The People of the State of Illinois v. 1996 Cadillac Sedan

The Chicago area is in debt. Deep in debt. And the bureaucrats are getting desperate.

So desperate, in fact, that the city has leveled some of the most punitive — and most ridiculous — civil forfeiture laws in all the country.

Take the case of Spencer Byrd. He’s a carpenter and an auto mechanic on the side. Sometimes in his role of auto mechanic, Byrd would offer a client a ride somewhere if he needed some time to work on their car.

During one such trip, he was pulled over. Unbeknownst to Byrd, his passenger was carrying a package of heroin. Both he and the other man were taken to the precinct for questioning. Byrd was released without being arrested or charged with anything.

However, the police refused to release his car. It had been used in transporting drugs, so even though Byrd was cleared or any wrongdoing, his car, apparently, was still culpable.

That was two years ago. Byrd is still fighting to get his car back. And to recover the $3,500 worth of tools that were in his trunk when the car was seized.

Now you might think any fair-minded judge would order the release of the car. And you’d be right. After filing a hardship case, where Byrd illustrated that he needed the car — and the tools—in order to go to job sites and make a living, a state judge found in his favor and ordered the release of his car.

The Chicago Police Department said they’d be happy to release his car just as soon as he paid the storage fees that had been accumulating since his car was impounded. It’s money Byrd doesn’t have. And the longer he has to wait to reclaim his car, the higher the fees go.

It’s a crazy story. But it’s also true. And it can happen anywhere in the country.

When governments go into debt — and governments run by leftists are the worst — if they can’t tax their citizens for more revenues, they’ll find other ways to part average, hardworking people from their money.

Speak out against property forfeiture laws and against local and state laws that essentially drive good people into debt through excessive fines and fees.

And if you want to give a little spike to your blood pressure, you can read the rest of Spencer Byrd’s story here.