Quad City Woman Didn’t Commit a Crime – Property Seized Anyway
It's no secret that Illinois is in pretty bad shape. This law and the story of a Moline woman is further proof.
Did you know that your car, or other property, could be seized in the state of Illinois without you, personally, having committed a crime? It happened to an elderly woman in Moline last year.
In August 2015, 70-year-old Judy Wiese, let her grandson borrow her car to go to work. Judy didn't know he was driving on a revoked license and was surprised when she got the call from police, who pulled him over.
Because it's a crime, Judy's car was seized in the process. Her grandson got 10 days in jail. It's simple to think that she would get the car back, but due to 'asset forfeiture laws' in IL, which were expanded in the 1980's to seize the assets of drug lords, sadly, she didn't. These laws are affecting innocent grandmothers, or you, or anyone else who would be unfortunate enough to fall in this gap.
After five months of not having her car, relying on other ways to transport herself, including to medical appointments necessary for her health, a lawyer from Henry County took her case pro bono and helped her get it back. His involvement was because of one local reporter who took an interest in her case at the courthouse. Otherwise, with her limited income, Judy was trying to represent herself and the case was going nowhere, quickly.
The State of Illinois isn't being praised for its actions. They scored a D- from the Institute for Justice regarding civil asset forfeiture laws. The state has also taken more than 70 million dollars in profit, in the past two years alone.
I think the State of Illinois should rethink this and citizens should be well aware that this can and does happen. Would you know what to do if it did? I gather many of us are like Judy from Moline and didn't think it could.