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* Gov't Auto Theft Ring Condoned By Court

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    J.A.I.L. News Journal October 20, 2000 ____________________________________________________ Listen to HotSeat4Judges daily on Internet Radio M-Th, 6-7 pm P.T.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 20, 2000
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      J.A.I.L. News Journal
      October 20, 2000
      ____________________________________________________
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      Government Auto Theft Ring Condoned By Court

      California's state Supreme Court has declined to review a ruling allowing police in Oakland to seize vehicles simply suspected of use in criminal activity, even if their owners haven't so much as been charged with a crime. (10/19/00).
      http://www.jsonline.com/news/nat/ap/oct00/ap-brf-vehicle-sei101900.asp
       
      Calif. Vehicle Seizure Law Stands
      Associated Press
      Last Updated: Oct. 19, 2000 at 6:05:09 a.m.

      SAN FRANCISCO - The state Supreme Court has declined to review a ruling allowing police to seize vehicles suspected of use in crimes such as drug dealing or soliciting a prostitute.

      Without comment, a majority of justices Wednesday decided not to hear the American Civil Liberties Union's challenge to Oakland's 1997 vehicle seizure law.

      Under the law, a car can be confiscated even if the crime suspect using the vehicle is acquitted, or the car's owner was unaware of the crime. The measure exceeds state and federal standards.

      The ACLU argued that cities looking to profit from seizures would enact similar measures.

      So far, Sacramento has put a comparable law on its books but San Francisco lawmakers shelved the idea last month, concluding it was unconstitutional.

      Since passing the ``nuisance abatement'' act, Oakland has collected, sold and kept the profits from 300 cars.

      ....


      -------- Original Message --------
      Subject: FEAR: California Supreme Ct. denied hearing in Oakland
      ordinance case.
      Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 20:20:44 -0700
      From: Brenda Grantland <bgrantland@...>
      Yesterday the California Supreme Court denied review on Horton v. City of Oakland,  the ACLU's challenge to the constitutionality of the
      Oakland forfeiture ordinance on pre-emption grounds (in which they
      argued the state forfeiture statute pre-empts localities from setting up
      their own forfeiture schemes.)

      This is a sad blow for California, and sets a bad example for the rest
      of the country and the world.  We'll now have to defeat the attempts to
      establish new forfeiture fiefdoms at the local level by lobbying in each
      city.  By lobbying against it, FEAR and our allies recently defeated a
      proposed San Francisco forfeiture ordinance, which would have allowed whoppingly disproportionate forfeitures for minor drug possession infractions and soliciting prostitution offenses, which was modeled after the Oakland ordinance.

      After yesterday's ruling, I'm afraid these schemes will start popping up
      everywhere there's a politician seeking a quick fix scheme to make him
      seem "tough on crime" so as to guarantee a certain block of votes from
      the "law 'n order" folks.  New York mayor Guiliani's car forfeiture
      policy, which forfeited cars for drunk driving, even if the drunk driver
      was not the owner of the car, is just one example.  These ordinances are
      very dangerous.  If they are allowed to proliferate, they will create
      forfeiture traps (where police set up sting operations in order to seize
      vehicles -- a result which is guaranteed from the enactment of these
      laws, since the police get to keep the proceeds) all over the
      countryside, nationwide, with legal standards and justifications for
      seizure varying drastically from community to community.  Because these local forfeiture ordinances are set by city or county government, they will create a patchwork of laws that the average citizen could not
      reasonably keep track of, since the triggering offense will vary with
      the priorities of the local community.

      Story sent by Lori (JAIL Advocate - N.Y.)



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