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The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Old 01-22-16, 12:36 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by CaptainMarvel View Post
So were applying Blackstone's ratio to property now?

I think you're mischaracterizing it with "basically a coin flip." Yes, "preponderance of the evidence" means in excess of 50% likelihood, but it's not random chance. The state has the burden to affirmatively prove the property is illegitimate up to the preponderance standard, or they haven't made their case and the matter is dismissed. Then the state's case has to survive whatever the defendant can offer.

In a normal civil case, I can sue you for virtually anything, and it's the preponderance standard that prevails. If I win, I can get a judgment through which I can take your house, car, all your life savings, etc... is our entire civil lawsuit system just a "coin flip"? Do you believe we should apply Blackstone to all civil proceedings?
Under federal guidelines and many state laws, however, law enforcement can win cases based on very weak evidence, which often has the effect of leaving property owners with the burden of proving that their property isn't related to criminal activity.
I get your argument for "preponderance of the evidence". However, the posted articles and news clips seem to imply that, in practice, even minimal suspicion is justification enough for civil forfeiture.

Take the argument that drug traffickers are smart enough to not carry cash and contraband together. So, we have some drug gang member who carries a bunch of cash on him, and no drugs. What evidence could DEA possibly show to justify confiscating his cash?

What differentiates a drug cartel dude carrying cash, and a normal person carrying cash in terms of evidence?

Last edited by wearetheborg; 01-22-16 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:08 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Normally, it's the amount of cash, known associations, and frequency.

The point of these laws were to get a legal edge over actual drug users.

Yes, it's questionable and just plain stupid when using the same methods on typical civilians.

When you have a cop who is just a fucktard using laws he has no business enforcing, it makes it bad for other agents who actually do use the law for the most ruthless and dangerous drug dealers and criminals.

Busting civilians for a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars in cash is NOTHING compared to confiscations of real drug dealers, and these cops know it. If a civilian is not on a list of known associates, is not known to travel in frequency in the area they were found with cash, and has no drug record, then fuck yes, why the hell are they being bothered.

The law is fine. The few cops who are abusing this law...are not fine and should be investigated.

I suspect if we were to change this law, we would still have cops busting people without PC and without authority, taking money.

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Old 01-22-16, 01:34 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by wearetheborg View Post
I get your argument for "preponderance of the evidence". However, the posted articles and news clips seem to imply that, in practice, even minimal suspicion is justification enough for civil forfeiture.

Take the argument that drug traffickers are smart enough to not carry cash and contraband together. So, we have some drug gang member who carries a bunch of cash on him, and no drugs. What evidence could DEA possibly show to justify confiscating his cash?

What differentiates a drug cartel dude carrying cash, and a normal person carrying cash in terms of evidence?
I'm not sure we're all even on the same page, because the "seizure" seems to be getting conflated with the "forfeiture."

The property can be seized by the government upon a showing of probable cause. There's not really a huge distinction there between the criminal and civil fields... if the government thinks that wad of cash is drug money, it has to be able to articulate probable cause. If it can meet that threshold, it can seize it. That just means the government holds the property for the time being, pending disposition later.

The standard for civil forfeiture (which comes later) is "preponderance of the evidence" (PotE). That standard isn't so far from "probable cause" (PC) on the playing field in terms of numeric percentage (although PotE is considered at least somewhat stricter than PC). But they're miles apart in practical terms, because the PC determination for seizures is done ex parte, whereas (at least if the seizure is contested) the PotE standard has to be met following an adversarial hearing and overcoming the defense's case.

What ends up happening at a lot of civil forfeiture hearings is the other side simply doesn't contest the government's case, or they can't adequately rebut the government's case. Some of that is the result of unfairness... it costs money to retain a lawyer, and if the government has seized your money, you can't pay a lawyer. I totally agree that should be fixed, which is why I'm all for providing lawyers. Some of it is marginal cost... it's not worth it to fight the seizure over $500 (and exploitation of marginal cost is an issue throughout the entire civil system... that's why we have nuisance suits, for example, which some companies settle rather than fighting). But some of it is because... strange as it sounds... people who have obtained their money illegally can't show how the money was obtained legally, and so they 1) don't even try (and thus default) or 2) try and fail. You can end up with some oddball situations, where the police seize something upon legitimate (but weak) PC where they might not be able to make PotE, but the guy who has no documented legitimate income for the past decade doesnít even attempt to make the case that his money was legitimate.

So, we have some drug gang member who carries a bunch of cash on him, and no drugs. What possible evidence could DEA possibly show to justify confiscating his cash? What possible evidence could DEA possibly show to justify confiscating his cash?

What differentiates a drug cartel dude carrying cash, and a normal person carrying cash in terms of evidence?
Iím assuming we donít know that itís a ďdrug cartel dudeĒ, or else the question would be pointless.

The answer is the same for any probable cause determination: the attendant specific facts and circumstances.

How the cash is held (if he's got it shoved up his ass... that's not determinative obviously, but it's certainly a clue)? Known history of involvement with the drug trade? Route of travel? History of travel? Inability to explain where the money is from or what it's for? Personís occupation versus the dollar amount? Discrepancies in the person's story? And about a million other factors that can lead to probable cause. If the government just barely meets the threshold for probable cause at an ex parte level, by definition they aren't yet at PotE, and that's even before the person has a chance to produce evidence for how the cash is legitimate.
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Old 01-22-16, 01:54 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Thanks for the detailed explain, that was helpful.

I think you're right that taking away the profit motive would eliminate 99% of the abuse cases.
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Old 01-22-16, 02:35 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Be5RFAQQ1Ds" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Fuck the taser, look at how they throw the old guy to the ground. They're fucking badass cops.
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Old 01-22-16, 02:46 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Shit. He died.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:08 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

I was really hoping this would be the first time somebody from the ACLU would ever say, "no, this appeared to be a good use of force."
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Old 01-22-16, 03:22 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
Fuck the taser, look at how they throw the old guy to the ground. They're fucking badass cops.
Look, if you're going the wrong way on an interstate, and are being chased by cops -- putting the lives of many civilians and cops at risk -- you can't object much to getting tased. And if on top you're intoxicated while driving, perhaps you deserve getting tased. Several times.

Don't drive under intoxication.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:29 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

I won't get into whether the cops here were actually acting badly. Seems stupid, but it's the law in Idaho, so they can worry about it. What I find interesting is that they are looking for a jury trial. I would guess that they are really going for jury nullification. Remember back when they use to teach about jury nullification?

Jury nullification: Jury nullification occurs when a jury acquits a defendant they believe to be guilty by nullifying one or more laws that they believe should not apply to the defendant. Jurors often exercise nullification when they either personally disagree with a law or feel that the punishment mandated by a law is too harsh. In general, jurors are not reminded by judges of their nullification powers.

http://newschannel9.com/news/offbeat...grey-screening

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) ó An Idaho movie theater company is suing the state police after its alcohol enforcement division tried to revoke the theater's liquor license for serving booze during the movie "50 Shades of Grey."

In February 2015, after receiving an anonymous tip, Idaho State Police contacted two Treasure Valley movie theaters that were showing the popular Rated R flick, including Meridian Cinemas, for serving alcohol during the movie. Idaho law forbids businesses from serving alcohol during the movies and films that depict sex.

Village Cinema has a VIP section in some of its theaters that allow adults 21 and up to consume alcohol during a movie.

Idaho State Police says after warning the theater, undercover detectives went there and watched the film. The detectives arrived 40 minutes prior to movie, purchased VIP tickets and ordered a Blue Moon beer and a rum with Diet Coke inside the auditorium prior to the movie. The two detectives say they continued to consume their drinks after the film began.

"At no time did (the waitress) tell the detectives of any policy against drinking alcohol in auditoriums showing "50 Shades of Grey" and she continued to allow the detectives to consume their alcoholic beverages while the film played on the screen," ISP's complaint states.

The theater says the detectives ignored posted signs and warnings from staff that alcoholic beverages were not allowed inside the theater during the movie.

Meridian Cinemas says its biggest complaint is that ISP is depriving the cinema of its First Amendment Rights.

"Unfortunately, this code has been on the books for 16 years and this is the first time that the Idaho ABC officials have chosen to enforce the code," said Dave Corkill, the theater's owner. "The Flicks has shown hundreds of movies that violate the statute and so has the other movie theaters in Idaho that have an alcohol license and show the same movies that we show. Yet we are the only movie theater that has received a citation. Why that is? We don't know, but it's obviously a concern of ours."

Carole Skinner, owner of The Flicks, told KBOI 2News says she's always careful about the movies she decides to show.

"Even though I think the statute is out of date and silly...we follow it," Skinner said. "Distributors know that we don't want movies with explicit sexual conduct. I'm really, really careful. I book the movies myself."

According to the lawsuit, a similar case in California ended up in a federal appeals court, which sided with a business saying "it was clearly established that liquor regulations could not be used to impose restrictions on speech that would otherwise be prohibited under the First Amendment."

That California law, which is similar to Idaho's, was later repealed after the appeals court decision.

Due to the threat of having its liquor license revoked, the lawsuit says, the theater has been forced to show movies such as "The Wolf of Wall Street," "The Revenant" and "50 Shades of Grey" in theaters without VIP areas. And that has resulted in a drop in VIP ticket sales.

The theater is requesting a jury trial.

KBOI 2News has also reached out to Idaho State Police for further comment, but we've yet to hear back.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:33 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by wearetheborg View Post
Look, if you're going the wrong way on an interstate, and are being chased by cops -- putting the lives of many civilians and cops at risk -- you can't object much to getting tased. And if on top you're intoxicated while driving, perhaps you deserve getting tased. Several times.

Don't drive under intoxication.
They can't just tase him... they have to give him a chance to surrender and comply.

And, you know, the 10+ minute pursuit down the wrong side of the interstate, where they had to pit him 3 times to get him to stop... that bit doesn't count as a chance to comply.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:40 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by wearetheborg View Post
Look, if you're going the wrong way on an interstate, and are being chased by cops -- putting the lives of many civilians and cops at risk -- you can't object much to getting tased. And if on top you're intoxicated while driving, perhaps you deserve getting tased. Several times.

Don't drive under intoxication.
Well, what he deserved was to be arrested and sent to court. Tasing a person isn't actually something cops get to do for punishment. Police don't get to be judge, jury, and executioner. The taser is suppose to be used on people who are an active danger to themselves or others to restrain them. The drunk old man wasn't a danger to anyone when they tased him.

I'm not saying the old guy didn't do anything wrong. I'm saying what the police did was wrong as well. And we shouldn't excuse their wrong behavior just because of someone else's. It most all of these cases, both sides are wrong to some degree.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:49 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

I would love to see the unedited video that doesn't cut out the 7 seconds immediately prior to the tasing, if anybody has that one.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:50 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
The taser is suppose to be used on people who are an active danger to themselves or others to restrain them. The drunk old man wasn't a danger to anyone when they tased him.
The dude was going the wrong way on an interstate while being chased by police. No one in his right mind does that. In an alternate scenario, a similar dude could have run off into oncoming traffic. It's not obvious to me that it was clear to the cops that he was not a threat to himself/civilians. Remember, the police didn't know he was 74 years old. They didn't know him personally. They didn't know whether he was hopped up on cocaine.
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Old 01-22-16, 03:54 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

or pot


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Old 01-22-16, 04:05 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
or pot


My impression was that potheads don't get into car chases and other adrenaline related activities.
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Old 01-22-16, 04:43 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Drunk driver going down the wrong side of the highway and we're arguing he shouldn't have got tazed?

Oh wait. We should have handed him another bottle of JD and sent him on his way. "Here yah go, gramps! Go kill some people this time! Yah fucking loser!"
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Old 01-22-16, 05:07 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
Drunk driver going down the wrong side of the highway and we're arguing he shouldn't have got tazed?

Oh wait. We should have handed him another bottle of JD and sent him on his way. "Here yah go, gramps! Go kill some people this time! Yah fucking loser!"
Or just arrest him and put him in the squad car.
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Old 01-22-16, 05:16 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

I never thought of that!
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Old 01-22-16, 05:36 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
I never thought of that!
It looks like the cops didn't either!
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Old 01-22-16, 06:03 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by CaptainMarvel View Post
So were applying Blackstone's ratio to property now?

I think you're mischaracterizing it with "basically a coin flip." Yes, "preponderance of the evidence" means in excess of 50% likelihood, but it's not random chance. The state has the burden to affirmatively prove the property is illegitimate up to the preponderance standard, or they haven't made their case and the matter is dismissed. Then the state's case has to survive whatever the defendant can offer.

In a normal civil case, I can sue you for virtually anything, and it's the preponderance standard that prevails. If I win, I can get a judgment through which I can take your house, car, all your life savings, etc... is our entire civil lawsuit system just a "coin flip"? Do you believe we should apply Blackstone to all civil proceedings?
You can sue, but you can't take my money first, leaving me unable to defend myself. And in a battle of 2 normal people, that standard might be fine. In a battle between .gov and a citizen, who has already had their shit taken, where .gov has unlimited resources and zero consequences if they lose, I think the burden ought to be a little higher. I don't think that's too much to ask.
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Old 01-22-16, 07:56 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Are we sure it was a 74 year old man and not Johnny Knoxville in old age make-up filming another Jackass movie?
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Old 01-22-16, 09:01 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by Dave99 View Post
You can sue, but you can't take my money first, leaving me unable to defend myself. And in a battle of 2 normal people, that standard might be fine. In a battle between .gov and a citizen, who has already had their shit taken, where .gov has unlimited resources and zero consequences if they lose, I think the burden ought to be a little higher. I don't think that's too much to ask.
I doubt I'm going to convince you, but I still can't agree... it's indeed "too much to ask" if you're asking for it in conjunction with the other changes you've proposed. Especially since some of the "unique" factors you're using to distinguish civil forfeiture from other civil actions are really not unique to civil forfeiture.

For example, there are numerous instances in civil law when the opposing side (government or private) can indeed "take [your] money first," from ATROs, to freezing injunctions, to other methods. In some cases, those lock the resources out of your hands altogether (e.g. freezing bank accounts), while in other cases, the property is left in your hands, but you're forbidden from utilizing them.

Likewise you seem to be distinguishing between the disparity of power between the government and individuals. That that's not unique to civil forfeiture... non-forfeiture civil actions aren't limited to a battle of "two ordinary people". Massive corporations can bring suit against "ordinary people," and the government can also bring a wide array of non-civil forfeiture actions against ordinary people, as I've previously pointed out.

So I'm still not seeing why there's a meaningful, rational distinction between civil forfeiture and other civil actions. I'm not invested in the PotE standard, but I can't help but feel like the desire to raise it to a higher standard in just the civil forfeiture arena and none of the other civil fields is just a kneejerk reaction to a hot button topic. A plea to raise the standard in all civil cases would at least seem consistent to me, but this doesn't.

But, we're getting off topic, since there's a civil forfeiture thread, so I'll let you have the last word on the topic in this thread.
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Old 01-22-16, 10:02 PM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by Dave99 View Post
You can sue, but you can't take my money first, leaving me unable to defend myself.
Your money? You really don't understand this. That's part of the police budget in your possession, boy.
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Old 01-23-16, 07:38 AM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Are people really saying that just because someone does something stupid, drives drunk, or breaks the law the police get to taze them just to teach them a lesson????
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Old 01-23-16, 08:07 AM
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Re: The "Cops Behaving Badly" Thread

Originally Posted by JCWBobC View Post
Are people really saying that just because someone does something stupid, drives drunk, or breaks the law the police get to taze them just to teach them a lesson????
That is certainly not what I'm saying.
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