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IQ: Seize and desist

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If all things were equal, when a marijuana plant was discovered growing in the garden of Colorado Gov. Bill Owens' mansion last summer, he would have been subject to the forfeiture laws that the rest of us saps must live with. Under the current law, cops can seize your car, house or other property if you're suspected of criminal activity -- even if you're innocent and the charges are later dropped or dismissed.

Now, our same Gov. Owens is in a key position. He currently has the power to sign or kill a bill that would mandate reforms to the archaic law. The question is: Will he or won't he?

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Melissa McCarthy
West Side
Brokerage operations manager

What's your view on the ability of the police to seize property even if you're found not guilty? We're responsible for our actions, yes, but we're also innocent until proven guilty.

What change should be made in current law? They shouldn't be allowed to seize property prior to conviction. At the very least, the property owner should be able to keep it if there isn't a conviction.

Would you have qualms about buying a seized car at a police auction? My sister's boss bought a car at one of those auctions for $250. I've never done it, but I've considered it. I worry, though, that the original owner might come and hunt me down.

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Marci Mazzetta
Memorial Park area
Airline employee

What's your view on current property seizure laws? I'm a firm believer in not giving the government any more power than it already has. I sort of agree with the law for chronic offenders who abuse the law repeatedly, but not for one-time offenders or lower-level offenders. The present law is too open to abuse.

What should police be allowed to use seized property for? It should be used to compensate people who were unfairly victimized by this practice. The rest should go to charity.

Would you consider buying seized property at an auction? Maybe, but I'd have to know the particulars behind the seizure of anything I wanted to purchase.

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John Willhoite
CC dorm
CC student

What's your view of the seizure laws as they now stand? It seems completely irrational to me that your property can be seized before you're convicted of a crime, or even if you're acquitted of a charge -- especially for people who can't afford legal help.

What should money gained from such seizures be used for? For the benefit of people -- culture, infrastructure, etc.

Would you consider buying seized property at a police auction? It would depend on where the money goes. If it's for the benefit of the community at large, maybe.

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