Civil asset forfeiture has been under the gun, and with good reason, for the last few years. From blatant highway robbery, where cops steal money from motorists who have not committed a crime, to nicking property — cars, businesses, homes, bank accounts — before a person is convicted, local, state, and federal authorities have become so addicted to the people’s money that they aren’t even hiding their rapacious desire to take your stuff.
Around the nation, we’ve been seeing moves in various states, and even a tepid attempt by the Justice Department, to put the breaks on our modern Sheriffs of Nottingham. In Wyoming, however, Republican Governor Matt Mead isn’t having any of it. This week, Mead vetoed the very popular SF14, a civil asset forfeiture reform bill. His reason? Drug crime! His argument, however, is — and this is the technical term — bullshit, as SF14 only required the government to hold off its takings until you were actually convicted of a crime. So they would still steal your “ill-gotten gains”, but they would give you those constitutional protections you were guaranteed.
But the real reason this wannabe King John vetoes the law is more insidious, as Mead related that asset forfeiture “it is important and it is a right.” He, and many others in the political class, think the government — the political class — has the right to take your property. It’s only a short hop from the right to take your property if you’ve committed a crime to the government having the right to your property, period.