Libertarian wants end to governments’ ability to profit from fines
By: Charles Ashby for Grand Junction Sentinel
Sunday, July 9, 2017
When the Colorado Legislature proposed and the governor later signed a bill limiting law enforcement’s use of civil asset forfeiture laws, police, prosecutors and even some county commissioners hit the roof.
They all said they needed the ability to keep such assets to help them fight crime.
Now, a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who lives in Littleton wants to take that idea one step further.
Steve Kerbel, who vied to be his party’s presidential nominee last year, submitted a proposed ballot measure Thursday that would prevent any Colorado governmental entity from the state on down from keeping any money they collect from fines or penalties.
Kerbel’s thinking is that most of those fines are not intended to dissuade people from doing bad things, but as a means to enrich governments or pad their ever-shrinking budgets.
“I’m not saying that every fine is for self-enrichment, but what I am saying is that we have given the government the privilege to enforce laws, and they have abused their authority,” Kerbel said.
“The goal here is to bring forth judicious enforcement based on the real intent of the law, rather than just taking advantage of the letter of the law.”
His proposal, which if approved would be on the 2018 ballot, would not limit or do away with fines, but redirect them.
Instead of the fining agency keeping that money, it first would go to reimburse a victim for any financial losses.
If there is no victim, such as in a speeding incident, the money would go to a charity of the fine payer’s choice.