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Orange County Register: Stop Property Seizures in Drug War


January 1993

California's law permitting seizure of property without due process should be allowed to expire on January 1, 1994, according to a recent editorial in The Orange County Register ("Strong Arm of the Law," The Orange County Register, 12/31/92, B10).

The editorial discusses the case of Christopher and Christine Tainter of Thousand Oaks, California, whose home was seized after 15 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Ventura County Sheriff's officials stormed the property and found seven marijuana plants. No trial was held for the seizure, which is not required under state and federal law.

The editorial observes that such seizures "which have become epidemic in recent years, plainly defy the Fifth Amendment guarantee that a person's property cannot be taken 'without due process of law,' and also challenge the Fourth Amendment guarantee against 'unreasonable searches and seizures.'"

The Tainters' fate could have been worse, the editorial noted, referring to the shooting death by law enforcement officials on October 2 of partially blind, 61-year old recluse Donald P. Scott in Ventura County in a drug raid that yielded no drugs and no drug-related evidence (See NewsBriefs, "Police Victims and Corruption," December 1992).