“Louisiana Legislators Narrowly Reject Car Seizure for Littering”

A near encounter with forfeiture madness in the Pelican State [The Newspaper]:

Under the legislation, impounded vehicles [of third-conviction litterers] would be sold at auction with the revenue split 10 percent to the towing company, 30 percent to the local police or investigative agency, 10 percent to the indigent defender board, 20 percent to the prosecutor and 30 percent to the state. The vehicle would be seized regardless of whether the offender was also the owner of the car. A bank or other lien holder on a leased car would have to pay “all towing and storage fees” before recovering their property.

According to The Newspaper, the bill passed the Louisiana state senate by a vote of 34 to 1 before its defeat 49-46 in the state House.


  • Existing law already provides that a third conviction for littering should be punished by a minimum fine of $1500 and a maximum of $5000, a one-year driver’s license suspension, up to thirty days in jail and up to 100 hours of being forced to pick up litter at the side of the road.

    What, no death sentence? The Louisiana legislature has gone soft.

    Under the legislation, impounded vehicles would be sold at auction with the revenue split 10 percent to the towing company, 30 percent to the local police or investigative agency, 10 percent to the indigent defender board, 20 percent to the prosecutor and 30 percent to the state.

    Well at least there is honor among thieves in Louisiana. Everyone gets a cut of the loot.

  • As bad as this is–on oh, so many grounds–I truly hope the report is in error when it says the ‘prosecutor’ gets 20%! Might that have meant the prosecutor’s office? That’s hardly better, but it’s better.

  • I have no problems with this bill. Littering and dumping are real issues and this sort of thing finally puts some teeth into tackling them rather than those ‘community chance’ litterers will be fined $15 signs.

    That said, I also don’t like the 20% provision that John mentioned, but this shouldn’t obscure the fact that the idea is a good one.

    Remember, folks, this is for third time offenders – people that the law has actually bothered to cite three times for what is essentially sociopathological laziness

  • I hate when I see people litter or leave their trash for someone else to dispose of and I lived in LA for a short time. There is a lot of trash there, and some of it walks upright. But what I hate more than littering is drunk drivers, so where is this type of law regarding DUI/DWI – and not just in LA but across the Nation? Littering is virtually a victimless crime. I have felt for a long, long time that the way to eliminate a vast majority of drunk driving is to confiscate the vehicle, regardless of who it belongs to, auction it off and provide the proceeds to law enforcement so that that can hire more officers to increase the elimination of violent crime and other threats to life and liberty.

  • @James: My state, FL, charges $100 for common littering, i.e., throwing a gum wrapper out of a car, with the potential of a community service requirement. It is non-criminal.

    The laws get tougher as the mass of the litter goes up and whether it contains human or chemical waste. Those range from misdemeanor to felonies.

  • While confiscation does appear to be somewhat harsh, in the rural area of NW Louisiana in which we reside, litter has transitioned from a relatively minor problem to a very significant issue. Most of the litter is not intentional, just thoughtless, with gas field workers (and some locals) throwing their Styrofoam boxes and plastic water bottles into the back of the pickup after lunch…and, amazingly the bed is empty when they arrive at their next destination. I do not believe this legislation should be passed as a source of revenue, but a robust solution is very much needed.

  • While littering seems to be a problem nationwide, I would prefer to see stricter enforcement of existing laws and stiffer fines rather than confiscation.

    The one form of littering from cars that bothers me most is that of throwing lit cigarette butts out the window. The potential disaster they can cause is tremendous and yet there is rarely enforcement.

  • I think we should publicize and penalize everyone’s skeletons. *rolls eyes* This crap is nothing but feel good opinionated hypocrisy. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Not that littering is good or anything, but STFU!

  • Litterers, the new Sex Offenders

  • Incentives matter. 30% to the local police?! Wow, glad I don’t live there. “Hey guys, let’s go nail some more litterbugs (driving luxury cars) and we’ll have one helluva policeman’s ball this year!”

  • It’s nice to know we have so little crime in the US.

  • Sadly John B. the bill read “twenty percent to the prosecuting district attorney” and while New Orleans has recently been declared America’s dirtiest city this law would have done little to curb it. But it might have done wonders for the bottom line of tow companies, who stood to get 10% of the sale, even if the car was stolen or owned by the bank.

    It almost makes me pine for the days of Edwin Edwards when the legislators knew beforehand what bills to file and who was to get the money.

  • Around the web, June 27…

    Some of the better Wal-Mart v. Dukes commentary and analysis—and don’t miss my podcast. [Trask; Beck; Karlsgodt; Olson @ Cato; Olson @ Phil. Inquirer; Bloomberg; NYT; WSJ; Examiner; Bader; Omaha World-Herald; Entrepreneur; WLF; earlier; elsewher…

  • “And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
    father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean ‘n’ ugly
    ‘n’ nasty ‘n’ horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
    and said, “Kid, whad’ya get?” I said, “I didn’t get nothing, I had to pay
    $50 and pick up the garbage.” He said, “What were you arrested for, kid?”
    And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench…”

    From Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie. How would the song have gone had he been in Louisiana.

  • ” … till I said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing, father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the bench.”

    Life imitating art.

  • Imagine you own a piece of property in the sticks that you use mostly during warmer weather for fishing and hunting.
    You don’t go during the colder months.
    Imagine you show up one spring day to do some fishing and someone has been dumping tires, oil filters, and assorted trash on your property.
    You report it to local authorities in hopes they will help you.
    In about a month, you get a letter from the local government. You’re hoping they have info about catching who is dumping on your property.
    Instead it is a notice that you have 60 days to clean up your property and until they think it is cleaned up, they have put a lien on your property.
    Those darn litterbugs.
    I’m with James on this one.

  • such a draconian law. why not just give them the electric chair for the fourth offense?

  • That would be insane Doug. There would be no way for the prosecuting lawyer to profit.


  • Mr. jimmy are you on drugs? Drunk driving or being over some arbitrary BAC limit is a Victimless Crime unless one gets in an accident and thereby causes harm. other than that, drinking while having had a beer is no more dangerous than the idiot who can’t text and drive or talk on the phone or do their makeup or any other distracted driving. just being over the limit does not solve the issue that the majority of those who get in accidents after drinking are totally trashed, just not over the 0.08 limit. Please do some research before you spout nonesense.

  • Okay Jesse…. I’ll go with your hypothetical.

    Now, how does your scenario identify the person that dumped the material on the property any more than if the forfeiture wasn’t on the books?

  • Oh,….. also how does it identify the vessel or “conveyance” that was used to dump the material?

  • ah, but there will be lots of fees for lawyers. appeal after appeal.

  • JS: Mr. Jimmy said littering is victimless, not drunk driving. Please re-read the statement.
    Jesse Spurway: gitarcarver is very generous to consider your hypothetical.
    What to do about litter? A consistent, enforced fine works. At least it did in New York City a few yeras after I moved away. (Note, I have not been back in a couple decades.) Seizing vehicles screams “abuse” in my mind.
    Call the local Boy Scouts or Key Club or any other service organization.
    Or how about convicts? Ah, maybe work is so unusual for them that it comes to the level of cruelty? You know, there are a lot of good songs that never would have been if we never had chain gangs.

  • “What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate.” Cool Hand Luke