Now, nearly a year into his first term, I have to wonder whether we elected a prosecutor in Marion County who doesn't understand or care about the term "civil liberties."
|Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry|
In the last year or so, the Indianapolis Star did a series of articles on civil forfeiture, documenting numerous cases of the abuses associated with the system and how it has led to civil liberties abuses while prosecutors and law enforcement officials have profited off those abuses. The stories were shocking.
In the midst of these stories, Marion County had an election for prosecutor which was won by Democrat Terry Curry. Since Curry was a former defense attorney and since he is a Democrat, the party which claims to stand up for civil liberties, I figured Curry might curb some of the abuses of civil forfeiture under Brizzi's watch. But Curry's rhetoric suggested otherwise. Despite the problems with civil forfeiture being exposed nearly weekly in the Indianapolis Star, Curry argued that civil forfeiture should be expanded to non-drug related offenses.
The first sign of trouble out of Curry's office was the decision to drop the Omnisource scrap metals felony charges in exchange for $300,000 for his office and law enforcement officials. The trading of a criminal prosecution for cold hard cash is as bad if not worse than anything Brizzi was accused of in office.
What is thus far unreported though is that Curry has more than lived up to his campaign promise of expanding civil forfeiture. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office is currently seizing cars, bank accounts and other property from individuals accused (but not necessarily charged) of all sorts of criminal activity. The Prosecutor's Office is getting ex parte orders from courts to seize the property without their even knowing what is being done.
An example is a truck driver I talked to. Because he's on the road most of the time, he uses a friend's apartment in Indianapolis for his mailing address. Law enforcement officials searched the apartment office had the apartment based on allegations about the renter and found the truck driver's banking account information. Unbeknownn to the truck driver, the prosecutor filed a motion under seal and obtained an ex parte order freezing his bank account. The truck driver had no idea what was happening.
Indeed that is the practice of this Marion County Prosecutor's Office. Law enforcement officials grab everything they can during a raid,then the Prosecutor's Office will file a complaint in court alleging that the property was used in connection with a crime, even though the prosecutors often have absolutely no evidence of that fact upon which they base when they make that claim. (That whole ethical requirement that attorneys have a good faith basis in the truth of what they're filing is ignored by the prosecutor's office.) Those prosecutors know that a large percentage of people will simply walk away from their property rather than hire an attorney and fight the allegations.
As I have said in this blog, what happened to Democrats who believe in civil liberties? It is clear that Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry cares not one whit about the Constitution and people's rights under it.