Government protecting the guilty
A recent article in a regional newspaper related a story of a woman losing all her possessions when a bank erred in providing correct information to a repossession company. While she was absent from her home, it was completely emptied and everything she had taken to a dump. According to the local prosecutor, the bank “cannot face criminal charges” nor can the repossession company.
I understand why the repossession company couldn’t be prosecuted if they were acting in good faith on the information from the bank. But why is the bank immune? The Fourth Amendment to our Constitution clearly states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”
Elbridge Gerry stated in 1787 “can we be so ungrateful to the memory of the patriots … so soon after their manly exertions to save us from such a detestable instrument of arbitrary power, to subject ourselves to the insolence of any petty revenue officer to enter our houses, search, insult, and seize at pleasure?”
It is clear to me this woman’s Fourth Amendment protection has been violated when government protects those responsible for the error. There appears to be a 14th Amendment issue also, to wit: “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Clearly this injustice needs to be rectified and government should not protect the employee making such a grievous mistake. These were not just things that were disposed of; it was a woman’s life that was trashed and her memories stolen.
Holding financial entities criminally accountable for their errors will force them to be circumspect in their repossessions.