't address the greatest need of all - 
that is, to reform procedures for forfeiture to protect innocent 
owners. The government should have to prove that seized property is 
connected with crime. Police and prosecutors should respect the 
rights of citizens to their hardearned property. Bullying tactics to 
get innocent owners to give up their property must cease.

Franklin B. Olmsted, La Plata
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