Author Topic: Civil Asset Forfeiture  (Read 3377 times)

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Offline CitizensHaveRights

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Civil Asset Forfeiture
« on: October 09, 2014, 11:29:52 AM »
It's not often that I watch 16 minutes of HBO's political speech and think it was time well spent, but this was one of those times:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/10/06/john_oliver_on_civil_forfeiture_with_jeff_goldblum_he_creates_new_law_order.html
"A well balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed "  - Who has a right to keep and eat food, The People or A Well Balanced Breakfast?

Offline bigt8261

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 01:23:11 PM »
I watched this the other night. I know CAF was bad, but I didn't know it was this bad. Hopefully Tom McMillin will succeed slowing this in Michigan.

Offline CitizensHaveRights

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 04:56:18 PM »
Back in the 1980s I saw an article in Reader's Digest on the subject.
They mentioned a county in Georgia where the deputies would stop Orlando bound tourists on the freeway, and if they had more than $100 in their wallets the sheriff's department would steal it as allegedly 'related to the drug trade'.

I was pretty much a kid then, but I couldn't figure out why anybody would allow themselves to become armed robbery victims like that without putting the car in reverse and driving it over the thief 10-20 times as soon as he turned his back to return to his own car.
"A well balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed "  - Who has a right to keep and eat food, The People or A Well Balanced Breakfast?

Offline gryphon

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 08:21:07 PM »
Several states are notorious for stealing money from citizens.  FL, GA, TN, TX, and LA are some that come to mind.  Cops in LA would take money and the cars if they were nice.  In Texas many cops would pick on Americans of Mexican descent, knowing they were intimidated by law enforcement.  Many couldn't speak English well and didn't know the legal system.  Some cops just pocketed the money themselves. 

One of the more famous cases in TN that comes to mind is a businessman who was traveling to Nashville and a cop took $22,500 from him that he had to purchase a car.  He even showed the cop the proof it was for the car.  It took him a long time to get the money back, and he only got it back after the news did an investigation.  And he had to sign a statement waiving his constitutional rights and promising not to sue.  And they made him drive from NJ to TN just to pick up a check.  They wouldn't mail it to him.  I could probably find the news article online.  Yep, here it is:

http://www.jrn.com/newschannel5/news/newschannel-5-investigates/policing-for-profit/265578441.html

He was never arrested.  In fact, most aren't arrested, they just take the money without proof of anything illegal and let them go.  A TV news crew did an expose on Tennessee law enforcement seizing money.  In one dashcam video they obtained, two cops from different agencies got in a (verbal) fight on the side of the interstate arguing over who was going to make the seizure as one cop pulled in front of another cop to make the stop.  One cop threatened the other.

Ha!  I just watched the video above and it contains the Reby story!

State legislators are trying to get the law changed so that any seized money cannot be kept by the arresting law enforcement agency, but must be turned over to the state for other uses (schools, etc.)  The thought is that it will cut down on false seizures just so they can keep the stolen money for themselves.

And now this just happened.  A NY cop stole $1,300 from a construction worker who took the money out from his bank account to take his wife out for a birthday celebration.  Here is the news story and cell phone video of the money grab.  You can see it.  The money has NOT been accounted for.  Supposedly it is under "investigation."

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/10/watch_nypd_cop_allegedly_take_1_000_from_construction_worker.html

« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 08:38:55 PM by gryphon »

Offline gryphon

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 09:03:54 PM »
Another couple of cases come to mind.  This might have been in PA, not sure without looking it up again, but this was a recent one.  The owners had their hotel seized because fourteen people (customers) had been arrested over the course of fifteen years there for drugs (smoking pot, etc.)  An arrest did not prompt this seizure.  The agency was going over their arrests looking for property they could justify seizing for profit, and they discovered these arrests over the course of, as I said, fifteen years. So they took the $2.1 million property.  The couple had a big fight getting it back.

One of the more egregious cases happened in California.  A retired couple owned some very valuable property that the cops wanted, so they did a no-knock at 4AM.  When they busted into the bedroom, the man thought they were being attacked by robbers and so grabbed his bedside gun.  The cops shot him dead in bed.  The agency then searched the acreage hoping to find some marijuana plants thus justifying the raid.  Of course, there weren't any.

I don't remember what the lawsuit came to on that.  This stuff happens all the time.  The problem is--as if that weren't enough--that the cops are never reprimanded, fired, or arrested themselves, and the citizens have to pay for the lawsuit.  Even if the agency's insurance covers it, the citizens pay through increased insurance costs.

Some PDs have been shut down because either they can no longer afford the cost of the insurance, or the insurer refuses to insure them any more.  Just the other day a city near Cincinnati, Lincoln Heights, OH, disbanded their PD because they had so many lawsuits they were uninsurable.  WCPO 9 Cincinnati conducted "one of the most eye-opening investigations into police corruption this year."
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 09:12:46 PM by gryphon »

Offline CitizensHaveRights

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 10:22:30 PM »
One of the more egregious cases happened in California.  A retired couple owned some very valuable property that the cops wanted, so they did a no-knock at 4AM.  When they busted into the bedroom, the man thought they were being attacked by robbers and so grabbed his bedside gun.  The cops shot him dead in bed.  The agency then searched the acreage hoping to find some marijuana plants thus justifying the raid.  Of course, there weren't any.

If it's the one I'm thinking about, it was decades ago, the cops were alleged to have been searching property tax records for estates worth stealing and this guy was guilty only of owning a house worth $6 mil or something like that. He'd just had eye surgery, and I think his name was Scott. The judge who signed the warrant should have been jailed for homicide.
"A well balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed "  - Who has a right to keep and eat food, The People or A Well Balanced Breakfast?

Offline gryphon

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 10:26:57 PM »
I don't remember the man's name, but yes, it is an old case so that's probably the one.

Offline CitizensHaveRights

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 10:48:25 PM »
It helped that you remembered it was in California, which I didn't remember.
Since LA County is the Chitcago of the Pacific Coast, where it's OK to shoot Hispanic old ladies delivering newspapers in a blue Toyota because a big black disgruntled cop drives a silver Nissan, it's a likely place to find this (and I was way off on the dollar value):

http://fee.org/the_freeman/detail/seizure-fever-the-war-on-property-rights/

Asset forfeiture distorts law enforcement priorities; instead of chasing violent criminals, some police target wealthy citizens. Early in the morning of October 2, 1992, a small army of 31 people from eight law enforcement agencies smashed their way into 61-year-old Donald Scott’s home on his 200-acre Trail’s End Ranch in Malibu, California. The raiders were equipped with automatic weapons, flak jackets, and a battering ram.[20] Scott’s wife screamed when she saw the intruders, Scott came out of the bedroom with a pistol in his hands, and police gunned him down. After killing Scott, the agents thoroughly searched his house and ranch but failed to find any illicit drugs.

Ventura County district attorney Michael Bradbury investigated the raid and issued a report in 1993 that concluded that a “primary purpose of the raid was a land grab by the [Los Angeles County] Sheriff’s Department.”[21] Bradbury revealed that at a briefing before the raid took place, government agents were informed that the ranch had been appraised at $1.1 million and that “80 acres sold for $800,000 in 1991 in the same area.”[22] The law officers at the briefing were told that if they discovered as few as “14 marijuana plants” on the ranch, the entire property could be seized.[23] Bradbury also concluded that a Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy had lied to obtain a search warrant and declared: “This search warrant became Donald Scott’s death warrant. This guy should not be dead.”[24] Los Angeles officials claimed that a confidential informant told them that marijuana was being grown on Scott’s ranch, but the informant denied ever making such a statement.[25]
"A well balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed "  - Who has a right to keep and eat food, The People or A Well Balanced Breakfast?

Offline gryphon

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 11:52:56 AM »
Probably nothing ever happened to the cops that lied to obtain the search warrant and murdered Mr. Scott in his own house.

Offline part deux

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 02:14:15 PM »
Probably nothing ever happened to the cops that lied to obtain the search warrant and murdered Mr. Scott in his own house.

Ya can't make this stuff up
Quote
In 2005, John was transferred to the Office of Professional Standards to supervise the agency's first-ever law enforcement accreditation process. The agency was later accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. His responsibilities in this position, where he currently remains, include supervising the agency's internal investigations into claims of officer misconduct, maintaining the agency's accreditation by writing and implementing effective policies on behalf of the sheriff, overseeing the grant application and reward process, and acting as the sheriff's public spokesman. He is also a certified assessor with the aforementioned Commission.
source

Offline gryphon

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2014, 04:42:23 PM »
Ya can't make this stuff up

What connection am I missing?  Who is John Herrell?

Offline CitizensHaveRights

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2014, 06:31:51 PM »
Was Herrell one of the shooters of Donald Scott, or at least one of the 31 armed thugs who assaulted his home?

I'd say these two are probably the perpetrators responsible for the breaking and entering if not the shooting itself:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Donald_P._Scott
Later, the lead agent in the case, sheriff's deputy Gary Spencer and his partner John Cater posed for photographs smiling arm-in-arm outside Scott's cabin.
"A well balanced breakfast being necessary to the start of a healthy day, the right of the people to keep and eat food shall not be infringed "  - Who has a right to keep and eat food, The People or A Well Balanced Breakfast?

Offline part deux

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2014, 10:02:19 AM »
John Herrell was the dept spokesman that rationalized the killing of Scott as being acceptable.

Offline gryphon

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2014, 02:24:56 PM »
Are you sure it is the same guy?  It doesn't look like Herrell was a cop back then.

Offline part deux

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Re: Civil Asset Forfeiture
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2014, 08:56:27 PM »
Are you sure it is the same guy?  It doesn't look like Herrell was a cop back then.

you're absolutely correct.  Interesting the same, not common names.