Due Process? Not When There Is Money in it for US

One of the worst violations of due process on the books today is law enforcement's ability to seize cash and assets from people only suspected to be drug dealers, with no due process whatsoever.  In fact, the only process involved is that, once seized, the private citizen from which the assets were taken must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the money or assets are legitimately theirs, rather than the other way around.  This was a great case in point.

Along the same lines, the city of Washington DC has decided that all that due process stuff is getting in the way of their harvesting the maximum amount of cash from drivers:

In an attempt to stem the loss of revenue from motorists contesting
parking tickets, cities are effectively eliminating the traditional due
process rights of motorists to defend themselves at an impartial
hearing. By the end of next year, Washington, DC's Department of Motor
Vehicles (DMV) will not allow anyone who believes he unfairly received
a citation to have his day in an administrative hearing.

will complete the phase-out of in-person adjudication of parking
tickets in favor of mail-in and e-mail adjudication by December 2008,"
the Fiscal Year 2008 DMV plan states.

The move is intended to allow automated street sweeper parking ticket machines
to boost the number of infractions cited well beyond the 1.6 million
currently handed out by meter maids. As one-third of those who contest
citations in the city are successful, the hearings cut significantly into the $100 million in revenue tickets generate each year.

the DMV's plan, motorists will only be able to object to a ticket by
email or letter where city employees can ignore or reject letters in
bulk without affected motorists having any realistic recourse.

Thanks to Radley Balko, who also found this little gem:

In Boston and other cities in Massachusetts,
motorists cannot challenge a $100 parking ticket in court without first
paying a $275 court fee. If found innocent, the motorist does not
receive a refund of the $275.


  1. Greg:

    Sounds like a darn good reason to do what we can to take our business elsewhere.

    We got a rude awakening in Spokane, WA the other day.
    It seems that the city has an ordinance that sets
    a 12 hour time limit for parking anywhere in the city,
    including in residential areas.

    We were here a year and a half before we found that out.

    At least they left a note the day before (24 hour notice,)
    but we missed it, since we frequently don't drive that
    car for several days in a row. (It's a 4runner, in good shape,
    not a wreck.) Only $30, but still...

    I guess Spokane had to pay some bills.

    Gov has to get its graft er... money somehow.

  2. M. Hodak:

    Affirmation of asset forfeiture laws are among the biggest boners of the Supreme Court in the last 30 years. Based on an archaic branch of common law, a majority of the Supremes, with a straight face, ruled that pre-trial seizures did not penalize the owners since the case is against the property. As in "The U.S. vs. $124,700." This is where respect for the law begins swirling around the rim.