Friday, March 24, 2006

Lottery Looters

Stories like this are why I despise the forfeiture and seizure laws implemented in the War on Some Drugs in the US. Police are seizing a drug suspect's lottery check for $67,000 because it was stored in a safe that also contained some drugs. Or at least that's what the story implies:
Agents found 56 grams of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine residue and the lottery check -- which was in a safe.
It's a badly written sentence. Were all these things in the safe? Or just the check? Saying "which was" instead of "which were" implies singular, not plural. (But enough grammar geekery.)

No proof that the money used to buy the lottery ticket was drug money, just a "reasonable assumption." And now they have the money. Whee! Donuts and hookers for everyone!

Don't mistakenly think I have any sympathy for the drug dealer. I live next door to one and see the daily misery, and have to live with the fall-out. Like the guy who knocked on my door yesterday -- a total stranger who saw my open door -- to try to sell me a stolen CD/tape player. No thanks.

But it's a lesson that most Americans don't seem to learn. If you don't watchdog bad behavior by law enforcement when it's perpetrated on criminals, then you shouldn't be surprised when it's used on law-abiding you. Because it will be. That's just human nature. Don't think it won't happen to you. Just ask Cory Mayes. He'll tell you.

Qui custodiet custodiens. Who watches the watchmen? Who polices the police?

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