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Ok, one more thing

Via Ravenwood, Time magazine is looking at Tennessee’s Illegal Drug tax:

since the tax was enacted in 2004 it has netted Tennessee $3.5 million in extra revenue, 75% of which goes directly to the enforcement agencies that carry out the drug busts. Still, some opponents argue that adding such steep penalties on top of criminal charges amounts to a second punishment, and thus a violation of double jeopardy law. “Aside from this incredible acrimony and bill-collecting mentality,” says Knoxville attorney Gregory P. Isaacs, “you are divested of all your constitutional rights.”

For that reason, a Davidson County chancellor last summer ruled the tax unconstitutional, and stopped the state from collecting Robbins’ $1.1 million. But the Department of Revenue, confident the ruling will be overturned on appeal, is continuing with the assessments. Says Deputy Commissioner Reagan Farr, “It’s fine to have a criminal and a regulatory scheme running in tandem. We’ve made sure our statute is purely regulatory, not punitive.” But no matter how you define it, the bottom line for Tennessee is that crime pays.

Never heard the double jeopardy argument. I always looked at it from the taking property without due process of law angle.

Looks like they changed the sticker.

2 Responses to “Ok, one more thing”

  1. Xrlq Says:

    There is a case, whose name escapes me at the moment, that the looneytarians often quote in support of the double jeopardy argument. What they (accidentally on purpose?) miss is that the double jeopardy rule only prohibits successive prosecutions, not duplicative punishments for a single offense. As long as any given defendant is tried only once – for the tax, the underlying criminal offense, or both – there is no double jeopardy violation.

  2. Larry Patty Says:

    The crack tax is not the only tax that does that. You can be convicted of tax fraud, assessed criminal penalties in court and still be assessed civil fraud penalties by the department of Revenue. In fact, you can be assessed civil fraud penalties and never be criminally prosecuted.