Tag Archive: Civil Forfeiture Abuse


John Oliver Strikes Again

 

 

 

” It does seem to me that John Oliver is in the process of inventing some interesting new kind of political/social commentary – the 20-minute single-issue rant that is both hilariously funny, well put-together, and often quite devastatingly effective, as argument.  I find that when he deals with something I happen to know something about — net neutrality, say, or the governance of FIFA, or the so-called right to be forgotten” — he gets to the heart of the matter pretty quickly, and that’s not something I often find to be true, and it’s not an easy thing to do (though of course, like all good performers, he makes it look easy).  He is quite good at isolating the outrageous and then looping us for a while around the slippery slopes that surround it, and then bringing the conversation back to another bit of outrageousness and doing it again.  It’s like an amusement park ride, but it has an argumentative purpose.   There’s a line between simplifying (which he does, brilliantly) and over-simplifying (which I find he generally does not do), and it’s a very hard one to walk, and he does it quite well. “

Washington Post

American Shakedown: Police Won’t Charge You, But They’ll Grab Your Money

 

 

 

 

 

 

” On its official website, the Canadian government informs its citizens that “there is no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the United States.” Nonetheless, it adds, banking in the U.S. can be difficult for non-residents, so Canadians shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash.

That last bit is excellent advice, but for an entirely different reason than the one Ottawa cites.

There’s a shakedown going on in the U.S., and the perps are in uniform.

  Across America, law enforcement officers — from federal agents to state troopers right down to sheriffs in one-street backwaters — are operating a vast, co-ordinated scheme to grab as much of the public’s cash as they can; “hand over fist,” to use the words of one police trainer. “

  It usually starts on the road somewhere. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction — changing lanes without proper signalling, following the car ahead too closely, straddling lanes. The offense is irrelevant.

  Then the police officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you’re going, or where you came from, and why. He’ll peer into your car, then perhaps ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorist weaponry or drugs.

What he’s really looking for, though, is money.

‘Authorities claim it’s legal, but some prosecutors and judges have called it what it is: abuse. In any case, it’s a nasty American reality.’

  And if you were foolish (or intimidated) enough to have consented to the search, and you’re carrying any significant amount of cash, you are now likely to lose it.

  The officer will probably produce a waiver, saying that if you just sign over the money then the whole matter will just disappear, and you’ll be able to go on your way.

  Refuse to sign it, and he may take the cash anyway, proclaiming it the probable proceeds of drugs or some other crime.

  Either way, you almost certainly won’t be charged with anything; the objective is to take your money, not burden the system.

  You’ll have the right to seek its return in court, but of course that will mean big lawyer’s fees, and legally documenting exactly where the money came from. You will need to prove you are not a drug dealer or a terrorist.

  It might take a year or two. And several trips back to the jurisdiction where you were pulled over. Sorry.

  In places like Tijuana, police don’t make any pretense about this sort of thing. Here in the U.S., though, it’s dressed up in terms like “interdiction and forfeiture,” or “the equitable sharing program.

  Authorities claim it’s legal, but some prosecutors and judges have called it what it is: abuse.

  In any case, it’s a nasty American reality.

  Seizing suspected drug money has been legal here for decades, but after 9/11 police acquired a whole new set of powers and justifications. And they set about using them for profit.

The Washington Post this week reported that in the past 13 years, there have been 61,998 cash seizures on roadways and elsewhere without use of search warrants. The total haul: $2.5 billion.

  As the Canadian government notes, there is no law against carrying it here or any legal limit on how much you can carry. But  if you’re on an American roadway with a full wallet, in the eyes of thousands of cash-hungry cops you’re a rolling ATM. “

 

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Sen. Rand Paul Wants To Make It Harder For The Feds To Take Your Stuff

 

 

 

 

 

” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) today announced he has introduced the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) Act to add a bit more due process to the system by which federal prosecutors seize citizens’ assets, often before ever proving they’ve broken the law. From his office’s announcement:

  The FAIR Act would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence before forfeiting seized property. State law enforcement agencies will have to abide by state law when forfeiting seized property. Finally, the legislation would remove the profit incentive for forfeiture by redirecting forfeitures assets from the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund to the Treasury’s General Fund.

” The federal government has made it far too easy for government agencies to take and profit from the property of those who have not been convicted of a crime. The FAIR Act will ensure that government agencies no longer profit from taking the property of U.S. citizens without due process, while maintaining the ability of courts to order the surrender of proceeds of crime,” Sen. Paul said. “

 

Reason has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nebraska Cops Ordered To Pay $40k And Return $1 Million Seized From Innocent Woman

 

 

 

 

” Tara Mishra, 33, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, had her life turned upside down, her life savings taken, and her business plans quashed in March 2012 when police unlawfully seized just over $1 million from her during a traffic stop.

  Last July, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Bataillon ordered police to return the money. This week, that same judge ordered the government to pay Mishra an additional $39,035 to cover attorney fees.

  Back in 2012, two of Mishra’s future business associates, a husband and wife, were driving to New Jersey from California to help her pursue her lifelong dream of purchasing a nightclub. The pair had more than $1 million of Mishra’s cash in the car when they were pulled over for speeding near North Platte, Nebraska, and a routine traffic stop turned into a nightmare.

  During a consensual search of the vehicle at the traffic stop, officers discovered Mishra’s cash in multiple plastic bags stuffed with $100 bills in $10,000 stacks. Suspecting drug involvement, the officers called in a K-9 unit, which indicated trace amounts of illegal drugs on the bills. On this basis, police seized the cash. Sound familiar? Nearly 90 percent of U.S. currency contains trace amounts of cocaine—hardly evidence that any particular person is involved in drug activity. The couple was released without being charged only after agreeing to relinquish the cash.”

 

Heritage has more