You may be aware that cops can simply steal — yes, that’s exactly the correct word — cash found on your person or in your vehicle, in the course of a traffic stop, say — solely on account of it being an “excessive” amount.
“Excessive” being entirely up to them to define.
It could be $10,000 — or $1,000. There is no specific amount of cash defined by statute that crosses a legal threshold. Thus, one cannot know ahead of time not to carry, say, $5,000 — but $500 is ok.
It is enough that a government worker with a gun considers whatever cash you are found to have in your possession “excessive.”
And these armed government workers can legally steal it from you on the basis of the cash being the presumptive — but not proved — fruits of some illegal activity, usually imputed to be the selling or buying of arbitrarily illegal drugs.
This bears repeating — it need not be proved in a court of law that the money found was obtained illegally.
It is not even necessary to formally charge a person to legally steal their money — provided the thief is an armed government worker stealing it on behalf of the government.
Interestingly, these armed government workers prefer to be called law enforcement, even when they aren’t enforcing any known laws and are in fact abusing the law — it being legal to possess cash and transport cash. This of course matters not at all when armed government workers decide they want your cash.
Then, they just take it.
That is, steal it.
How else to describe it?
And you are powerless — legally — to do a thing about it.
Perhaps, later — at your expense, both of time and money — you will be able to prove your innocence of drug trafficking to the satisfaction of a judge and he may return your money. But it is no longer necessary for a court to establish your guilt.
This is not new — or news.
Here is something that’s both:
It has been proposed that if an armed government worker finds a “hidden compartment” in your vehicle, you be sent to prison for two years and your vehicle forfeited to the state. Nothing illegal need be in the hidden compartment. It is sufficient merely that it exists.
“Presumptive” evidence that you are trying to hide something.
Like an “excessive” amount of cash, say?
The irony is sickening.
On the one hand, the state has de facto (but not de jure) criminalized the physical possession of “excessive” amounts of cash. This fact makes it risky as hell to — as a for-instance — go to look at a used car with an “excessive” amount of cash on your person — even though used car shopping with cash (a reasonable thing to do; the sight of cash on the barrelhead often helping to facilitate a good deal on the vehicle) is still perfectly legal.
So, you install a hidden compartment to hide the cash from the armed government workers. Now you are to be sent to prison for that — even if no legal cash is found and no trace of arbitrarily illegal drugs is found.
The cubby itself is now criminal!
The proposed law (see here) defines the mere presence of a “hidden compartment” as “prima facie evidence” that a car is being used as a mechanical mule to cart around illegal drugs — or legal but “excessive” cash.
That’s all the pretext they need to steal your car — and your person. Two years in prison (five, for a “second offense”) solely because your vehicle is found to have a “hidden compartment.”
Many of which are factory installed, by the way.
One of the potential horrors of this business is the fact that many new cars — especially SUVs but also ordinary sedans — have “hidden compartments” built in, for the entirely crazy reason that people like to put valuable things — and not just cash — in an out-of-sight place.
A legally owned handgun, for example.
Do you suppose there is any chance of high IQ and always fair and reasonable armed government workers being familiar with the various factory installed “hidden compartments” — and able to tell the difference between one of those and one installed by an owner?
Do you suppose the same armed government workers who routinely steal people’s lawfully possessed cash merely by eructing the magic word — “excessive!” — which is defined in no law book anywhere — will fail to seize a juicy $40,000 vehicle when they find a “hidden compartment” — whether installed by you or General Motors?
Remember: It is not required that you be charged or convicted for the state to seize your money. It is up to you and me to prove — after the fact — that the money didn’t come into our possession via illegal drugs.
Sentence first — verdict afterward!
It is not hyperventilative — given this ugly reality — to imagine that it will be up to us to prove that a factory-installed “hidden compartment” was in fact installed by GM — and not by us.
After our $40,000 vehicle has been taken from us. Perhaps from our prison cell.
And why the hell should it be a felony to install a “hidden compartment” in our vehicles, if we wish to do so? There are reasonable, lawful reasons for wanting to have such compartments.
Up to this moment, the government decreed modifications to a vehicle to be illegal only if they affected the emissions output or safety of the vehicle — or the safety of other people. So, as an example, it is not legal to remove a catalytic converter or mount aircraft landing lights on the roof a car. But a “hidden compartment” does not harm the environment and threatens no one’s safety — and unless something illegal is found in the “hidden compartment,” criminalizing the compartment itself is a blinding assault on whatever threadbare remnants of personal liberty remain to us.
The precedent set could easily be expanded to our homes. Why not? What possible reason would stand in the way?
Does anyone care?
Americans should be in the streets. They should have been in the streets years ago. But that would take Americans who take exception to being robbed in the streets by armed government workers — and such Americans don’t seem to exist anymore.