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Illinois: Cook County Car Seizures to Net $1.7 Million
Seizing cars from motorists merely accused of crimes will net Cook County, Illinois $1.7 million a year.

Seized car
Revenue from automobile seizures is expected to generate $1.7 million for Cook County, Illinois. Statewide, cities have bent the law, seized cars for offenses unrelated to driving and conducted illegal confiscation operations for the sake of maintaining a steady cash flow. Now, in addition to the $25 million a year that Chicago expects to earn, Cook County has raised $700,000 in just five months by charging motorists $500 each time a car is seized.

The fee applies to anyone merely accused of soliciting a prostitute -- a practice that the California Supreme Court struck down as unlawful last month. It also applies to those accused, but not convicted, of drunk driving. Police also set up roadblocks to impound the vehicle of anyone whose papers are not in order.

"The ordinance will bring more than $1 million in much needed new revenue to the county treasury," Sheriff Tom Dart said.

In Kane County, the village of Sugar Grove passed an ordinance authorizing the auctioning of six confiscated vehicles. The village may put the 1991 Chevy S-10 truck, 1994 Toyota Corolla, 1995 Dodge Neon, 1994 Ford Explorer, 1995 Honda Civic and 1995 Chevy pickup for sale on a website. The village will spend the proceeds.

"The drivers didn't necessarily own the vehicles," Police Chief Brad Sauer explained, as reported in the Kane County Daily Herald.

Source: New vehicle-impound rule a moneymaker, Dart says (Chicago Tribune, 8/8/2007)

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