Forfeiture's Demise | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Forfeiture's Demise 

Asset forfeiture rears its head in Utah, the AG's thoughts on job protections for LGBTQ folks, and Utah's sexist attitudes.

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Forfeiture's Demise
If asset forfeiture seems awfully wrong to you, it kind of is. The practice has long been a tool of law enforcement to get the bad guys before they can take off with the money. Congress was responding to that troublesome War on Drugs with the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The idea is to catch the bad guys and take all their money, homes, cars—everything—before they're charged or convicted. Problems arise, however, when you catch an innocent person. In Utah, the Supreme Court has sided with a man who lost $500,000 for being accused of following another car too closely, the Deseret News reported. And many other states are jumping on the bandwagon. This might be the beginning of the end. The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing its first case on asset forfeiture in 20 years, according to Forbes magazine.


Reyes' Reasons
Attorney General Sean Reyes is quite the cutup. As he joins 14 other attorneys general to limit job protections for LGBTQ folks, he has his reasons. Really, he does. The case, he said in a Salt Lake Tribune article, "was not about 'whether prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity is good or bad policy.'" Nope. It was about Congress, not the federal courts, making those decisions. Of course, this is just a technical problem, though we're not sure what the federal courts are good for, if not to decide cases. Utah Republicans have never liked the idea of "protected classes of people," as Eagle Forum maven Gayle Ruzicka says. LDS teachings, she says, encourage people to act according to their own conscience. Of course, that requires a conscience.


Not Me Too
Perhaps the most troubling revelation about sexism in Utah is that women themselves are the problem. Economists ranked Utah No. 2 in sexism, according to a Washington Post story, and "women's own 'internalized' sexist attitudes," made the difference. Utah Valley University professor Susan Madsen explained that it's because of their social and cultural upbringing—that Mormon thing that espouses staying at home and baking more bread. The news comes amid another report from WalletHub that called Utah the worst state for women's equality. And The Salt Lake Tribune reported another study showing women's wages declining over the past few years. Women here had the fourth-highest suicide rate of any state. How about education? According to the Trib, UVU researchers found "Utah was ranked 51 (among all states and Washington, D.C.) for the share of science-and-technology jobs held by women." All this speaks to a #NotMetoo movement in Utah because that's what women want.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

More by Katharine Biele

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