Massachusetts fisherman Carlos Rafael pulled in what should have been a life-changing fish this week, but before he could unload it for a huge payday, his local chapter of ridiculous-rule-enforcers, A.K.A., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) enforcement division, took him down. (Whew! That was close.) You see, although Rafeal had filed all the appropriate paperwork to catch tuna, the behemoth in question was caught in his boat’s nets and not via rod and reel, as is specified, well, someplace. As a result, the authorities had no choice but to pinch the fish when Rafael’s boat returned to port. The expected $400,000 payday that could come from the sale of fish will very likely go into NOAA’s asset forfeiture fund. Nice racket. (Or, should that be, nice rod and reel?)
H/T: James Nellis
…cross-posted at LRCBlog.
The Institute for Justice, which has fought the state on a number of fronts, including eminent domain abuse (the infamous Kelo v. New London case), economic liberty, and most recently political speech in the wake of the Citizens United ruling, is now taking aim at a lucrative revenue stream for law enforcement agencies nationwide, one that doesn’t require higher taxes or even a traffic ticket: asset forfeiture laws.
All it takes for someone to lose their car and everything in it, is to be pulled over by the cops with “probable cause” of wrongdoing. It could even be their house, if the cops suspect any sort of shenanigans such as drug sales taking place there. They don’t even have to find any evidence of a crime, and the owners need not be charged with one. The police can seize the property, sell it, and pocket the proceeds–and in most states, there is nothing the former owner can do about it.