Target: Mike McGrath, Chief Justice of Montant Supreme Court
Goal: Praise ruling that prevents police from confiscating property of innocent citizens.
Montana police will no longer be allowed to take property from citizens who have not been convicted of a crime. The end of this unjust practice comes thanks to a ruling from the Montana Supreme Court.
In the unanimous ruling, the state court determined that citizens have a right to trial before their assets can be taken as a result of civil forefeiture cases. Prior to this decision, police could indiscriminately take private property from citizens if the items in question were suspected of being used to commit a crime, whether or not the citizen was ever found guilty of the charges against them.
The former police seizure laws in Montana can be found across the country and are notoriously problematic; a number of allegations have been leveled against police departments accused of unjustly taking property from innocent citizens. These laws have been challenged by the ForceChange petitions found here and here, and similar court cases are underway in multiple states.
Citizens are innocent until proven guilty and should not have their private property confiscated until they are formally convicted. Sign the petition below to applaud the protection of property rights.
Dear Justice McGrath,
I am writing to applaud your court’s recent decision to bar police from seizing property from citizens accused of a crime. Under the old civil forfeiture laws, police could confiscate property before a citizen was proven of committing any type of wrongdoing, so long as officers had probable cause that the assets in question were used to commit a crime.
Multiple police forces have been accused of abusing this power, and these problematic laws represent a serious threat to the privacy of citizens across the country. Our nation’s justice system is founded on the belief that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, but police seizure laws ignore this concept. Thank you for ruling against this unjust practice.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Conollyb