Worry most about asset forfeiture

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, September 25, 2013

To the editor:

In reference to the article “Residents say too many police checkpoints,” we should all be concerned for the reasons the Arceneaux couple give but also for another, more frightening reason.

Increasingly, municipalities are turning to civil asset forfeiture to enrich their coffers. Using this technique, they stop people on the flimsiest of reasons (driving too close to the middle line, for example) and then search their cars.

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If they find anything suspicious, they can seize the car, all cash or any valuables. Proof is not required for civil asset forfeiture. Suspicion is all that is necessary. For most cash-starved towns, this is better than a speed trap.

Some towns enrich themselves mightily using this technique. It happens in NC and Monroe is one of the towns mentioned in Sarah Stillman’s recent New Yorker article. (Taken, Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker, Aug. 12, 2013)

– Dorothy Kirk, Tryon