Friday, May 04, 2007

penalized before convicted

The Washington Madam scandal currently underway points to a couple of issues. First is the fact that prostitution is illegal. I don't see why two (or more) people can have sex together after one person spends a couple of hundred dollars on wine, dinner, and a show, but to do the same with cash instead is illegal. It should be legalized, regulated (nobody under 18, health regulations, preventing it from becoming a public nuisance by prohibiting street walking, etc), and taxed. Then Palfrey wouldn't have to go thru the charade (which smells like blackmail) of getting prominent names to testify on her behalf that her escort service didn't offer sex. Which I doubt anybody believes.

But second, among the many many things Palfrey has said, she hits another good point: "Let's concentrate on forfeiture, this whole situation of seizing one's property before one is even convicted of anything, or, in this case, charged."

That is a valid concern. The Government is allowed to seize any of your assets they think were derived from certain illegal activities BEFORE getting a conviction. Yes, that's right. You can be charged with selling drugs for example, and the Feds can sell your house, your car, your college-age daughter's condo (bought in your name), all of that stuff before you are put before a jury of your peers. Now, it's bad enough to penalize somebody before obtaining a conviction. It's even worse when police raid the wrong person's house and make the wrong arrests, and have already SOLD all their stuff before they can prove the mistaken identity.

I'm sympathetic to doing something to prevent all assets being sold off before a conviction. But they shouldn't be disposed of by the government until the case is resolved. And in Palfrey's case, a judge should give her access to some of her money so she can mount a legal defense. After all, some friend of the judge's might be on that list!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home