Asset Forfeiture at a Traffic Stop
We have been talking about the asset forfeiture laws here in Michigan, where the state essentially orders police to take citizens property if they “believe” the property was purchased with ill-gotten gains. Now the State of Oklahoma is allowing the Highway patrol to seize money in your bank accounts and prepaid cards, right on the side of the street during a traffic stop.
Oklahoma’s News 9 is reporting that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is now using a device named an ERAD. ERAD stands for “Electronic Recovery and Access to Data” machine. This “machine” gives the traffic officer the ability to swipe any bank or prepaid credit cards you may have on you, and the states then seizes that money.
The police are saying that they only do this if THEY suspect the property is somehow connected to a crime. How would they ever know if money you have in your bank is actually connected to a crime, right there on the street?
A State Trooper is quoted in the article stating:
I know that a lot of people are just going to focus on the seizing money. That's a very small thing that's happening now. The largest part that we have found ... the biggest benefit has been the identity theft. If you can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past
Oh no, this has nothing to do with the cash, right! Sure, we hear all the time about citizens who have had their assets taken from them by the state then given back in a timely matter.
Oh wait! It is the other way around!
Most do not get their assets back, or they have to hire attorneys, costing them quite a bit of money to get their stuff back.
Oklahoma State Sen. Kyle Loveless believes that this procedure removes due process and the belief that a suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Really, you think so?
Oklahoma State Sen. Kyle Loveless was quoted in the article stating:
We've seen single mom's stuff be taken, a cancer survivor drugs taken, we saw a Christian band being taken. We've seen innocent people's stuff being taken. We've seen where the money goes and how it's been misspent
What is going on here is outrageous as far as I am concerned. I do support the state seizing assets of criminals once they are convicted. I have no problem with that, take it all. How can anyone support the seizing of someone’s assets without first proving that they have actually committed a crime, and that the assets were purchased from the gains of that crime?
We are allowing the states too much power, in my humble estimation.
Let’s talk about this today on The Live with Renk Show which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.
Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.