Dump a Couch, Lose Your Beemer


The Los Angeles City Council yesterday passed a new law allowing cops to seize the cars of people caught using them to dump trash, buy drugs, or "pander." Previously, you could only have your car legally stolen if you were caught soliciting a prostitute, or drag-racing in the streets. The reasoning behind the draconian punishment was classic:

Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who pushed for the punishments against those caught dumping furniture and large pieces of debris, said the law is necessary because nothing else has worked.

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  1. So the moral of the story is:

    If you’re going to dump a couch, use a stolen car.

  2. “Legally stolen?” Doesn’t that phrase belong in the same category as “jumbo shrimp,” “military intelligence” or “Arianna supporter?”

  3. “Legally stolen” is fine by me. It’s the non-euphemistic way of saying “seized by the state”. Certainly the car is being taken unfairly by force, and certainly the gov’t has a legal, though obviously not moral, right to take it. Ergo, legally stolen.

  4. Holy shit, how the fuck do these “forfeture” (sp) laws remain unchallenged? Is there a history of them standing up as constitutional? Un-be-leave-a-bull.

  5. If legally seizing a car is “legal[-ized] theft,” then so are fines. Any other punishment is suspect as well, as the death penalty is “legalized murder,” prison sentences are “legalized kidnapping and false imprisonment,” and even parole involves “legalized stalking.” Come to think of it, just about any action taken by a government could be characterized as a “legalized” form of some other naughty thing citizens aren’t supposed to do on their own. Do you really want to go down that path?

  6. Article also mentioned that it would apply to gang members. Flash a gang sign, lose the car. Why just mess with the 5th amendment when you can get a twofer with the 1st?

  7. This certainly isn’t new. For years now underaged kids (even if you are 19, 20, 20.5 years old) caught drinking could get their drivers license taken away for at least a year. Not drinking and driving mind you, not even drinking in/around/near/while thinking of a car. Just drinking, anywhere, even in your own home or a friends home.

    Its only going to get worse. Next thing you know jaywalking will get your shoes taken away. Everything you “own” is basically just on loan from the Feds/State, until such a time as they see fit to take it back.

  8. Perhaps dumping should be, as it was years ago, a free service provided by most cities.

  9. Let’s not forget that the govt. already uses these Orwellian oxymorons: If the IRS can claim “voluntary compliance” with the tax code, then the ruling class shouldn’t mind us claiming our possessions are “legally stolen,” particularly through “voluntary compliance.”

  10. What all of these behaviors have in common is relatively affluent people shitting on low income neighborhoods. Dumping your trash in the hood so you can keep your lawn clean is pretty much the perfect metaphor here. Targetting the rich kids’ beemers is wonderful poetic justice.

    But’s it’s still unconstitutional when done without a conviction.

  11. Well it’s one way to reduce traffic congestion anyway.

  12. So why is it so hard to get rid of stuff, anyway? Trash collection should be a no-brainer. Did the city of LA decide to penalize its citizens for “excessive” consumption?

    Where I live, you can put out all kinds of things for the trash, including furniture, lumbers, and–a few times a year–appliances.

    When the law does not meet people’s needs, they go around it, every time.

  13. Yeah, I see people with their bimmers loaded to the hilt with trash dumping their shit everywhere in downtown Atlanta. You would think these people would be affluent enough to just pay someone to take their old stuff away so they wouldn’t have to stain the interior of the BMW. But, what the hell do I know?

  14. It’s also not that hard to get people to come, pick up your garbage, and haul it away. I just paid a guy 80 bucks to take some stuff in his truck to the dump. Now, of course, I’m trusting him to actually TAKE it there, and not just dump it on someone else’s lawn. But confiscating cars? If ‘nothing else worked’, maybe they didn’t try anything useful. What else is gonna become forfeit because people allegedly broke a law?

  15. xlrq, sure I’m willing to go down that path. So long as you notice that I included the word “unfairly” (probably should have said “unjust”) in describing the gov’ts taking of cars. So ok, if the gov’t executes an innocent man, with full knowledge of his innocence, but does it in accord with the law, we’ll have “legalized murder”. I’d only give this “legalized x” label to something the gov’t really shouldn’t be doing.

    Hey, did anyone else see that 60 Minutes bit about the guy who’s having his house taken away under “eminent domain” laws… and the neighborhood’s being converted into a privately-owned condo complex or some such? The guy (who looked a lot like Ed McMahon) who was interviewed was great; made me want to send him some money to fight the good fight.

  16. Another blatant violation of the Fifth Amendment where the state profits from law enforcement thus ensuring abuse and corruption.

  17. So the moral of the story is:

    Get the fuck out of LA.

  18. “Holy shit, how the fuck do these “forfeture” (sp) laws remain unchallenged?”

    Well erf, first of all you find a politician who either wants to get re-elected or has a idological belief that the state needs to take people’s property in the name of being “tough on crime.” Then you have the electorate, who more than often believe that since they are “innocent” of such dastardly deeds and will never have to worry about losing their caravan’s, will go along with the idea because it looks like the state is doing something. You’ll have state and local law enforcement go along with it, because it will make them look tough and authoritative, and they’ll get some of the proceeds from the auctions of the property. Finally, there will be the Judges who will say this is perfectly constitutional on the grounds that the government has a “compelling interest” to fight drug pushers, gang bangers, and litterbugs, so the state can seize their property.

  19. Can anyone say: “Insetive for Police Coruption.”.
    Oh wait, its the LAPD just change the “Insetive for” to “Even more massive Police Coruption”.


  20. What do you expect from a town where supposedly learned officials provide gems like this, at the time when another seizure ordinance went into effect:

    “LAPD Can Seize Cars of Prostitutes’Customers

    Los Angelels officials announced Thursday that the LAPD will begin enforcing a new ordinance that allows them to seize the cars of people trolling for prostitutes. City Attorney Rock Delgadillo says that even if a person is not charged or convicted of soliciting a prostitute, the police can still take the car and sell it. ”

    from LA Times article, don’t remember the date.

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