COMPARTMENT CONSPIRACY

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“The bill, H.1266, separately criminalizes the process of altering a vehicle with the intent of creating such hidden compartments,” explains Reason Magazine. “In each case the bill calls for a two-year mandatory minimum sentence, five years for subsequent offenses. The bill also allows police to seize the modified vehicle.” Notice, of course, that illegal substances or weapons, or what have you do not have to be found for an arrest and conviction to be made. A secret compartment, by itself, is

Notice, of course, that illegal substances or weapons, or what have you do not have to be found for an arrest and conviction to be made. A secret compartment, by itself, is intent. The bill reads: “Proof that a conveyance contains a hidden compartment as defined in this section shall be prima facie evidence that the conveyance was used intended for use in and for the business of unlawfully manufacturing, dispensing, or distributing controlled substances.” You, dear reader, may think the passage of such a wrong-headed, idiotic law is next to impossible. However, the great state of Ohio already has such a law on the books. In 2013. Norman Gurley was stopped by Ohio state troopers, who noticed some wires in his vehicle and in turn discovered the car had a secret compartment. No drugs were found, but he was arrested and charged with violating Ohio’s law against secret compartments.

 

You, dear reader, may think the passage of such a wrong-headed, idiotic law is next to impossible. However, the great state of Ohio already has such a law on the books. In 2013. Norman Gurley was stopped by Ohio state troopers, who noticed some wires in his vehicle and in turn discovered the car had a secret compartment. No drugs were found, but he was arrested and charged with violating Ohio’s law against secret compartments. Policing For Profit The Massachusetts bill H. 1266 mentioned above has the full-throated support of the Massachusetts state police despite being criticized for violating due process and property rights. As written, the law will allow police to keep any vehicle they seize. According to the Institute for Justice, Massachusetts (along with North Dakota) has the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the country. And that is saying something. Law enforcement need only have probable cause (like justifying a search warrant) that a person’s property or money is connected to a crime in order to seize it.

Policing For Profit

The Massachusetts bill H. 1266 mentioned above has the full-throated support of the Massachusetts state police despite being criticized for violating due process and property rights. As written, the law will allow police to keep any vehicle they seize.

According to the Institute for Justice, Massachusetts (along with North Dakota) has the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the country. And that is saying something. Law enforcement need only have probable cause (like justifying a search warrant) that a person’s property or money is connected to a crime in order to seize it.

The state of Massachusetts doesn’t have to prove a citizen’s guilt to keep the property. It’s up to the citizen to prove innocence for the return of the property. And under Massachusetts law, police get to keep 100 percent of what is seized. This is huge financial incentive to claim anyone they pull over and search is connected to the drug trade—especially if that person has any possessions of value.

Police in Massachusetts already confiscate over $9 million a year from forfeitures.

And that’s not all. Massachusetts law enforcement participates in the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program—earning the state a ranking by Institute for Justice of 46th nationally. This compounds the problems with the state’s forfeiture laws. Law enforcement agencies received $63.5 million in equitable sharing proceeds between 2000 and 2013, or $4.5 million per calendar year.

Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty, who threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the oppressive British government, are rolling over in their graves.

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