Texas Pushing to Expand Checkpoints in Order to Raise Revenue Through Asset Forfeiture (Grits for Breakfast)
Thursday March 31st, 2011
Interesting testimony this morning on southbound checkpoints (SBs 288 and 294), an idea which was first suggested by senators on the Finance Committee as a possible revenue generator, aiming to tap into cartel profits heading south to fill their short-term budget hole.
Rob Kepple of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association told the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee that, under existing Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in Texas, it's "not a viable policy" to use southbound checkpoints to "bootstrap our way" into expanded asset seizures or to check immigration status. Ouch!
The most problematic question, said Kepple is whether DPS can do its own checkpoints aimed at searching for money, guns, drugs, stolen cars, etc., as opposed to checking for drivers licenses and liability insurance? Courts look at the intent of the checkpoint, he said, and if the intent is to generate forfeiture revenue that probably won't cut it.