Police roundup

  • Today at Cato, all-day “Policing in America” conference, watch online; also check out recent Cato podcasts with Caleb Brown on the power of cop unions [Derek Cohen] and law enforcement drones [Connor Boyack];
  • Despite recently enacted New Mexico law ending civil asset forfeiture, Albuquerque goes right on seizing residents’ cars [C.J. Ciaramella, BuzzFeed] Tulsa DA warns that asset forfeiture reform will bring headless bodies swinging from bridges [Radley Balko]
  • Through court orders and settlements, Justice Department has seized control of the practices of police departments around the country. How has that worked? [Washington Post]
  • Punishing the buyers: “The Nordic model for prostitution is not the solution — it’s the problem” [Stuart Chambers, National Post]
  • “Plaintiff Wins $57,000 Settlement Over False Gravity Knife Arrest” [Jon Campbell, Village Voice] Will Republicans block reform of New York’s notorious knife law? [Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit] Second Circuit on standing to sue by knife owners;
  • Union-backed bill had Republican sponsor: “Bill shielding identities of police who use force passes Pennsylvania House” [Watchdog]
  • Federalist Society convention breakout session on “Ferguson, Baltimore, and Criminal Justice Reform” resulted in fireworks [YouTube; Tim Lynch, Cato]


  • Since the state has eliminated the authority for the civil forfeiture program, what legal authority does the city of Albuquerque have for continuing with seizures? In the absence of legal authority, aren’t the police just engaged in grand theft?

  • http://ij.org/report/policing-for-profit/

    Police take more than all burglary combined. Organized crime has always has the protection of the police. Now cops have learned to cut out the middle man.

  • I agree with Walter on what constitutes abuse of civil forfeiture, with one big exception– cars used for dangerous driving, especially by drivers already under restrictions. Owners should not lend their cars to bad drivers. If a bad borrower gets the car forfeited, the owner can be compensated with a default judgment against the borrower for the full value of the car. Alternatively, he could get the car back by getting the borrower jailed as a thief.

    I emphatically oppose civil forfeiture of cars for non-safety reasons eg enforcing prohibition laws.

    • I emphatically oppose civil forfeiture (full stop).

      Civil forfeiture is per se an abuse.

    • Hugo,
      What legal standard of ‘bad driver’ do you propose. Because the state already had a well defined path of testing and licensure. [even if driving tests seem a big porous for the unskilled to still pass]

      If they hold a license at the time of borrowing a car, then they are a legal driver, good enough for the State (and therefore not legally Bad). If they then commit bad acts while driving, they are still a licensed driver during the commission of bad driving acts.
      If their license is subsequently suspended or revoked, it is not retroactive. Their license was still fully in force at the time of their bad acts.

      Forfeiture is just theft, dressed up to pass judgement of those who believe that forfeiture will never come to their door.