8/10/2005Albuquerque, NM Car Seizures Unconstitutional
A New Mexico District Court judge has issued a permanent injunction against New Mexico's car seizure ordinance.
New Mexico District Court Judge Theresa Baca issued a permanent injunction yesterday against the city of Albuquerque preventing them from seizing the automobiles of motorists accused -- but not convicted -- of driving while intoxicated. The Albuquerque city ordinance also would have allowed seizures for those accused of running a red light twice based solely upon evidence from a red light camera.
Judge Baca found that the ordinance did not provide the constitutionally required due process for defendants. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed their challenge to the ordinance in May.
"What we have a problem with is the city presuming that someone is guilty simply because they were arrested and then taking their car away and possibly even profiting from that car seizure when they auction it off months later," ACLU director Peter Simonson argued. "It's our belief that you can't punish before finding guilt."