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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 06-19-15, 05:22 PM   #26
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

But does it square with reality?

I guess the DA/police might say the drug dog alerted on the cash when they checked it at the station also.
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Old 06-19-15, 05:29 PM   #27
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

If the government isn't complying with the express terms of a statute, then that seems like a relatively easy issue to challenge.

Then again, if you're so jaundiced in your view of the government that you believe even AUSA's will regularly and routinely violate the law, and that Federal judges will still okay it, I'm not sure what practical effect reforms could even have.
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Old 06-19-15, 05:32 PM   #28
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

I wasn't making a particular point about feds, you don't think some podunk city DA will throw up almost that exact argument, and some local judge will be like "well that's good enough for me?"

And I'm not saying the DA would be breaking the law, they present the evidence they have, however weak it might be.
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Old 06-19-15, 05:55 PM   #29
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave99 View Post
But does it square with reality?

I guess the DA/police might say the drug dog alerted on the cash when they checked it at the station also.

From this article....
Spoilered for size

Spoiler:
Quote:
There is no presumption of innocence under civil asset forfeiture laws. Rather, law enforcement officers only need to have a suspicion -- in practice, often a vague one -- that a person is involved with illegal activity in order to seize their property. On the highway, for instance, police may cite things like tinted windows, air fresheners or trash in the car, according to a Washington Post investigation last year.
Here is that Washington Post article
Quote:
During the rush to improve homeland security a decade ago, an invitation went out from Congress to a newly retired California highway patrolman named Joe David. A lawmaker asked him to brief the Senate on how highway police could keep “our communities safe from terrorists and drug dealers.”

David had developed an uncanny talent for finding cocaine and cash in cars and trucks, beginning along the remote highways of the Mojave Desert. His reputation had spread among police officers after he started a training firm in 1989 to teach his homegrown stop-and-seizure techniques. He called it Desert Snow.

The demonstration he gave on Capitol Hill in November 2003 startled onlookers with the many ways smugglers and terrorists can hide contraband, cash and even weapons of mass destruction in vehicles. It also made David’s name in Washington and launched his firm into the fast-expanding marketplace for homeland security, where it would thrive in an atmosphere of fear and help shape law enforcement on highways in every corner of the country.

Over the next decade, David’s tiny family firm would brand itself as a counterterrorism specialist and work with the departments of Homeland Security and Justice. It would receive millions from federal contracts and grants as the leader of a cottage industry of firms teaching aggressive methods for highway interdiction. Along the way, working in near obscurity, the firm would press the limits of the law and raise new questions about police power, domestic intelligence and the rights of American citizens.

In 2004, David started a private intelligence network for police known as the Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System. It enabled officers and federal authorities to share reports and chat online. In recent years, the network had more than 25,000 individual members, David said.

“Throughout history law enforcement investigations have been stymied because of law enforcement’s inability to move information and because enforcement entities refuse to work together,” David wrote in a 2012 letter to Black Asphalt members that was obtained by The Post. “This website allows all of us to do that.”

Operating in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal entities, Black Asphalt members exchanged tens of thousands of reports about American motorists, many of whom had not been charged with any crimes, according to a company official and hundreds of internal documents obtained by The Post. For years, it received no oversight by government, even though its reports contained law enforcement sensitive information about traffic stops and seizures, along with hunches and personal data about drivers, including Social Security numbers and identifying tattoos.

Black Asphalt also has served as a social hub for a new brand of highway interdictors, a group that one Desert Snow official has called “a brotherhood.” Among other things, the site hosts an annual competition to honor police who seize the most contraband and cash on the highways. As part of the contest, Desert Snow encouraged state and local patrol officers to post seizure data along with photos of themselves with stacks of currency and drugs. Some of the photos appear in a rousing hard-rock video that the Guthrie, Okla.-based Desert Snow uses to promote its training courses.

Annual winners receive Desert Snow’s top honorific: Royal Knight. The next Royal Knight will be named at a national conference hosted in Virginia Beach next year in collaboration with Virginia State Police.

In just one five-year stretch, Desert Snow-trained officers reported taking $427 million during highway encounters, according to company officials. A Post analysis found the training has helped fuel a rise in cash seizures in the Justice Department’s main asset forfeiture program.

In January last year, David hired himself and his top trainers out as a roving private interdiction unit for the district attorney’s office in rural Caddo County, Okla. Working with local police, Desert Snow contract employees took in more than $1 million over six months from drivers on the state’s highways, including Interstate 40 west of Oklahoma City. Under its contract, the firm was allowed to keep 25 percent of the cash.

When Caddo County District Court Judge David A. Stephens learned that Desert Snow employees were not sworn law enforcement officers in Oklahoma, he denounced the arrangement as “shocking,” and he threatened to put David in jail if it continued.

The state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter called for an investigation of the district attorney and criminal charges against Desert Snow employees for impersonating law enforcement officers.

“Desert Snow. It sounds like a covert military operation or a street name for designer cocaine. Truth be told, it’s something much more sinister in my modest opinion,” Oklahoma defense attorney Adam Banner wrote in a legal blog, adding that it “seems to amount to little more than a free-for-all cash grab.”

District Attorney Jason Hicks set aside more than a dozen convictions relating to the seizures and promised a review. He said he was just trying to offset the loss of federal funding for a drug task force.

“I fully believe we are in compliance with state law and, at the time the program was formed, my intent was to see that my investigators received top-notch training and to ensure that we could continue the operation of the drug and violent crime task force,” Hicks said.

David A. Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, said highway interdiction now “works just like all the drug interdiction efforts” in the 1990s. “But the focus is on money,” he said. “That makes it all the more insidious.”

Desert Snow officials in interviews disclaimed the practice of targeting drivers for money, sometimes known as “policing for profit.” They said that seizing cash is a proven tool for hurting drug and crime organizations.

But privately, they promote a book that extols the quest for cash. Ron Hain, a marketing official with Desert Snow and a full-time deputy sheriff in Kane County, Ill., has urged police to use cash seizures to bolster municipal coffers. “In Roads: A Working Solution to America’s War on Drugs,” a book Hain self-published under the pen name Charles Haines in 2011, states that departments can “pull in expendable cash hand over fist.”


The firm defends its training as first-rate, and David once likened the firm’s students to special forces operators. “Like the SEAL team, Army Rangers or any other top notch outfit it requires commitment and perseverance to be part of ‘the team,’ ” David wrote in a sales pitch posted on Black Asphalt.

Desert Snow officials have taken pains to ensure that Black Asphalt complies with all laws and that its site is securely encrypted, David wrote in his 2012 letter to the membership. He said the system does not store any sensitive information about drivers but only passes it along to law enforcement. Only “certified peace officers” can access the system. After questions arose several years ago about the system’s private ownership, David transferred authority to the sheriff’s office in Logan County, just north of Oklahoma City.

David said that more than 16,000 “major incidents” had been reported through the system, leading to hundreds of follow-up investigations, arrests and seized assets.

“Over the years I have also received phone calls and letters of gratitude from all levels,” David wrote in 2012. “I have even met with federal people in both Washington D.C. and elsewhere regarding the website and have even received financial contributions for the Black Asphalt from District Attorneys, agencies and federal entities.”

DHS spokeswoman Marsha Catron downplayed the department’s involvement, saying in a statement that it has awarded “Desert Snow less than 20 contracts since 2008 for specialized law enforcement training and educational services.” That includes three contracts this year worth more than $268,000 with Customs and Border Protection, one of them in August.

Catron defended the use of Black Asphalt. “The network simply allows law enforcement officers to alert fellow agencies about seizures that have been made,” her statement said. “Participation in this network by state, local or federal agencies is voluntary. This kind of networking allows law enforcement agencies to develop leads, corroborate investigative information and aids in the pursuit of criminal enterprises.”

She said that Black Asphalt reports no longer contain any personally identifiable information about drivers.

DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said that computers at the agency’s El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) once housed Black Asphalt. In a subsequent e-mail, Payne said that agents only used it as a source of information. “We would go in there to grab information,” he said.

Payne also told The Post that the DEA had recently stopped using Black Asphalt reports because of concerns that they “would never hold up in court.”

Payne said officials at Justice and DEA are now reviewing their use of the system. However, as recently as May, internal Black Asphalt records continued to list officials at the agency, along with officials at DHS, CBP and ICE, as members.

The start of Desert Snow

Joe David, 61, did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. This account is based on interviews with two Desert Snow officials and more than a dozen current and former members of the Black Asphalt network, along with hundreds of internal documents, legal records and the account given by Hain in “In Roads.”

David married as a teenager, started a family and worked his way up from the road patrol. He was smart and gregarious, with a close-cropped haircut and a special way with the drivers he encountered.

His career began on the hard-baked desert highways of southeast California, where he was assigned soon after joining the California Highway Patrol in 1985. From the start, he was intrigued by the cat-and-mouse game with smugglers. One day, he was driving through Needles, Calif., not far from the Arizona border, when he saw a Ford Thunderbird on the side of the road. The driver and passenger struck David as suspicious. Though he had no evidence of a crime, he asked whether he could search the car.

The driver agreed but David’s search was turning up blank — until an old school acquaintance drove up and stopped to watch. The classmate happened to be an automobile upholsterer. David asked him to look at the car and see if anything was amiss in the interior. The classmate spotted an irregularity in the sewing on the seats. Hidden underneath was 44 pounds of cocaine.

David was hooked on interdiction. Year after year, he made big seizures. He once found 2,500 pounds of cocaine in a box truck, worth more than $22 million. “Trooper David became a one-man wrecking ball, and terrorized members of drug cartels for years to come,” Hain wrote.

David earned the nickname “Canine,” and he claimed that he could smell cocaine concealed among other odors, like detergent, court records show.

He began moonlighting as a personal instructor for police who found the prospect of highway interdiction exciting and useful. He started in the late 1980s with informal tutorials over backyard barbecues and later moved the sessions into the family garage.

Today, Desert Snow is still a family business that employs his wife and children.

From the beginning, David lectured about the damage drugs do to communities and portrayed his students as soldiers on the front lines of a war.

“These pioneers realized there is one vital course of action for the local police officer to begin conquering our nation’s continuing battle: knowledge, training in profiles, and the relentless pursuit of narcotics smugglers,” Hain wrote.

Facing scrutiny

In the early 1990s, as he took on teaching assignments during breaks from his day job, David’s reputation grew. Soon, he was teaching local police for the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center, a clearinghouse for information about drug smugglers and their associates. He also taught for the Drug Interdiction Assistance Program at the Department of Transportation, which focuses on commercial vehicle safety.

But his methods came under scrutiny in court. In July 1993, David stopped a man driving a half-ton pickup with tinted windows on Interstate 40 near the California-Arizona border. He asked the driver, a Hispanic man, to roll down the window and hand over his license and registration.

David said he thought the driver was suspiciously nervous and he thought he smelled cocaine though the open window, according to court records. David was by now a canine officer, but he didn’t have his dog with him that day.

He told the driver to stand on the side of the road and began conversing with him.

David eventually told the driver that he was convinced there was a large of amount of cocaine in the truck and asked for permission to search. The driver was reluctant, but he eventually signed a bilingual form giving consent. David found more than 40 pounds of the drug.

At a court hearing, the driver’s attorney unsuccessfully argued that the evidence should be suppressed because it was obtained through intimidation. David responded that he behaved appropriately. Prosecutors said he spoke “without coercion in a low-key conversational tone.”

But a three-member federal appeals court ordered a new trial for the driver, saying David overstepped his authority to obtain approval for a warrantless search.

“Officer David persisted in his ‘low key’ questioning until he got the answer he sought,” the court’s ruling said. “Such persistent questioning is characteristic of a stationhouse interrogation.”

The court ruled that David had improperly detained the driver without arresting him. The court did not specify how long he kept the driver on the roadside, but it said David should have given the driver a Miranda warning that he had a right to remain silent after David concluded he was going to arrest him.

“It takes 30 seconds to give Miranda warnings,” the court said. “Officer David delayed giving Miranda warnings in order to subject [the driver] to psychological pressure to make incriminating statements. That was a blatant Miranda violation.”

“Miranda warnings are intended to deter precisely the sort of conduct engaged in by Officer David: isolation, psychological pressure, and relentless pursuit of a confession,” the court said.

Desert Snow would adopt “Relentless Pursuit” as the firm’s motto.

By the late 1990s, David also participated as an instructor in Operation Pipeline, a highway interdiction program run by the DEA that trained nearly 27,000 police in 48 states over more than a decade. The program encouraged the same sorts of techniques that David had long employed on his own: high volumes of stops for minor traffic infractions and conversations with drivers to look for inconsistencies and obtain permission for warrantless searches.

David received acclaim for a Pipeline stop of a truck-trailer in 1998. Pulling the vehicle over on a minor infraction — straddling two lanes — David and his partner found 720 pounds of marijuana.

About the same time, Democrats in the California statehouse formed a task force to investigate claims that Operation Pipeline was profiling Hispanic drivers.

“Pipeline teams are able to pull over a great many cars to find drivers who fit established ‘profiles,’” the task force report said. “If a motorist ‘fits’ the profile, then the officer’s goal becomes to conduct a warrantless search of the car and its occupants, in the hope of finding drugs, cash and/or guns.”

The ACLU found that the majority of those stopped nationwide by interdiction programs such as Operation Pipeline were minorities, according to a 1999 report titled “Driving While Black.”

“All the evidence to date suggests that using traffic laws for non-traffic purposes has been a disaster for people of color,” said the report, written by Harris, the University of Pittsburgh law scholar. “Law enforcement decisions based on hunches rather than evidence are going to suffer from racial stereotyping, whether conscious or unconscious.”

The ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit over such stops, and in 2003 the California Highway Patrol settled, paying $875,000 and agreeing to provide additional training for officers but admitting to no wrongdoing.

That year, David retired and began ramping up Desert Snow. The new Department of Homeland Security was forming and a new market was opening up in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The invitation from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) in the fall of 2003 paved the way for David and Desert Snow. David took a tractor-trailer to Capitol Hill, where he surprised lawmakers and Capitol Police by revealing myriad cubbyholes for hiding contraband. Once he would have focused on drugs and money. Now he emphasized that the hiding places could be used by terrorists.

Funding for Desert Snow soon came from DHS, which provided a grant to help the firm tailor its instruction to counterterrorism. Over the years, the firm has received scores of contracts from DHS, Justice and other federal agencies worth more than $2.5 million. States and localities also have used homeland security grants and seized cash to pay for classes from Desert Snow and its competitors.

In 2004, one of the main thrusts of the homeland security efforts was to connect the dots of potential threats through information-sharing. Officials at ICE also began working with the DEA on an initiative to fight cash smuggling through better intelligence and collaboration with local and state police. The effort was framed as a fight against terror financing.

“To address this increasing threat, the DEA, IRS [Criminal Investigation] and ICE are working together to initiate a bulk currency program to coordinate all U.S. highway interdiction money seizures,” DEA Administrator Karen Tandy told a Senate panel.

That year, David launched Black Asphalt.

Run as a private adjunct to the for-profit Desert Snow, Black Asphalt’s goal was to enable highway patrolmen in different states to informally share information about drivers as quickly as possible. David has said he saw the need for such a system when he was a Pipeline instructor and noticed that only a quarter of the highway stops were being reported to anyone. Such information could be valuable to the DEA’s El Paso Intelligence Center and the 28 federally supported High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) task forces across the nation.

“The Black Asphalt was designed to support EPIC, HIDTA and other government programs,” David wrote in his 2012 letter to the membership.

Black Asphalt soon attracted thousands of members from across the country. One lauded feature of the site is an extensive “concealment database” of hiding places in vehicles. By 2011, it had more than 30,000 members, according to Hain. Any sworn officer can join after filling out a membership application online for a $19.95 processing fee. State and federal officials who assist in interdiction, such as intelligence analysts, can also be members.

“It was built by cops for cops,” David Frye, Desert Snow’s chief trainer and former director of operations at Black Asphalt, told The Post. “It’s a specialized culture.”

Using a template developed by Desert Snow, police filed thousands of automated reports through the secure Web site, whether or not the drivers had been charged, documents show. Details included the location of the stop, the vehicle identification number, the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and descriptions of the drivers.

Documents and interviews obtained by The Post show that reports were funneled to the DEA, ICE, CBP and other federal agencies. In 2009, the DEA paid $6,700 to Black Asphalt for an improved user interface with the system.. In its law enforcement-only newsletter, the National Bulk Cash Smuggling Center, a part of ICE, describes Black Asphalt as one of “its valuable law enforcement partnerships.”

In another part of Black Asphalt, users posted “be on the lookout” reports, also known as BOLOs, to single out certain drivers for police attention in other jurisdictions. The private BOLO reports generally rely on police intuition rather than hard evidence or probable cause.

In April, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped a woman driving in a Kentucky car that was littered with food wrappers and energy drinks. He did not believe her statement that she was driving to a funeral and asked her why she didn’t fly. She did not have good answer, he said. So he posted her driver’s license number and urged other police to be on the lookout. “She will be loaded coming back for sure,” he wrote.

To meet the growing demand for training, Desert Snow each year has cultivated up to 75 of the most successful and aggressive interdiction police officers from around the country. A part-time job at the firm’s seminars was considered prestigious. Among the trainers are Royal Knights, the stars of the interdiction world.

Desert Snow charges as little as $590 for an individual for its three- and four-day workshop of lectures and hands-on training in such subjects as “roadside conversational skills” and “when and how to seize currency.” The firm often sets up its training in hotel conference rooms. The firm’s three-day “Advanced Commercial Vehicle, Criminal & Terrorist Identification & Apprehension Workshop” cost 88 students a total of $145,000, according to a price list posted by the state of New Jersey.

Police are taught the techniques that David had refined over the years, including how to assess the driver for signs of nervousness. “As a general rule, the innocent motoring public doesn’t lie to you,” Frye, Desert Snow’s chief trainer and a part-time deputy in Nebraska, said in an interview.

If asked in court if it is normal for drivers to be nervous after being stopped by police, they are instructed to say: “While it is true that most people are nervous when stopped by law enforcement, my training and experience has shown that once persons who are not engaged in serious criminal activities learn what type of enforcement action is being taken, their nervousness subsides.”

Frye said the firm does not teach racial profiling. “We never have and we never will!” BlackAsphalt.org proclaims on its Web site. “We teach officers to conduct legal traffic stops and how to identify major criminal activity by taking into account the totality of the circumstances on each and every traffic stop.”

Frye, who was also a former Nebraska state trooper, said Desert Snow instructors look for “indicators” of criminal activity. Indicators cited in Desert Snow training materials obtained by The Post include air fresheners hanging from rearview mirrors, trash on the floor and the driver’s demeanor, such as being too talkative or too quiet.

“Indicators are seemingly innocent things heard, smelled and/or observed during an enforcement encounter, including the contents of the vehicle, what was said, and the manner in which it was said, which when taken in their totality and compared with the innocent motoring public and traffic patterns of that geographic area, along with the officer’s training and experience, show reasonable suspicion or probable cause that criminal activity was, is, or will be taking place,” the material states.

A cornerstone of Desert Snow’s instruction rests upon two 1996 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that bolstered aggressive highway patrolling. One decision affirmed the police practice of using minor traffic infractions as pretexts to stop drivers. The other permits officers to seek consent for searches without alerting the drivers that they can refuse and leave at any time.

“Police Officers Are Not Required To Inform A Motorist At The End Of A Traffic Stop That He Or She Is ‘Free To Go’ Before Seeking Permission to Search The Motorist’s Car,” the training material says.

Desert Snow urges police to work toward what are known as a “consensual encounters” — beginning with asking drivers whether they mind chatting after a warning ticket has been issued. The consensual chat gives police more time to look for indicators and mitigates later questions in court about unreasonably long traffic stops.

They’re also instructed in how to make their stops and seizures more defensible to judges. “One Of The Most Critical Areas Scrutinized By The Courts Is The Reason For And The Length Of Any Detention,” the material says.

As business boomed, David bought a yacht and a condo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and invited associates down for fishing trips, interviews and documents show. Starting in 2010, the firm began spending tens of thousands each quarter on the lobbying firm Brandon Associates to stoke interest in interdiction training in Washington — almost $200,000 in all through last year. Brandon Associates has arranged meetings with senior officials at DHS, documents show.

Success has not shielded the company from criticism. Some of it has come from current and former Black Asphalt users who felt the site tolerated unprofessional behavior in its secure chat rooms. “We have to start policing ourselves and remembering that we are professionals,” wrote DEA Agent Donald Bailey, now retired, in a chat room. “I have seen some postings and language on here that have made me cringe and can’t believe that it was ever posted.”

Computer-generated animations made by a Desert Snow marketing official featuring a cartoon cop called Larry the Interdictor have drawn especially ribald commentary. One is set in a courtroom where Larry insinuates that the defense lawyer questioning him is gay. He testifies that he disdains “Rastafarian douchebags who do nothing all day but smoke weed, live with their mom, and beat off to kiddie porn.”

The video prompted hoots from Black Asphalt users online.

“omg i’m still rolling!!!! this has got to be the funniest stuff ive ever heard!” one user wrote.

“DUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE! That crap is HILARIOUS!” said another.

“Thanks for the video laughs,” Joe David wrote. “It was great.”

Larry the Interdictor was created by Hain, the Kane County deputy and author of “In Roads.”

Hain told The Post said he made some of the videos as a hobby, on his own time. Others were part of a monthly marketing initiative at Desert Snow “to deliver information and statistics in an entertaining format,” he said. He said he did not write all the scripts but declined to detail who did.

The Black Asphalt report narratives sometimes went on for 400 words or more, and included an officer’s intent and attitude toward defendants. Some of them were meant to be humorous and earthy. This one, about a $2.5 million cash seizure, went out to 18 DEA agents:

“The driver starred [sic] blankly to the ditch, more than likely with visions of himself running through it,” one Black Asphalt report said. “But as he was fantasizing about freedom, it gave me another good look at his carotid and he was thumping. Crazy thing, but my mouth went dry. I could see that this guy was truly scared, and all I could think was ‘oh boy this is going be good.’ ”

Law enforcement authorities in several states began cautioning that Black Asphalt might run afoul of laws requiring prosecutors to disclose any relevant case information to criminal defendants. In several interviews with The Post, Black Asphalt members said they did not share the reports with their superiors or prosecutors because they did not think they had to.

In 2012, Kurt F. Schmid, executive director of the federal HIDTA task force in Chicago, wrote in a letter to the International Association of Chiefs of Police that such reports are “outside the bounds of [law enforcement] information flow” and so would not be made available to defendants.

“Courts around the country are extremely vigilant at ensuring appropriate disclosures are made to defense counsels at criminal trials,” said the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.

Frye has recently said in a posting on Black Asphalt that officers can address any disclosure issues by sharing Black Asphalt reports with their prosecutors. “The whole discovery argument is BS and ultimately comes down to the officer working with their prosecutors to determine what they need for each case,” he wrote.

Iowa and Kansas prohibited police from filing reports into the system. Kevin Frampton, director of investigative operations at the Iowa Department of Public Safety, wrote on March 1, 2012, that the state attorney general determined that state police “sharing intelligence or investigative information with a private company creates an increased risk for civil and criminal liability for officers and the department.”

On June 11, 2012, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg in Nebraska warned in a letter to state law enforcement there that such reports “may, in fact, violate state criminal law(s) and citizens’ civil rights and liberties” because they contained law-enforcement sensitive information and personal data on citizens.

Hoping to maintain confidence in the system and provide an official imprimatur, David and Frye in 2012 asked the Logan County Sheriff’s Department in Guthrie, Okla., to take control of the Black Asphalt system.

“Since taking control of Black Asphalt Law Enforcement Network in August of 2012 the entire website has been overhauled, updated, and improved,” Logan County Sheriff Jim Bauman wrote in an open letter to police.

In an interview, Frye acknowledged that he and other Desert Snow trainers were on loan to Logan to help run the system. A search of the term Black Asphalt on Google takes computer users to the Desert Snow site.

David and Frye also have sought guidance from the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the Justice Department. David P. Lewis, a senior policy adviser at Justice, said it was “a positive step” that the network had gone under the authority of Logan County, according to a December 2012 letter obtained by The Post. Lewis said the network was then being used by 12,000 officers who accessed the system 1,000 times a day, an apparent decline from previous years.

“We recognize the unique and innovative nature of the Black Asphalt Web site and its efficacy for law enforcement,” Lewis wrote. “However, it is not a criminal intelligence system” subject to federal law.

Lewis pointed out it did not meet federal standards for police intelligence systems, which require police to evaluate the information for relevance and a “reasonably suspected” link to criminal activity. It made 11 recommendations for improving the site, including requiring that BOLOs “be limited to situations of ‘significant investigative interest’ ” and “be based on ‘credible and reliable’ information.”

In June, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office announced that it was handing over control of Black Asphalt to the sheriff’s office in Kane County. The point of contact is Deputy Ron Hain, the author of “In Roads” and the creator of Larry the Interdictor.

About this story

The Washington Post relied on an array of materials to explore the rise of civil seizures in recent years, with a particular focus on highway seizures made by state and local police. For details about seizures and the techniques employed by police, reporters reviewed more than 400 federal court cases in which owners of cash filed legal appeals to get it back. The Post also examined some seizures made under state forfeiture laws.

Through Freedom of Information Act requests, The Post obtained a database from the Justice Department containing details about 212,000 seizures since 1996 through the Equitable Sharing Program, the federal government’s largest asset forfeiture effort.

Justice officials did not release data that pinpointed the geographic location of each seizure, so it is impossible to identify precisely how many seizures occur during traffic stops. To focus on roadside stops, The Post looked at cases that were not made at businesses and that occurred without warrants or indictments: 61,998 seizures have met those criteria since Sept. 11, 2001. That group of cases was then compared to a list obtained by The Post of 1,654 departments and agencies with officers who are members of an unofficial police intelligence network known as the Black Asphalt Electronic Networking & Notification System that is focused on highway stops and seizures.

The Post also obtained more than 43,000 Justice Department reports from state and local police departments across the country that participated in Equitable Sharing, along with records provided by the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit civil liberties group, to assess how seizures contribute to department budgets.


Anyway, to show that some money is subject to seizure, it appears an officer may have to go so far as to say, "it seemed suspicious." Pretty high bar.
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Old 06-19-15, 06:44 PM   #30
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave99 View Post
I wasn't making a particular point about feds, you don't think some podunk city DA will throw up almost that exact argument, and some local judge will be like "well that's good enough for me?"

And I'm not saying the DA would be breaking the law, they present the evidence they have, however weak it might be.
On that, I share your concern. Congress took control of wiretapping and promulgated Federal standards that everybody has to follow; I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the same thing happen with asset forfeiture, including a requirement that it would have to go before a Federal judge.

And Dave: I've got to say, the guys that do drug interdiction get really, really, really good at spotting indicators of trafficking. Like, crazy good. I've never done drug interdiction myself, but I've taken classes taught by them, and it's far more than a hunch they're going off of. What's more, "hunches" in and of themselves aren't bad or forbidden in law enforcement... hunches can't be the sole justification for a traffic stop, for example, but if you have a hunch about somebody AND a legal cause to stop them, then you can and should stop them. (And yes, an aggregation of otherwise innocent behaviors can, when combined, in fact lead to reasonable suspicion or probable cause... I'll remind you that the original predication for Terry v Ohio was a bunch of guys taking turns walking in front of a store front, then conferring with each other. The combination of observed facts and the officer's expertise led him to believe they were casing the store).
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Old 06-21-15, 04:32 PM   #31
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by CaptainMarvel View Post
There's your problem... if you're trying to apply a literal reading of the Constitution, you've already failed the game.
That's not a very sensible way to look at it. To me it is very clear that there cannot always be thorough judicial review with any government action that is a possible infringement of someone's rights.

The guarding procedure must be measured against the (possible) infringement and all other circumstances of the situation. It does matter if you are planning to execute someone, put him in jail, need to take his property because you want to build a mall, or need to temporarily seize someone's car for a pursuit. I get that.

But like I said, ownership is a very fundamental right in a free capitalistic society. It is very troubling to see this being handled this way. In these cases, people should not have to take legal action against the state; the state should bring legal action against the person who holds the goods in question.

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(e.g., I can seize evidence of crime in an automobile without any sort of hearing or warrant).
. Of course, I can too in my country, but that isn't civil seizure but criminal seizure.
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Old 06-21-15, 06:43 PM   #32
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

It's increasingly feeling as if you're telling me how you think US Constitutional law should work based on your interpretation, whereas I'm trying to tell you that's not how the law actually works.

I have no desire to try to and change how you believe things should be.
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Old 06-22-15, 05:17 PM   #33
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Should the $10,000 limit on cash transactions be changed?

The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act in 1970 set a $10,000 limit and that number hasn't changed. $10,000 in 1970 has the same purchasing power as $61,289.95 today.
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Old 06-30-15, 05:34 PM   #34
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Well, with the headline, you will know it is biased, but still interesting. Follow the link if you want to see the actual order.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20...stole-it.shtml
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Judge Orders Lying, Cheating Government To Return $167,000 To The Man They Stole It From

from the nothing-civil-about-this-forfeiture dept

A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California. The officers really wanted that money, too. They used two consecutive stops to jerry-rig some probable cause… even though at that point they thought they were only dealing with $2000. From the original stop forward, the entire situation was deplorable, indisputably showing that everyone involved was more interested in taking (and keeping) a bunch of cash than enforcing laws or pursuing justice.

The order is a jaw-dropping read. It begins with the flimsiest of "reasonable suspicion" and heads downhill after that. Straughn Gorman was driving across Nevada in his RV when he was pulled over for a "left-lane violation" -- driving too slow in the passing lane. (This itself isn't actually a moving violation, but the Supreme Court's Heien decision has ensured that law enforcement needn't be slowed by actual knowledge of the laws they're supposed to be enforcing.)( )

This lead to some questioning, because reasons:

Upon request, Gorman produced his license and registration and told Monroe that he was traveling to Sacramento, California to visit “his chick.” Id. at 60:9-61:5. Gorman told Monroe that his girlfriend lived in downtown Sacramento, but was not able to produce her exact address, noting that it was entered into his GPS system. Id. at 84:2- 22. Gorman’s use of the word “chick” aroused Monroe’s suspicion that Gorman’s answers were rehearsed because Monroe thought that “chick” was an unusual word for a person Gorman’s age—thirty-one at the time of the stop—to use.

Obsolete vernacular = "reasonable suspicion." That and State Trooper Greg Monroe felt Gorman's claimed employment with a "beach activities and paddle board company" sounded similarly "rehearsed." Monroe went back to his vehicle and tried to rustle up a K9 unit. But there were no units nearby, the records check was coming up clean and Monroe was running out of ideas. First, he told Gorman he was free to leave. Then he started fishing:

Immediately afterward, Monroe asked Gorman if he could ask some additional questions. Monroe first asked how Gorman could afford to drive a motor home cross-country when gas prices were over $3.00 per gallon. Monroe then asked if Gorman still sold paddle boards for a living, and asked about his compensation, to which Gorman responded “I don’t want to talk about how much I make.” At approximately 9:25 a.m., Monroe asked if there was anything illegal in Gorman’s motor home, or if he was carrying large amounts of U.S. currency. Gorman then told Monroe that he was only carrying about $2000 in U.S. currency in the motor home. At 9:25:45 a.m, Monroe asked Gorman “do you mind if we search the vehicle?,” to which Gorman said “I do mind, yes.” At this point, Monroe told Gorman that he was free to leave [for the second time], returned to his vehicle, and said “he’s carrying money” aloud to himself.

Monroe smelled money and he wasn't about to let $2000 travel across his state without being apprehended. So, he called the Highway Patrol and told dispatch his suspcions, stating that the only way the vehicle could be searched was with the use of a drug dog. Dispatch called Deputy Doug Fisher and informed him that Gorman did not consent to a search and that he "might want to follow up on the information." Here we have two different law enforcement entities basically colluding to perform a search simply because one entity experienced a refusal. The court isn't impressed.

The Court is particularly troubled that the officers’ belief that Gorman would not consent to a search, and his opposition to the canine sniff, appears to have contributed to the officers’ purported reasonable suspicion to extend the stop and continue the investigation. Individuals have a right to refuse consent for a search, and the existence of this right requires that denial of consent not be a basis to prolong a stop.

On top of this, Monroe called Deputy Fisher directly to "relay his suspicions." He also inflated the amount of money Gorman had admitted to be carrying with him -- from $2000 to $5000. Fisher left the Sheriff's Office ostensibly to perform a "roving patrol," but soon decided to park himself on the side of the highway in order to catch Gorman when his RV passed by. Fisher pulled the RV over after it "crossed the fog line" a few times.

Having been stopped for a second time in under an hour, Gorman was understandably annoyed. He told Fisher the same thing he had told Monroe during his twenty-minute stop earlier. Fisher ran the same records checks and received the same lack of anything actionable. Despite this, Fisher pushed for a canine search.

[A]pproximately twelve minutes into the traffic stop, Fisher released his drug-detection canine “Euros” from his vehicle. Fisher and Euros then approached the motor home and began walking around it in the clockwise direction, starting at the rear left-hand side of the vehicle. As Fisher and Euros circled the rear of the motorhome, Euros sat down near the vehicle’s back right compartment, facing the compartment. Fisher described this as a “committed sit and stare,” which he considered to be a positive alert.

Even if you believe -- like the Supreme Court does -- that drug dogs are mostly reliable and unlikely to respond to signals (unconscious or otherwise) from their handlers, Fisher's next statements indicate that bringing a drug dog onto the scene is just an easy way to generate "probable cause" where none exists.

Gorman then referred to the back rear compartment and said “I can open that if you want to look in it. It’s charcoal and stuff like that, do you want to look in it?” Fisher replied “do you want to talk to me now?” Gorman replied “if he alerted somewhere, look in it because there’s no drugs.” Fisher then noted that odor could come out anywhere on the vehicle, and that the rear back compartment was on the “downwind side of the vehicle.”

Armed with the drug dog's affirmation that drugs might be located somewhere in the RV, the deputy acquired a telephonic warrant and immediately began searching the entire interior of the RV. And while the drug dog continued to "alert" on objects inside the vehicle, no drugs were found. The only thing "illegal" in Gorman's motorhome was $167,000 in cash, stashed away in the freezer, microwave and bedroom. Gorman was (for the third time in under two hours) free to go. But his money wasn't.

Gorman fought back. Almost two-and-a-half years from the point the money was taken, it is now ordered to be returned. On top of that, Gorman will also be awarded attorney's fees. Why? Because the government lied every step of the way.

First off, two different law enforcement officers performed consecutive stops, with the second stop being predicated on the "suspicions" generated by the first. This is something law enforcement cannot do.

Here, Gorman was initially stopped for a minor traffic offense at approximately 9:03 a.m. and released at approximately 9:26 a.m. when Monroe concluded that he did not have probable cause to search the motor home. Gorman was stopped the second time, again for a minor traffic offense, at approximately 10:15 a.m., and held for more than nine minutes before Fisher asked if he could conduct a canine sniff. Fisher knew that Monroe had previously ran a records check and lacked probable cause to hold Gorman, but nonetheless two additional records checks were conducted in order to prolong the detention and make time for a canine sniff. The positive alert occurred approximately twelve minutes after the second traffic stop occurred.

All tolled, Gorman was detained for a total of approximately thirty-five minutes without convincing independent reasonable suspicion—before the officers conducted a canine sniff of the motor home and obtained probable cause for the search. Of course, “an individual who has already been seized can still be further seized for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.” Hopkins v. Bonvicino, 573 F.3d 752, 772 n.12 (9th Cir. 2009). But a second stop requires additional reasonable suspicion independent of the reasonable suspicion present in the first stop.

On top of that, the government -- when arguing for its "right" to take money just because -- claimed the two stops were entirely unrelated.

In its supplemental briefing, and after it became evident that the two stops were connected, the United States argues that “Monroe’s earlier traffic stop is wholly irrelevant to the Fourth Amendment analysis applicable to Gorman’s motion to suppress.” Specifically, the United States contends that “Fisher’s traffic stop was based on his own observations of traffic violations being committed by Gorman, without regard to any information provided” by Monroe. These statements cannot be reconciled with the testimony by Monroe and Fisher, or an independent review of the evidence before the Court.

Note the phrase "after it became evident." This wasn't evident at first. Deputy Fisher hid this fact from the magistrate judge when requesting a warrant over the phone and lied about what Gorman had actually told him.

[T]he warrant application never mentions Monroe’s original stop, that Monroe called Fisher with information about Gorman and Gorman’s vehicle, or that Fisher was dispatched to investigate Gorman. This omission thereby represented to the magistrate that Fisher pulled Gorman over solely due to his traffic violations, as opposed to having been encouraged to investigate Gorman by NHP and Monroe. Second, Fisher represents in the warrant application that Gorman “indicated he had no job.” This is unambiguously contradicted by the video of Fisher’s questioning of Gorman, in which Gorman states clearly that he works for a Maui paddle board company.

These lies -- kindly called "omissions" by the court -- sadly wouldn't be enough on their own to suppress the evidence obtained by the search. But the application of the Supreme Court's Rodriguez decision (officers can't unnecessarily prolong stops to perform [often dog-assisted] fishing expeditions) does call for suppression.

But Deputy Fisher wasn't the only one lying. The State's Attorney's office also lied to the court.

The Court is disappointed that the United States would aggressively pursue this forfeiture action while all of its moving documents for summary judgment and supporting affidavits contained material omissions concerning the history leading to the traffic stop and canine sniff at issue. The government’s Motion for Summary Judgment, with supporting affidavits from Deputy Fisher and the Assistant United States’ Attorney, made no disclosure of anything which would have suggested that Fisher’s stop was a follow-up on Monroe’s stop and was based upon suspicion of a drug related offense.

This is how the government portrayed Fisher's actions in its provided documents.

On January 23, 2013, ECSO Deputy Doug Fisher was monitoring west-bound traffic on Interstate 80 near Elko, Nevada.

But, as pointed out earlier in the order, Doug Fisher wasn't assigned to traffic patrol and wouldn't have just been "monitoring traffic" if he hadn't received a call from dispatch about Gorman's RV, as well as a direct call from Trooper Monroe himself.

On top of the deceit at all levels, there were problems with the search itself. The drug dog alerted on a rear compartment. But rather than search that area, the deputies searched the entire vehicle.

[E]ven assuming that the officers had probable cause to search the back right compartment where the canine alerted, the Court is not convinced that the dog’s positive alert to the compartment gave the officers probable cause to search the entire motor home. Despite Gorman’s consent to search the compartment, the officers did not even begin their search of the motor home with the compartment, instead beginning with a search of the motor home’s main cabin. “Probable cause to believe that a container placed in the trunk of a taxi contains contraband or evidence does not justify a search of the entire cab.” United States v. Ross, 456 U.S. 798, 824 (1982)

The court doesn't weigh this issue specifically (although it does express its skepticism) but it doesn't have to. The prolonged detainment without probable cause is enough to suppress the evidence under Rodriguez.

The court sums it up succinctly while ordering the government to hand over not only Gorman's original $167,000, but attorney's fees as well.

Gorman is undoubtedly the successful party here.

This order shows law enforcement at its ugliest: willing to lie and cheat to maintain control of what it stole.
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Old 07-02-15, 01:29 PM   #35
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

This is nice. A few other states have the same kind of thing. It would be nice to see if drug use, etc. goes up now that police don't have this in their arsenal.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/institut...nd-new-mexico/
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Just in time for the Fourth of July, states are declaring their independence from civil forfeiture.

Enabled by civil forfeiture laws, police can seize and keep property without the government ever filing criminal charges. Innocent Americans actually must prove their own innocence in court if they ever hope to regain their property. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies routinely seize property and pad their budgets with forfeiture revenue. Outlets as diverse as The New Yorker and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver have detailed this travesty of justice.

But thankfully, civil forfeiture’s days may soon be numbered. Starting July 1, two major reforms from Montana and New Mexico will go into effect.

Earlier this year, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed a law that requires the government to first obtain a criminal conviction before taking and keeping someone’s property through civil forfeiture. This legislation also shifts the burden of proof onto the government—where it belongs—when spouses, neighbors and other innocent owners try to get back property used by a suspect without their knowledge. Montana’s civil forfeiture reforms are vital to restore due process and protect the property rights of the innocent.

New Mexico went even further and abolished civil forfeiture outright. As in Montana, law enforcement can only forfeit property after a criminal conviction. Crucially, this new law requires that all forfeiture money be deposited in the general fund, preventing it from becoming a police slush fund. Without a single vote cast against it, Gov. Susana Martinez (and a former prosecutor) signed this landmark reform on April 10.

Impetus for reform came after the Institute for Justice and The New York Times uncovered unsettling comments made last fall. Speaking at a forfeiture conference, Pete Connelly, then the city attorney for Las Cruces, New Mexico, called civil forfeiture “a gold mine,” and told attendees, “We could be czars. We could own the city.”

Even former stalwart proponents of civil forfeiture have undergone road to Damascus moments. Hal Stratton, a former Republican Attorney General for New Mexico, once backed expanding forfeiture. But in March, he publically urged Gov. Martinez to abolish civil forfeiture. More remarkably, Brad Cates and John Yoder, who both headed the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Office during the Reagan Administration, took to The Washington Post last year to decry civil forfeiture as a “corruption,” calling it “fundamentally at odds with our judicial system and notions of fairness.”

To overhaul the nation’s civil forfeiture laws, lawmakers should follow a four-step approach. Crucially, none of these reforms would affect the ability of law enforcement agencies to take assets from convicted criminals.

First, lawmakers must remove the profit incentive behind civil forfeiture. Allowing police and prosecutors to keep what they seize has enriched law enforcement at the cost of Americans’ constitutional rights. Since 1985, the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Fund has grown from $27 million to over $2 billion in 2013. Nationwide, more than 500 police departments and task forces have seized the equivalent of 20 percent or more of their yearly budgets. To end this appalling incentive to police for profit, legislators should direct all forfeiture proceeds either to the general fund or to a specified neutral fund, like education.

Second, reforms should ensure that property owners are innocent until proven guilty. Denying due process, those facing civil forfeiture often have to prove their own innocence in court.

Third, more states should follow the lead of Montana and New Mexico and require a criminal conviction before forfeiting property. Such a common-sense approach to law enforcement is currently on the books in only four states (Minnesota and North Carolina are the other two).

Finally, states should restrict the ability to participate in the federal “equitable sharing” program. Local and state law enforcement can take up to 80 percent of forfeiture proceeds, if they partner with a federal agency. Appallingly, collaboration can occur even in states that tightened their forfeiture laws, clearly undermining principles of federalism.

New Mexico’s legislation bans its law enforcement from transferring seized property to a federal agency, unless the property at stake is worth at least $50,000. The law also prohibits such transfers if they would “circumvent the protections” state law provides for New Mexicans.

As the renowned economist Frédéric Bastiat once wrote, “It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.” No American should ever lose his property without first being convicted of a crime.
I am wondering how these are reasonable changes to the law.
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Old 07-02-15, 02:16 PM   #36
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Require that all civil forfeitures be used to pay off the national debt and I think you'd see a huge drop in civil forfeitures.
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Old 07-02-15, 02:18 PM   #37
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

How about using civil forfeitures to pay for gay weddings?
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Old 07-02-15, 02:19 PM   #38
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Now that's a fabulous idea!
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Old 07-02-15, 02:34 PM   #39
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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How about using civil forfeitures to pay for gay weddings?
That's a lot of pizza!
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Old 07-02-15, 02:45 PM   #40
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Old 07-02-15, 04:32 PM   #41
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by CaptainMarvel View Post
It's increasingly feeling as if you're telling me how you think US Constitutional law should work based on your interpretation, whereas I'm trying to tell you that's not how the law actually works.

I have no desire to try to and change how you believe things should be.
Well, until SCOTUS decides on the issue at hand, we don't know how things legally "are". Based on my understanding of US constitutional law, the Supreme Court would indeed strike down civil seizures as practised by some states. In fact, I would accept bets on it.

Of course, we'll only know when the issue at hand is brought before the supreme court.
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Old 07-02-15, 04:35 PM   #42
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by Mark_vdH View Post
Well, until SCOTUS decides on the issue at hand, we don't know how things legally "are". Based on my understanding of US constitutional law, the Supreme Court would indeed strike down civil seizures as practised by some states. In fact, I would accept bets on it.

Of course, we'll only know when the issue at hand is brought before the supreme court.
Do not take bets. Corporations are people. Money is speech, and the Supreme Court says your money isn't yours. It is just money, and it may be guilty of a crime, so it can be taken. Read this.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...overnment.html
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Old 07-02-15, 04:39 PM   #43
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

http://www.businessinsider.com/supre...eiture-2014-11
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Under federal and state laws known as civil forfeiture, police can seize cash or property if they suspect it's tied to an illegal activity even if the property owner isn't charged with a crime. On its face, this practice seems like an obvious violation of the Fifth Amendment's stipulation that you can't "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

The Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. That court has issued a number of rulings upholding civil forfeiture, including one in 1996 that said seizure of an innocent person's property didn't violate due process. In that case, a Michigan woman named Tina Bennis fought the seizure of her car after her husband was caught having sex with a prostitute in it.
I have read the decision, but how wild is it that the state taking away your money and not charging you with anything doesn't qualify as being "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law? It's fucking stupid.
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Old 07-02-15, 04:47 PM   #44
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by Mark_vdH View Post
Well, until SCOTUS decides on the issue at hand, we don't know how things legally "are". Based on my understanding of US constitutional law, the Supreme Court would indeed strike down civil seizures as practised by some states. In fact, I would accept bets on it.

Of course, we'll only know when the issue at hand is brought before the supreme court.
I give up with you. Keep thinking what you wish. There's a reason that the judge in post 34 addressed the case as a 4th Amendment prolonged seizure and not based on your alleged unconstitutionality of the seizure process.
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Old 07-02-15, 04:50 PM   #45
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

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Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
http://www.businessinsider.com/supre...eiture-2014-11


I have read the decision, but how wild is it that the state taking away your money and not charging you with anything doesn't qualify as being "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law? It's fucking stupid.
Because the innocent person let somebody else use that property (a car) in that case, and that person used the property to commit a crime?
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Old 07-02-15, 05:04 PM   #46
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

Not really. The wife (co-owner) didn't know what the husband was doing. She owns half the car. But beyond that, I think you say it best with "and that person used the property to commit a crime," because now we get to the idea that an inanimate object can be a criminal. THAT PERSON USED.....and that is who should be punished. That person is involved in a crime. The property has no way to resist being used in illegal activities. It has no way to represent itself. It is property. And let's face it, we all think the SCOTUS is wrong on some issues. Hell, even justices think that.

For me, if I'm living in a free country and the 4th amendment says that I cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, then this is just plain wrong. If I take something of yours, it is stealing. If the police take something of yours, they ought to have to convict the person whose property they took.

I simply don't see how that isn't agreeable to everyone. I don't understand how we can be okay with living in a country where your property can be taken by the state when the owner of the property has done nothing wrong. The above gets confused because the car was owned by two people and one committed the crime. But I simply cannot fathom how our country believes it is okay to take property for any reason without having to show there was a crime somewhere. That's theft. It may be legal theft, currently, but it is still theft.
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Old 07-02-15, 05:14 PM   #47
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

They're taking mah free countries!

In the Bennis case, they sued her to forfeit the car. You can't go on about lack of due process while ignoring the actual process that took place.

Let's say you and I go to the store and each pitch in $250 to buy a gun. If I go use that gun to commit a crime without your knowledge, that gun is now the instrumentality used to commit a crime. It's subject to be forfeit, regardless of your financial interest in it.

This is a rule older far older than you or I are, Dave. Apoplexy and hystrionics aside, I can see where forfeiture could be misused, and I'm great with reforms to curtail those abuses. But at this point you aren't crying about abuses of the system, but the system even when it's working as it should.
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Old 07-02-15, 05:42 PM   #48
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

I see that on the case above that I linked to. I don't have a problem with them seizing things actually used in crimes, as that was. But I still don't understand how anyone can be okay with seizing things where there is no crime established and there is no one charged with a crime and the burden of proof is on the person to prove that their asset was not used in a crime. Most of the cases that seem to be flat out wrong have to do with cash. How does anyone show that cash hasn't been used in a crime?

You may or may not remember this. I loaned a guy some money and took the title to his truck as security. He was busted on a drug charge and the truck seized. I met with the sheriff and laid out the case that I was not involved in a crime and the truck belonged to me because he didn't pay me back. I got the truck. So don't hear me as saying that civil seizure is wrong in every single case. However, I cannot think of a case where I would be fine with it when no one is charged with a crime.

And while the rule is far older than you or I, it has gone through a number of changes. I can't conceive of an argument where a persons property is taken, they are not charged with anything, and they can't get it back. One of the big changes was the "equitable sharing" program the feds did. This was in response to states reigning in what they saw as abuse, and it was just a loophole grated to police by the feds....after they get their 20%. That was done by Eric Holder, so it isn't very old.
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Old 07-02-15, 07:21 PM   #49
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

seizing a car for picking up a hooker. There is no other word than absurd for that. I really hope that sometime soon forfeiture is completely nuked, so we can tell the police "this is why you can't have nice things" because they can't use the law for what it was intended for.
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Old 07-02-15, 07:52 PM   #50
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Re: The One and Only Civil Seizure thread

This particular law was specifically designed to help abate nuisances like drug dealers, prostitutes, etc in an area. Money went to recoup the cost of the legal action, to victims, and to the state general fund, not the police. It would seem like the anger in this case should be directed at the state legislature, rather than law enforcement, no?
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