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Scariest People of 2016: No. 3-Michael Guest

By   /   December 29, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 8 of 10 in the series Scariest People of 2016

2016 might go down as one of the most unusual years in the history of American politics. Voters chose historic change, but in all too many ways, it was business as usual.

Too many bureaucrats still put their own interests over the interests of the people they were supposed to be serving. Too many officials – elected and unelected – continued to act more like petty tyrants than servants of the people, imposing their own vision of how others should live their lives on citizens perfectly capable of making those decisions for themselves. 

This week we’ll highlight the scariest examples by shining a light on those who seem to think your liberty is less important than their power.

Here’s No. 3.

Michael Guest, the district attorney for Madison and Rankin counties in Mississippi, has an enviable record as a prosecutor. His office claims to have closed more than 10,000 cases in the two counties since he took office in 2008.

His views on the U.S. Constitution’s property protections under the Fourth Amendment, however, are more notorious than noteworthy.

Guest told the Civil Asset Forfeiture Task Force in July that he believes that taking away property doesn’t rise to the level of taking away one’s liberty.

“There is judicial oversight. We have statutes. We have judges that hear evidence,” Guest said. “Cases are made. There are hearings that are held. I believe there is a big difference between a judicial procedure on property and taking someone’s liberty.

“If I’m going to try to take away your freedom of movement and put you in jail and restrict your freedom of movement, now that is sacred. When we’re talking someone’s money or property, that pales in comparison to taking someone’s liberty.”

The task force — composed of legislators and representatives from the Mississippi Supreme Court, law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders and the attorney general’s office — was created in 2016 to come up with a proposal to overhaul the state’s civil asset forfeiture system.

Under current law, law enforcement agencies simply have to connect property to a crime to seize it, and can use the proceeds to supplement their budgets. Those whose property is seized have to prove in a civil court their property was not involved with or the proceeds from a crime.

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Part of 10 in the series Scariest People of 2016


Steve Wilson is the Mississippi reporter for Watchdog.org. Beginning his career as a sports writer, he has worked for the Mobile Press-Register (Ala.), the LaGrange Daily News (Ga.), Highlands Today (Fla.),McComb Enterprise-Journal (Miss.), the Biloxi Sun Herald(Miss.) and the Vicksburg Post (Miss.) Steve's work has appeared on Fox News, the Huffington Post and the Daily Signal. His bachelor's degree is in journalism with a minor in political science from the University of Alabama. Steve is also a member of the Mississippi Press Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He served four-plus years in the United States Coast Guard after his high school graduation and is a native of Mobile, Ala.