Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Guilty of Innocence

Spencer Byrd, crime, asset forfeiture, police, Chicago, law enforcement, theft, stealing, government

If you are innocent of a crime, should you be punished as if guilty? Despite no arrest, no trial, no conviction?

If you say “Yes,” raise your hand.

I see no raised hands among my regular readers. But my readers don’t include the wicked Chicago officials who impounded the automobile of Spencer Byrd.

Byrd’s case is reported in a Reason article by C.J. Ciaramella. The author relates how Chicago extracts money by grabbing the vehicles of innocent people. The drug war and asset forfeiture laws help make it possible.

Byrd is a carpenter and auto mechanic who sometimes gives rides to clients stuck without their cars. One night, when he was stopped on the road for an allegedly broken turn signal, police discovered that a new client riding with him was carrying heroin. Byrd was questioned but quickly released. He was never charged with a crime.

But his car was impounded; it’s been impounded for years. This has hurt his business. For one thing, he has $3,500 worth of tools in the trunk.

Byrd persuaded a judge to order that his car be returned to him. But the city still wouldn’t release it unless Byrd paid $8,790 in fees and fines (later reduced to $2,000). He is still struggling to retrieve his car, within a labyrinth the injustices of which I’ve barely touched on.

May I suggest . . . ? If you do ever recover your Cadillac, Mr. Byrd, put pedal to the floor and get the heck out of Dodge.

I mean, Chicago.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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By: CS Admin


  1. Not So Free says:

    Unfortunately, it’s not just Chicago.
    It’s nationwide.
    To add insult to injury, AG Sessions is all gung-ho about it.

  2. Barbara Cunningham says:

    Civil asset forfeiture laws are nothing more than thinly disguised bills of attainder. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the United States Constitution, Article I, Sections 9 and 10 specifically prohibit bills of attainder to the federal and state governments.

    For those of you unfamiliar with history, a bill of attainder was a declaration by government that you are an outlaw and your property forfeited to the government. No arrest. No indictment. No trial. No conviction. Merely a declaration and, poof, you’re homeless and destitute.

    If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, what do you think it is?

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