Column: Is turning right on a red light your California birthright? Absolutely not! State law gives drivers the right to change lanes to avoid a vehicle turning in front, even if the driver does not see the turning vehicle. Is turning right on a red light your right to do so? Absolutely not! State law gives drivers the right to do so, even if the driver does not see the turning vehicle.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee is set to consider a bill that would prohibit police from seizing the money that people have on their bank accounts that they have not yet used or spent. The practice of seizing the money has been common for years, but under the proposed legislation the money would be locked away until the individual has used it or left it. This means that people who have been accused or convicted of crimes, but who have not yet received their fines are still required to hand over their money to the court.
The bill has received strong support among reform-minded groups, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Coalition to Protect Crime Victims’ Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Organization for Women (NOW).
“It’s just ridiculous that they don’t have to use it all up before they have another criminal charge on their record,” says Amanda Gaille, executive director of NOW, who has spoken out against the practice and testified before Congress on the matter.
“The idea of depriving people because they’ve had to fight to pay for a lawyer is insulting.”
The bill has been introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), a long-time civil liberties advocate. In July, Wiener released a statement saying that police officers have turned to the practice in order to catch people who have not yet been convicted.
“Sometimes, we’re going to catch you red-handed. And the police are just going to do a simple search; they’re going to take about 100 dollars out of your bank account,” Wiener said. “And what is that for? So they can pursue you. And they’ll charge you even if they don’t have enough to convict you — because the 100 bucks is like your bond money. And the police aren’t going to just keep it to hold you until you pay your fine.