Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Good work if you can get it: A Wyoming judge today ordered the state to return a man’s life savings, $92K in cash, that police officers confiscated for no reason during a traffic stop.
Parhamovich told The Associated Press that he was traveling to several performances in Western states and decided to bring his “life savings” because maintenance staff often came into his rented apartment in Madison, Wisconsin. The 50-year-old hid the money inside a speaker he was bringing along on the trip.
While driving near Cheyenne on March 13, officers with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations pulled him over. Parhamovich said officers questioned him about whether any drugs or large amounts of cash were in the car and then used a police dog before physically searching through his minivan and finding the money. Parhamovich said the officers implied that carrying that much cash was illegal. He lied and said it was a friend’s. Parhamovich said officers then told him that he could leave if he signed a form saying he was giving the $91,800 to the investigative agency for “narcotics law enforcement purposes.”
“I remember asking them a bunch of times: ‘What happens if I don’t sign this?'” Parhamovich said. “I couldn’t get a straight answer. What I was told kind of made it seem like I would go to jail or they’d detain me for a long time.”
He drove away with a $25 ticket for failing to wear a seatbelt, he said.
This behavior by the police and the state government is wrong and immoral on so many levels it is hard to count them all. Here are a few: It is not illegal to carry lots of cash. The Constitution expressly forbids the taking of private property without just compensation. Parhamovich was never charged with any crime and yet the state tried to keep his money.
There’s more in the article, including another case where Wyoming stole almost a half a million from an innocent citizen, never charged him with a crime, and was still allowed to keep the money because the state supreme court said it was okay for the state to steal.