Ohio has made a rare but important step forward in reversing the effect of the war on drugs on our basic rights.
Civil forfeiture was developed as a way of combatting the scary power that rich criminals have by amassing wealth. But throughout the country, police forces have been incentivized to grab large amounts of property from crime suspects, even if their criminal cases fall apart. The police forces in many states get to keep a share of the loot to fund their operations. Many agencies have become hooked on seizing the property of suspects, focusing less on whether their criminal cases will stick.
Can you imagine a government tactic more calculated to lead to tyranny? Politicians could direct police forces to focus investigations on the allegedly fraudulent activities of their opponents, their businesses, foundations and charities and of their families and friends?
This has become an issue of concern to both principled conservatives and liberals who jointly believe that our freedoms rely on a strong vibrant private sector, not afraid of police powers when criticizing or lawfully opposing government policy.
Ohio has toughened the burden of proof required for cops to take our stuff. A good thing. A very good thing. Hopefully, Michigan will follow suit.
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