Are You Kidding Me?

This is so wrong.  When possessing cash is a crime:

A federal appeals
court ruled yesterday that if a motorist is carrying large sums of
money, it is automatically subject to confiscation. In the case
entitled, "United States of America v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency," the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took that amount of cash
away from Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez, a man with a "lack of significant
criminal history" neither accused nor convicted of any crime.

I know what you are thinking -- there must be some other facts Coyote is leaving out that explain why a man should have his money confiscated for no other reason than he chose to keep it in cash.  Read the whole thing, because you won't find anything that makes this sane.  I do a lot of business down on the border, and get many Mexican customers (legally) visiting as a tourist.  Almost to a one, they show up with large rolls of cash.  Our preference for key fob credit chips and ubiquitous Visa cards is not shared by every other culture, and the desire to keep one's assets in cash should not be a crime (it may not be smart, but not a crime).  Hell, murderers have more protection under the law than this person carrying cash.

I would be interested to hear more about this from folks with a legal background, but I am surprised that an appeals court even has the purview to find that a crime exists when lower courts found none.  The problem here, I think, is that the cash can (legally, which is nuts) be seized and kept without a trial, just on the say-so of the police, who have the incentive to decide that the cash is seizable because they get to drop it into their budget pool.  So I guess the trier of fact is the police (?) and the lower court reversed the police decision and then the circuit court is reinstating it. 

This is just one example of the incredibly high price we pay in civil liberties for the war on drugs.  See this post to measure the countervailing benefits of the war on drugs.  Hat tip:  Catallarchy.

Update: Via Hit and Run, here is another nice feature of the war on drugs:

Tim takes one 24-hour Claritin-D tablet just about every day. That
puts him just under the legal limit of 75-hundred milligrams of pseudo
ephedrine a month. The limit is part of a new law that Quad Cities
authorities are beginning to strictly enforce.

The law limits the
amount of pseudo ephedrine you can buy. Pseudo ephedrine is an
ingredient in medicines like Sudafed and Claritin-D, and it's also a
key ingredient in methamphetamines.

"It's the only allergy medicine that works for me "“ for my allergies," Tim explained.

The only problem is, Tim has a teenaged son who also suffers from allergies. And minors are not allowed to buy pseudo ephedrine.

"I bought some for my boy because he was going away to church camp and he needed it," he said.

  That decision put Tim over the legal limit. Two months later, there was a warrant for his arrest.

And off to jail he went, with no apologies:

But even if you're not making meth, if you go over that limit "“ of one maximum strength pill per day "“ you will be arrested.

  "Does it take drastic measures? Absolutely. Have we seen a positive result? Absolutely," Sandoval stressed.

Do you see the similarity in these two stories.  Two different people, both punished by the state for taking legal actions similar to those taken by drug dealers (holding cash and buying Claritin) with absolutely no evidence they in fact had anything to do with illegal drugs.  Next up:  Anyone driving a Porche 911 will be arrested since those cars are favored by drug dealers. 

  • dearieme

    You guys are meant to be inheritors of our Bill of Rights of 1689. I'd ask what the devil is going on with you, except that Tonito Blair is taking us in the same direction too.

  • Not_a_happy_camper

    The big questions this raises in my mind are "What amount triggers police theft?", and, if I have more than that amount, "Is it considered self defense to shoot the police as you would any other thief?" When does it transition from "good citizen, pull over" to "thief, pull trigger"? This is not going to end well.

  • http://caseysoftware.com/blog Keith Casey

    My Mother-In-Law has terrible head colds and allergies. She used to have a 90 day supply of (generic) Sudafed at any given time. The last time she went to stock up, she was informed of the new law and denied anything beyond 30 days worth because she "might be making meth".

    Oh, and she's a former State's Attorney in Northern Illinois...

  • http://triticale.mu.nu triticale

    End result of the restrictions on one methamphetamine precursor? Outsourcing of production to the large-scale providers who already held 80% of the market - violent motorcycle gangs and the Mexican Mafia. Given the environmental and safety issues, I'd just as soon not have a tweaker neighbor cooking his own crank, but empowering bigtime criminals is no win either.