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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 07-15-15, 11:43 AM   #76
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
Lets move onto the real news of real people who have gotten caught up in the bureaucracy of civil seizure.
Here's another happy story of a man who was able to stand up and get his property back (it only cost him $100,000 - a number that would have been much higher if an advocacy group hadn't taken over his case pro-bono):

http://www.wbur.org/2012/11/14/tewks...operty-seizure

The owner said he rents 14000 rooms a year.

14,000 rooms per year x 14 years = 196,000 rooms.

15 drug related arrests.

15 ÷ 196,000 rooms = 0.008%

Should a business owner lose his property because less than one one hundredth of one percent of his customers were busted for drug crimes?

Quote:
“As he describes his job, he looks through the newspapers and looks at the Internet, looking for news stories of properties that might be forfeitable and brings them to the attention of the U.S. attorney,” Caswell’s attorney, Larry Salzman, said.

According to the agent’s sworn testimony, he then goes to the Registry of Deeds to determine the value of the targeted property. The DEA rejects anything with less than $50,000 equity.
Interesting to note that in the same time period, there were 26 drug arrests made at 85 Main St., an address shared by Home Depot, Applebee's and Burger King and 26 drug arrests made at 95 Main St, where the Motel 6 and IHOP are located. Did Home Depot or Applebee's or Burger King or Motel 6 or IHOP get the same treatment as the Caswell Motel?
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Old 07-15-15, 11:44 AM   #77
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
Next - how many of these people are only having their "cash" confiscated, and are not detained for warrants, drugs, etc.? That $2.5B isn't confiscations-only. How many of those people went to jail? How many had bricks of coke in their trunk?

I think the whole article is just anti-law-enforcement and anti-American propaganda. There's a lot of slant and untold facts in the story.
I think you just haven't looked into it enough. Just a few paragraphs as the full story is pretty long.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/inv...top-and-seize/
Quote:
To examine the scope of asset forfeiture since the terror attacks, The Post analyzed a database of hundreds of thousands of seizure records at the Justice Department, reviewed hundreds of federal court cases, obtained internal records from training firms and interviewed scores of police officers, prosecutors and motorists.
Civil forfeiture cash seizures

Under the federal Equitable Sharing Program, police have seized $2.5 billion since 2001 from people who were not charged with a crime and without a warrant being issued. Police reasoned that the money was crime-related. About $1.7 billion was sent back to law enforcement agencies for their use.

The Post found:

1. There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800.

2. Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures.

3. Hundreds of state and local departments and drug task forces appear to rely on seized cash, despite a federal ban on the money to pay salaries or otherwise support budgets. The Post found that 298 departments and 210 task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their annual budgets since 2008.

4. Agencies with police known to be participating in the Black Asphalt intelligence network have seen a 32 percent jump in seizures beginning in 2005, three times the rate of other police departments. Desert Snow-trained officers reported more than $427 million in cash seizures during highway stops in just one five-year period, according to company officials. More than 25,000 police have belonged to Black Asphalt, company officials said.

5. State law enforcement officials in Iowa and Kansas prohibited the use of the Black Asphalt network because of concerns that it might not be a legal law enforcement tool. A federal prosecutor in Nebraska warned that Black Asphalt reports could violate laws governing civil liberties, the handling of sensitive law enforcement information and the disclosure of pretrial information to defendants. But officials at Justice and Homeland Security continued to use it.
Quote:
The Justice Department data released to The Post does not contain information about race. Carr said the department prohibits racial profiling. But in 400 federal court cases examined by The Post where people who challenged seizures and received some money back, the majority were black, Hispanic or another minority.
Quote:
A 55-year-old Chinese American restaurateur from Georgia was pulled over for minor speeding on Interstate 10 in Alabama and detained for nearly two hours. He was carrying $75,000 raised from relatives to buy a Chinese restaurant in Lake Charles, La. He got back his money 10 months later but only after spending thousands of dollars on a lawyer and losing out on the restaurant deal.

A 40-year-old Hispanic carpenter from New Jersey was stopped on Interstate 95 in Virginia for having tinted windows. Police said he appeared nervous and consented to a search. They took $18,000 that he said was meant to buy a used car. He had to hire a lawyer to get back his money.

Mandrel Stuart, a 35-year-old African American owner of a small barbecue restaurant in Staunton, Va., was stunned when police took $17,550 from him during a stop in 2012 for a minor traffic infraction on Interstate 66 in Fairfax. He rejected a settlement with the government for half of his money and demanded a jury trial. He eventually got his money back but lost his business because he didn’t have the cash to pay his overhead.
Hey, they all got their money back....THE SYSTEM WORKS!!!
Quote:
Steven Peterson, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who arranged highway interdiction training through a company called the 4:20 Group, said that patrol officers used to try to make their names with large drug busts. He said he saw that change when agency leaders realized that cash seizures could help their departments during lean times.

“They saw this as a way to provide equipment and training for their guys,” Peterson said. “If you seized large amounts of cash, that’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
Quote:
“9/11 caused a lot of officers to realize they should be out there looking for those kind of people,” said David Frye, a part-time Nebraska county deputy sheriff who serves as chief instructor at Desert Snow and was operations director of Black Asphalt. “When money is taken from an organization, it hurts them more than when they lose the drugs.”
Which apparently means minorities.

Quote:
Among Black Asphalt’s features is a section called BOLO, or “be on the lookout,” where police who join the network can post tips and hunches. In April, Aurora, Colo., police Officer James Waselkow pulled over a white Ford pickup for tinted windows. Waselkow said he thought the driver, a Mexican national, was suspicious in part because he wore a University of Wyoming cap.

“He had no idea where he was going, what hotel he was staying in or who with,” Waselkow wrote. The officer searched the vehicle with the driver’s consent but found no contraband. But he was still suspicious, so he posted the driver’s license plate on Black Asphalt. “Released so someone else can locate the contraband,” he wrote. “Happy hunting!”
Quote:
The Post’s review of 400 court cases, which encompassed seizures in 17 states, provided insights into stops and seizures.

In case after case, highway interdictors appeared to follow a similar script. Police set up what amounted to rolling checkpoints on busy highways and pulled over motorists for minor violations, such as following too closely or improper signaling. They quickly issued warnings or tickets. They studied drivers for signs of nervousness, including pulsing carotid arteries, clenched jaws and perspiration. They also looked for supposed “indicators” of criminal activity, which can include such things as trash on the floor of a vehicle, abundant energy drinks or air fresheners hanging from rearview mirrors.
Hard to believe there aren't more arrests, eh? I mean these are people who have thumbed their noses at law and order and went around following too closely or signaling improperly. I'll bet some of them even had air fresheners in their car. Fucking bastards.

And here is how they go down.

Quote:
One recent stop shows how the process can work in the field.

In December 2012, Frye was working in his capacity as a part-time deputy in Seward County, Neb. He pulled over John Anderson of San Clemente, Calif., who was driving a BMW on Interstate 80 near Lincoln. Frye issued a warning ticket within 13 minutes for failing to signal promptly when changing lanes.

He told Anderson he was finished with the stop. But Frye later noted in court papers that he found several indicators of possible suspicious activity: an air freshener, a radar detector and inconsistencies in the driver’s description of his travels.

The officer then asked whether the driver had any cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin or large amounts of cash and sought permission to search the BMW, according to a video of the stop. Anderson denied having drugs or large amounts of cash in his car. He declined to give permission for a search. Frye then radioed for a drug-sniffing dog, and the driver had to wait another 36 minutes for the dog to arrive.

“I’m just going to, basically, have you wait here,” Frye told Anderson.

The dog arrived and the handler said it indicated the presence of drugs. But when they searched the car, none was found. They did find money: $25,180.


Frye handcuffed Anderson and told him he was placing him under arrest.

“In Nebraska, drug currency is illegal,” Frye said. “Let me tell you something, I’ve seized millions out here. When I say that, I mean millions. . . . This is what I do.”

Frye suggested to Anderson that he might not have been aware of the money in his vehicle and began pressing him to sign a waiver relinquishing the cash, mentioning it at least five times over the next hour, the video shows.

“You’re going to be given an opportunity to disclaim the currency,” Frye told Anderson. “To sign a form that says, ‘That is not my money. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t want to know anything about it. I don’t want to come back to court.’ ”

Frye said that unless the driver agreed to give up the money, a prosecutor would “want to charge” him with a crime, “so that means you’ll go to jail.”

An hour and six minutes into the stop, Frye read Anderson his Miranda rights.

Anderson, who told Frye he worked as a self-employed debt counselor, said the money was not illicit and he was carrying it to pay off a gambling debt. He would later say it was from investors and meant to buy silver bullion and coins. More than two hours after the stop had begun, he finally agreed to give up the cash and Frye let him go. Now Anderson has gone to court to get the money back, saying he signed the waiver and mentioned the gambling debt only because he felt intimidated by Frye.

A magistrate has ruled at a preliminary step in the case that Frye had reasonable suspicion to detain Anderson. Frye said he always follows the law and has never had a seizure overturned.
Sure, it might have been bad drug money...BUT FUCKING PROVE IT! I don't understand why that is such a controversial thing? If you seize money and assets because they are suspected to be used in illicit things, then prove it and keep it. And make the burden be on the state.

Please, give me your best argument for why we shouldn't have the burden of proof on the state and why they should be able to seize anything without an arrest and successful prosecution.
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Old 07-15-15, 11:48 AM   #78
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
And that limit is still kind of arbitrary because if someone is under the limit, then they're presumed to be under the limit solely to avoid the reporting requirements.
Bullshit.

It's a crime to structure transactions to avoid the reporting requirement, but merely being under the $10,000 threshhold won't do it.

I have to review CTRs and SARs with some frequency, and I've never seen a SAR filed merely because of a transaction being below the threshold. It's always a series of deposits under the threshold (e.g. $9000, $9000, $9000), or paired deposits (e.g. Deposit $1000 at one branch then drive across town to deposit $9000), or the person has done something to make the teller suspicious (like ask "what's the threshold?" then made a deposit for just under).
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Old 07-15-15, 11:59 AM   #79
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

http://www.washingtonpost.com/invest...ddc_story.html
Quote:

Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police


A Justice Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the attorney general’s motivation, said Holder “also believes that the new policy will eliminate any possibility that the adoption process might unintentionally incentivize unnecessary stops and seizures.”
Well, if it isn't a problem, why would Holder make changes to this?
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Old 07-15-15, 12:12 PM   #80
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/invest...ddc_story.html


Well, if it isn't a problem, why would Holder make changes to this?
Not that I like using Holder as a benchmark of Constitutionality or good policy, but if we're going to use him as such:

If you're making the argument that Holder limiting the asset sharing program means that he believes there's a problem with that program, wouldn't it then follow that him not limiting the practice of civil forfeiture in general mean that he otherwise approves of that practice?

Wait, we don't need to infer his approval of civil forfeiture in general:
Quote:
“Asset forfeiture remains a critical law enforcement tool when used appropriately — providing unique means to go after criminal and even terrorist organizations,” Holder said. “This new policy will ensure that these authorities can continue to be used to take the profit out of crime and return assets to victims, while safeguarding civil liberties.”
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Old 07-15-15, 12:38 PM   #81
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Sure he thinks it is a useful tool, but the point was to Troy that there are known issues with police just trick or treating. And this is just a baby step. What was the argument for actually requiring an arrest and putting the burden of proof on the state?

All this violence could go away quite quickly if we simply ended the war on drugs. But, we winning, right?
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Old 07-15-15, 12:52 PM   #82
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

If you're looking for somebody to argue as a proponent of the "war on drugs", keep looking. I think the laws were passed for legitimate reasons and are by no means unconstitutional, but that's about the most I'll say in their favor... I'm pretty sure they've had a net negative effect on society.
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Old 07-15-15, 02:01 PM   #83
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
What was the argument for actually requiring an arrest and putting the burden of proof on the state?
I think the argument originally was to put some pressure on families of known drug dealers.

Suppose Bob is a known drug dealer, but the cops just can't quite get enough evidence to make an arrest stick. Bob lives with his grandmother. They grow frustrated that they can't put Bob away, so as a last ditch effort, they put some pressure by threatening to take away his grandmother's house hoping that Bob would rather turn himself in than see his grandma become homeless.

Now, if it wasn't a "known" drug dealer with a history of skirting the law; if it was just some punk teenager who's first (and possibly only) run-in with the law was selling $40 worth of drugs to an undercover agent outside his parent's house ... Surely the police wouldn't try to seize a house over one minor incident, right?
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Old 07-15-15, 02:26 PM   #84
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by CaptainMarvel View Post
If you're looking for somebody to argue as a proponent of the "war on drugs", keep looking. I think the laws were passed for legitimate reasons and are by no means unconstitutional, but that's about the most I'll say in their favor... I'm pretty sure they've had a net negative effect on society.
And that is why I still love you after all these years.
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Old 07-15-15, 02:56 PM   #85
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Yes. Burden of proof should be on the state. But that's forward-thinking legislation.

As it sits, if the plantiff wins, they should have the right to sue for damages and lawyer fees. Do they? This would likely persuade lawyers to offer $0 down services to take the cases of those who were legitimately ripped off. Even if it costs $10k in lawyer fees to get back $2k in confiscated cash, that should be paid for by the government. Tough shit for the department who wrongfully seized the cash or asset.
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Old 07-15-15, 03:27 PM   #86
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
As it sits, if the plantiff wins, they should have the right to sue for damages and lawyer fees. Do they?
from dave's long post:
Quote:
2. Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures.
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Old 07-16-15, 11:37 PM   #87
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Sounds like the solution would be some loud and vocal attention and intervention from the ACLU and similar support from lawyers. If I were buying that $30k excavator in Nogales, and had that money seized, I would NEVER sign an agreement to not sue the police. If I had a "legitimate" case against the seizure, I'd hold out and sue for all the legal fees (and the time/effort/damages).
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Old 07-17-15, 09:50 AM   #88
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
Sounds like the solution would be some loud and vocal attention and intervention from the ACLU and similar support from lawyers. If I were buying that $30k excavator in Nogales, and had that money seized, I would NEVER sign an agreement to not sue the police. If I had a "legitimate" case against the seizure, I'd hold out and sue for all the legal fees (and the time/effort/damages).
What would really happen is that you would talk to a lawyer and they would tell you that you are best off to let it go unless you have a bank statement showing that you just took it out. And even if you win you would never get legal fees. If they offered you half back and you had to sign that you wouldn't sue them, you'd likely end up ahead.

And this does need loud and vocal attention, which is why I made this thread. I couldn't believe this actually happened. I couldn't believe this was upheld by the SCOTUS. I couldn't believe the burden of proof was on the person and that no arrest was necessary. But it is all true. So now the job is to try to get everyone else to understand it so that it might get changed.

Damn near everything we see with the police today is a result of the war on drugs. It would be nice to see how narcotic divisions have grown since 1970 compared to drug use. My suspicion is that we would see the whole thing is mostly a circle jerk. War on drugs starts, we poor money into that, and after a few decades we find that the war on drugs is the greatest thing that ever happened for police budgets, and it even brings in money for the feds. But we would be so far ahead financially if we treated drug use as a health issue and not a criminal one.
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Old 07-17-15, 10:11 AM   #89
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Damn near everything we see with the police today is a result of the war on drugs. It would be nice to see how narcotic divisions have grown since 1970 compared to drug use. My suspicion is that we would see the whole thing is mostly a circle jerk. War on drugs starts, we poor money into that, and after a few decades we find that the war on drugs is the greatest thing that ever happened for police budgets, and it even brings in money for the feds. But we would be so far ahead financially if we treated drug use as a health issue and not a criminal one.
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Old 07-17-15, 10:41 AM   #90
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Damn near everything we see with the police today is a result of the war on drugs. It would be nice to see how narcotic divisions have grown since 1970 compared to drug use. My suspicion is that we would see the whole thing is mostly a circle jerk. War on drugs starts, we poor money into that, and after a few decades we find that the war on drugs is the greatest thing that ever happened for police budgets, and it even brings in money for the feds. But we would be so far ahead financially if we treated drug use as a health issue and not a criminal one.
Or just figured out other drugs can be handled the way we handle alcohol.
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Old 07-17-15, 11:21 AM   #91
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
We're winning the war on drugs!!!!!
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Old 07-21-15, 10:37 AM   #92
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

http://www.nj.com/sports/index.ssf/2...busted_an.html

This is a long story so I will post the basics. Dude runs fantasy football pools. Started when he worked on Wall St. and the thing grew. Ended up with NJ state troopers playing, Tiger Woods manager, lawyers, all kinds of people. He didn't take a fee. He asked people to give a donation of the winnings to him. He made enough to quit Wall St. and become a math teacher. Pool got up to around $800,000. Investigators stopped by and asked him questions about some mob boss, who apparently won the year before. Dude is meticulous about record keeping. Tells them exactly what he does. He asks them if it is illegal because if it is, he will definitely stop. They say nothing. 4 months go by that seem to lead right up to the beginning of football season when he would have all the money in. It's $100 to play. That's how many people play in this league. The come in and tear the place apart looking for anything they can to nail the guy, he is arrested, and over $800,000 (all in one bank account) is seized.

The state stalls and stalls. One of the players was a lawyer and he agrees to take the state on in court.

Anyway, a few snips.
Quote:
But here they were, descending upon him, he said, "like I was Al Capone" hours before the first game of the NFL season. Here they were, seizing his three accounts at Amboy Bank, only after his deposits from pool participants drove the balance to more than $846,000. Of that money, Bovery said, $722,000 belonged to pool players -- some entrants still hadn't paid -- and $124,000 was his life's savings.

"They targeted John because of the money that was involved, and instead of telling him to stop, they shut him down the Thursday that the season started," said Ralph Ferrara, his civil attorney. "And then they said it was 'coincidental.'"
Coincidental.

Quote:
If this is an important crime why haven't they busted another pool operator since? How exactly did Bovery launder money when he has a record of every penny and it was kept in a single bank? And why didn't investigators tell Bovery that he was breaking the law when he -- foolishly, it turns out -- met with them and explained how he operated?

The answer to the last one is easy: They wanted the money, and they waited until the accounts were nice and fat before their devious cash grab.

And those last three words are not mine. They belong to Monmouth County civil judge Paul Escandon, from a June 2014 ruling on a separate civil case Bovery filed, challenging the seizure of the money. Escandon granted the prosecutors a summary judgment that canceled a trial, but made it abundantly clear he was not fond of the prosecutor's actions.

"Troubling as the reality often is, the judiciary is not always tasked with adjudicating a palatable and fair outcome," Escandon writes in his opinion, stating that, while he finds what Bovery did to be illegal, he pointed to the thousands of other sports pools in the country and added, "This court would be remiss to ignore the web of contradictions, hypocrisy and opportunism this seizure presents."
Everyone knows why they went after this, including the judge. They wanted the money. But civil seizure is about upholding the law and not about getting more money for the police, right?

Quote:
"I'm a rules guy," Bovery said. "You want to enforce the letter of the law? Fine. But I'm the only pool manager you'll able to find in the state? The first one you ever found? And four and a half years later you couldn't find anybody else? Did you even bother to call the company I used that runs 20,000 pools to see if there are any others in New Jersey?

"Why am I the only one?"
Because it isn't about "protect and serve" when there is money involved. It's about the money.

Quote:
Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), who is leading the state's attempts to bring legalized sports betting to its casinos and horseracing tracks, sees it as a case of overzealous prosecution.

"This is no different than the hundreds of thousands of pools that go on all over the country," Lesniak said. "The only difference is the size of it."
Let me be the first to say that this politician should work to make the law clearer so that I can distract everyone from actually happened and why.

Anyway, that law that you may be breaking that everyone else is breaking? We only care if we can make money off of you. Protect and serve.
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Old 07-21-15, 10:51 AM   #93
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Old 07-21-15, 11:26 AM   #94
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Drug cops took a college kid’s savings and now 13 police departments want a cut

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ts-want-a-cut/
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Old 07-22-15, 12:42 PM   #95
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

I sure as hell hope we get no argument on this one.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagela...ea74232c0.html

Quote:
Funds and property seized by Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have gone missing or have been used for personal or other improper purposes, state audit records reveal.

Among the violations were using seized money to pay on a prosecutor’s student loans and allowing a prosecutor to live rent-free in a confiscated house for years, records show.


The cases were cited in a state commission hearing Tuesday in which authorities objected to new legislation aimed at curbing abuses of civil asset forfeiture by state and local law enforcement agencies. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, has spurred heated opposition from district attorneys and sheriffs.

Forfeiture involves law enforcement agencies seizing private property and money believed to have been used in drug trafficking or other crimes. After the assets are forfeited in court, authorities can keep the money or property even when the suspect is never convicted or charged.

“The more I learn about it, the more upset and outraged I get that we’ve allowed this process to get to where it’s at,” Loveless said in an interview. “Your property is considered guilty until proven innocent. It is up to the individual to petition the government after they’ve seized it to prove that it is innocent. To me, that, on its face, is un-American.”

Law enforcement officials counter that forfeiture is necessary to combat drug trafficking and say that abuses are rare. They say Loveless is hyping the issue and using scare tactics to push his bill.

“I’m very concerned that’s the line he’s taking in that,” said District Attorney Greg Mashburn, who represents Cleveland, Garvin and McClain counties and sits on the commission overseeing the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. At the commission meeting Tuesday, he referred to statements on forfeiture misuses that Loveless made Monday at a Garvin County Republican meeting.

“That may be something we need to address at our next quarterly (commission) meeting, just to stay on top of it, because it’s going to be an issue that we need to address and educate people on. They’re telling scary stories on the other side, and it’s just not accurate,” Mashburn said.

Police seizures have been in place for decades throughout the country. After a seizure, a judge is asked to grant forfeiture, and ownership is then often transferred to the District Attorney’s Office. That office splits the money or the proceeds from the sale of property with local law enforcement agencies. Property may include vehicles, houses and businesses. The money may be in cash or bank accounts.

Under state law, the proceeds from forfeited cash or property are supposed to be spent on enforcement of drug laws and drug-abuse prevention and education.

Conservative and liberal advocacy groups and politicians allege that forfeitures have gone too far, taking assets from innocent people.

Loveless’ bill would not allow seized money or property to be forfeited unless the suspect is convicted.

Law enforcement officials say forfeiture without conviction is necessary to stop drug money from moving through the state.

Travis White, general counsel for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, said that law enforcement is careful when it comes to seizures. Not allowing forfeiture unless a suspect is convicted would mean drug profits go untouched, he said.

White cited instances where a vehicle is stopped and thousands of dollars in cash are found hidden in a wheel well; the suspect says he didn’t know it was there, and officers can’t prove he’s lying. Without seizure, the suspect would drive on with the cash. With seizure, the suspect is forced to file in court later to claim the money, he said.

After property or money is seized, however, it has been misused or not accounted for by authorities in some cases, according to audits of district attorneys’ forfeiture accounts by the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office.

A 2009 audit of the District Attorney’s Office that represents Beaver, Cimarron, Harper and Texas counties found that a Beaver County assistant district attorney began living rent-free in a house obtained in a 2004 forfeiture. A judge had ordered the house sold at an auction, but the prosecutor lived there through 2009.

Utility bills and repairs made to the house were paid out of the district attorney’s supervision fee account, the audit states.


The audit recommended the house be sold and the supervision fee account be reimbursed.

“These conditions resulted in expenditures that were not for the enforcement of controlled dangerous substances laws, drug abuse prevention and drug abuse education,” the report stated.

The audit also found the District Attorney’s Office didn’t report the benefit as income for tax purposes.

In a 2014 audit of the DA’s office representing Washington and Nowata counties, the State Auditor’s Office found that $5,000 in forfeiture funds had been used to make payments on an assistant district attorney’s student loans.

The report said the district attorney maintained the expense was justified because most of the cases the assistant DA prosecuted were drug cases.

After the issue came to light, the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council reimbursed the $5,000 using funds from its own student-loan program, the State Auditor’s report states.

An Oklahoma Watch examination of audits from 2007 to 2014 also shows at least a dozen cases of forfeited cash, guns and vehicles missing or not inventoried.

In a 2014 audit of District 21, which is Mashburn’s district and includes Cleveland County, three firearms seized and forfeited were found to be missing. The auditor cited a lack of policies and procedures in place to safeguard and track seized items.

The audit said the District Attorney’s Office disagreed it lacked proper policies and procedures to safeguard seized property but conceded that the three firearms were missing and steps had been taken to report the guns as stolen to a federal database. Mashburn could not be reached for comment on the finding.

Under Loveless’ Senate Bill 838, a criminal case would have to be brought against the property or cash owner before forfeiture actions could be filed against the property or cash in civil court. Also, seized funds would be deposited into the state’s general revenue fund. The proposed law would also raise the burden of proof required in forfeiture cases.

Loveless’ bill is based on a similar one voted into law in March in New Mexico.


“It will keep the practice in place, but it takes away the possibility of an innocent person getting their stuff taken and also takes away the possibility for financial abuse on the back end,” Loveless said.

A legislative interim study on the issue will likely occur in September, Loveless said.

Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley, who also sits on the Bureau of Narcotics commission, said Loveless’ bill would cripple law enforcement agencies’ counter-drug efforts.

“I know for a fact we all try to work very hard to rid this devil’s candy (drugs) off of our state. And for someone to try and push us back — sheriff’s departments, police departments — that’s how we continue our fight, is to take that money and go forward,” Stradley said. “That will set us back many, many, many years.”
Devil's candy.
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Old 07-22-15, 12:57 PM   #96
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Devil's candy.
He also calls black people colored.
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Old 07-22-15, 01:11 PM   #97
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

New Mexico recently passed a law restricting civil seizure. Law enforcement agencies protested.

Quote:
The bill before Governor Martinez would end civil forfeiture but preserve criminal forfeiture, in which property is subject to forfeit if the owner is convicted of a crime. It would require proceeds to go to the state’s general fund, not to individual law enforcement agencies.

The state Department of Public Safety has warned that the bill “directly jeopardizes” drug investigations by removing both the incentive for interagency cooperation and the influx of forfeiture cash that is normally used to fund operations. It would, the department said in an analysis of the bill, result in “less training, less resources, less equipment, and a reduction of criminal investigations,” but would increase requests for state funding. A stream of law enforcement groups have said they will request a veto.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/10/us...-martinez.html

Martinez, who is a former prosecutor and is married to a former LEO, waited until the last day before she signed the bill. I suspect a governor with weaker law-and-order credentials would have caved in to pressure.
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Old 07-22-15, 02:17 PM   #98
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

You are missing the positive aspects dave, by having a prosecutor live in a seized house rent free for months prevents it from turning into a crack house. He was doing the community a favor!
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Old 07-22-15, 02:29 PM   #99
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Old 07-22-15, 07:05 PM   #100
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

This is older but a good one to show how civil seizure funds were used by one police chief. It is 12 minutes and 3 different investigative news segments, so there is some overlap. Small town "good ole' boy" network seems to be alive and well there. They can't ever get to the police chief. They go to his home, he never answers, but then drives away across the property.



Follow up: The police chief was indicted for official misconduct, resigned before he could be fired, and was punished with diversion.
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