Proposed Massachusetts law would let cops steal your car if it had a "hidden compartment"



Hey, remember how Bill Clinton doubled down on the War on Drugs, perfecting Reagan’s haphazard and shoddily made race-war into a well-oiled incarceration machine that turned America into the world’s greatest incarcerator, a nation that imprisoned black people at a rate that exceeded Apartheid-era South Africa?


Some Democrats want to double down on their party’s shameful Drug War history. Massachusetts Rep. Stephan Hay [D-Fitchfield, 617-722-2637] has introduced House Bill 1266, which treats the existence of “a hidden compartment” in a vehicle as “prima facie evidence that the conveyance was used intended for use in and for the business of unlawfully manufacturing, dispensing, or distributing controlled substances.”


This means that if a cop stops you and finds no drugs or other contraband, but decides that part of your car is a “hidden compartment,” that cop can subject your car to civil asset forfeiture — that is, they can steal it, and force you to sue them to get it back.


The role of the Democratic Party is often to take the Republicans’ stupidest, red-meat-for-the-base policies, sloppily designed and doomed to collapse under their own weight, and operationalize them, putting them on the kind of sound bureaucratic footing that they need to have real staying power. Exhibit A is the drug war, but see also Obama’s perfection of GWB’s mess of a mass-surveillance apparatus, turning it into an immortal and pluripotent weapon that Donald Trump now gets to wield.


Sponsored by Rep. Stephan Hay (D-Fitchfield), the measure, House Bill 1266, makes it a crime to have a hidden compartment in one’s vehicle or to try to add one—and it presumes that any hidden compartment in a vehicle is for “for the purpose of transporting or distributing controlled substances” and related contraband, such as cash or weapons. As the bill specifies in its asset forfeiture section:


Proof that a conveyance contains a hidden compartment as defined in this section shall be prima facie evidence that the conveyance was used intended for use in and for the business of unlawfully manufacturing, dispensing, or distributing controlled substances.




Outrageous Massachusetts Drug Bill Would Send You to Prison and Steal Your Car—No Drugs Needed
[Philip Smith/Alternet]


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