Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Never drive through Tenaha, Texas

From a New Yorker longread by Sarah Stillman on the mind-numbing Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture:
One of the first cases that caught his attention was titled State of Texas vs. One Gold Crucifix. The police had confiscated a simple gold cross that a woman wore around her neck after pulling her over for a minor traffic violation. No contraband was reported, no criminal charges were filed, and no traffic ticket was issued. That’s how it went in dozens more cases involving cash, cars, and jewelry. 
Save the link and give the entire article a read when you have time. It details the long and unbelievable history of cops stripping innocent people of their cash and property.

Call it highway robbery, American style.

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Anonymous said...

I just spent the most depressing hour I've ever had on the Internet. Thanks for the heads-up, but I kind of wish I didn't know.

Anonymous said...


This is not new. It's gotten many times worse, but it's not new.

In the early-mid '80s when cocaine smuggling turned from a couple-a-keys-at-a-time boutique operation to an industrialized operation, next-day-air from jungle-to-junkie, the first drug-related confiscation laws were passed. Otherwise-solid citizens had to explain to their banker, and their banker was required to report to the IRS, any cash deposits over $9,999.99. And travelers who were for any reason stopped by the police with large sums of cash had to prove they were entitled to their own money and were not involved in drug trafficking. And the drug traffickers have had to find bankers willing to take the risks of shampooing, rinsing and conditioning the money. (the scenes in the film 'Scarface' in which Tony is negotiating with the bankers reference this.)

The war on drugs is over and drugs have prevailed, but the powers that be at certain levels of law enforcement and in the corporations that feed hardware to them have a positive incentive to maintain the fa├žade of a useful purpose.

Anonymous said...

War on Drugs
War on Terror
War on Petty Criminals(Privatized Prisons)
Found in the "Business Plans" section of your local bookstore.


Hal said...

Texas should be kicked out of the country. Then let Rick Perry (no relation...THANK GOD!!!) figure out what to do.