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Area thought leaders weigh in on property forfeiture in drug, gun crimes

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Perry White, the Watertown Times city editor and occasional columnist, wrote a column on Jefferson County's proposal to make misdemeanor drug and gun perps forfeit property used in crimes or cash that was a result of it.
And Perry doesn't like it one bit.
"Here’s who will be hurt with a misdemeanor seizure law: young fools who haven’t learned any better; poor people with no political “juice” simply because they are poor; families who are connected to the “crime” in only the most peripheral ways; and working stiffs who commit minor gun violations. These are not folks who should be targeted for exceptional punishment, and seizure of property is exceptional," Perry writes.
Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham, who today is a civil libertarian, also condemned the move.
"Confiscation of property corrupts the system by placing a reward on enforcing certain laws," Hizzoner writes.
Proponents of the law argue that it's time to get tough on drug dealers, particularly with a swirling bath salts epidemic. And they say that District Attorney Cindy Intschert won't abuse the system, which has to go through layers of approval, including from a court.

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