No, this isn’t another post about sex-bots. Here’s the story: This Massachusetts Lawmaker Wants to Throw Folks in Prison for Having Secret Car Compartments. No shit. Excerpt:
A hidden compartment in your car (or plane, or boat) could land you at least two years in prison in Massachusetts if a lawmaker gets his way.
Blame it on the war on drugs and pressure from law enforcement lobbying. Stephan Hay, a Democrat state representative for Fitchburg, has introduced a bill that would criminalize operating a vehicle with a hidden compartment designed for the purpose of secretly transporting drugs and related contraband, equipment, currency, or weapons.
The bill, H.1266, separately criminalizes the process of altering a vehicle with the intent of creating such hidden compartments. In each case the bill calls for a two-year mandatory minimum sentence, five years for subsequent offenses. The bill also allows police to seize the modified vehicle.
The bill does not require that there actually be contraband in the hidden compartment, only that a person’s “intent” is to use it to transport illicit goods. Then there’s this clarification in the section authorizing forfeiture:
Proof that a conveyance contains a hidden compartment as defined in this section shall be prima facie evidence that the conveyance was used intended for use in and for the business of unlawfully manufacturing, dispensing, or distributing controlled substances.
The proper response to a pol proposing this kind of thing, of course, ends with the phrase “and the horse you rode in on.”
Here’s my question: How does law enforcement determine whether a compartment is “designed for the purpose of secretly transporting drugs and related contraband, equipment, currency, or weapons?” Never mind, I’ll answer; they can’t. I could build a secret compartment in the trunk of my car to hide Mrs. Animal’s Christmas presents, and were I in Massachusetts I could find myself in the hoosegow for so doing.
This is a new low, even for Massachusetts. One wonders if this is another angle for law enforcement to use to unconstitutionally seize private property using the horrendous doctrine of civil forfeiture.
Massachusetts is a neat place in many ways; beautiful scenery, compelling historical landmarks, friendly folks, good food and some fine craft beers. But add this to the many reasons I wouldn’t want to live in this deep, deep blue state.