Radley Balko & Barry Cooper on HuffPostLive: Civil Forfeitures; END Policing for Profit, Now!Submitted by AnCapMercenary on Thu, 08/15/2013 - 12:34
[And, ABOLISH the entire doctrine of "Eminent Domain," for that matter!]
FULL Show Direct .mp4 DownLoad: http://avideos.5min.com/941/5178941/517894098_2.mp4
Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Taking illicit gains away from criminals and funneling them into crime-fighting has garnered support, but who else loses?
Former Narcotics Officer: Smoking Pot Changed My View Of The Drug War | HPL [SAMPLE Clip]
Published on Aug 14, 2013
Barry Cooper, a former Texas Narcotics Officer, talks about how his stance on the drug war changed after he started smoking pot himself.
HuffPost Live is a live-streaming network that puts you, the community, front and center. HuffPost Live streams 12 hours of original programming 5 days a week with highlights showing overnight and on weekends. We operate out of state-of-the-art studios in New York and Los Angeles and feature a rotating team of hosts and producers.
End Civil Asset Forfeiture (Scott Bullock)
Published on Aug 15, 2013
A recent New Yorker article has awakened many Americans to the scourge of civil asset forfeiture in which police can seize property without charging anyone with a crime and pocket the proceeds. Many police organizations call the proceeds of civil asset forfeiture a vital source of funding. Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, describes the practice and the best avenues for reform.
Video produced by Caleb O. Brown and Austin Bragg.
Policing for Profit
April 4, 2010
Featuring Scott Bullock
by Isaiah Thompson, Special to ProPublica
Aug. 5, 2013, 6:39 a.m.
Rochelle Bing outside of her row home in North Philadelphia. For two years, Bing fought the city to keep her house from being seized under “civil forfeiture” laws. (Andrew Renneisen for ProPublica)
When Rochelle Bing bought her modest row home on a tattered block in North Philadelphia 10 years ago, she saw it as an investment in the future for her extended family — especially for her 18 grandchildren.
Bing, 42, works full-time as a home health assistant for the elderly and disabled. In summer when school is out, her house is awash with grandkids whom Bing tends to while their parents work. And the home has been a haven in troubled times when her children needed help or a father went to jail. One of Bing’s grandchildren lives there now.
Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?
by Sarah Stillman
August 12, 2013
Clockwise from left: James Morrow, Javier Flores, Jennifer Boatright and her son Jacob, Dale Agostini, and Nelly Moreira. Many police budgets depend on money from forfeiture. Photographs by Ashley Gilbertson.
On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson’s home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border. They made the trip every April, at the first signs of spring, to walk the local wildflower trails and spend time with Henderson’s father. This year, they’d decided to buy a used car in Linden, which had plenty for sale, and so they bundled their cash savings in their car’s center console. Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read “Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!”
They pulled into a mini-mart for snacks. When they returned to the highway ten minutes later, Boatright, a honey-blond “Texas redneck from Lubbock,” by her own reckoning, and Henderson, who is Latino, noticed something strange. The same police car that their eleven-year-old had admired in the mini-mart parking lot was trailing them. Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over.
Related Articles & Video
Policing for Profit - The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture
Uploaded on Mar 30, 2010
Learn more at http://www.ij.org/PolicingForProfit
Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. With civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your property and use it to fund their budgets—all without charging you with a crime. Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but with civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent—and law enforcement has a huge incentive to police for profit, not justice.
If police suspect that you committed a crime, they can arrest you and put you on trial. At that trial, prosecutors must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
But if police suspect your car was involved in a crime, they can take it, sell it and, in most places, pocket the proceeds to pad their budgets. They need not prove you committed any crime—or even arrest you—to take your property away.
Welcome to the upside-down world of civil asset forfeiture.
With civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent to get it back.
And because most state and federal laws allow police and prosecutors to pocket the proceeds, they have a big incentive to pursue profits, not justice.
How big? In 1986, the Justice Departments forfeiture fund took in 94 million dollars. Now it has more than a billion. State and local agencies receive forfeiture funds, too—but we don't know how much because most states don't publicly report on forfeiture.
No surprise—abuse is rampant. One New York police department spent forfeiture funds on food, gifts and entertainment. In Georgia, forfeiture funds paid for football tickets for a DAs office. In Louisiana, cops used funds to pay for ski trips to Aspen. And a DA in Texas used forfeiture dollars to buy TV ads for his re-election campaign.
Meanwhile, citizens are seeing cash, cars and other property taken away for the flimsiest of reasons. Carrying too much cash? Police can accuse you of selling drugs or laundering money and seize it, no conviction or even arrest required.
An Institute for Justice study grades state laws on how well they protect people from wrongful forfeitures. Only three states receive a B or better. The rest range from mediocre to awful—and so does federal law.
Worse, a federal legal loophole allows police and prosecutors to bypass state protections and keep pocketing forfeiture money. IJ's research shows that the easier and more profitable these laws make forfeiture, the more it is used and abused.
Its time to end civil forfeiture. People shouldn't have their property taken away without being convicted of a crime. And law enforcement shouldn't be policing for profit
Learn more at http://www.ij.org/PolicingForProfit
By Marian R. Williams, Ph.D.
Jefferson E. Holcomb, Ph.D.
Tomislav V. Kovandzic, Ph.D.
Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today. Under civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets—all without so much as charging you with a crime. Unlike criminal forfeiture, where property is taken after its owner has been found guilty in a court of law, with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with or convicted of a crime to lose homes, cars, cash or other property.
Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head. With civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.
Massachusetts Civil Forfeiture: United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Mass. (The Motel Caswell)
Federal & Local Law Enforcement Agencies Try to Take Family Motel from Innocent Owners
IJ client Russ Caswell and his family have owned and operated the Motel Caswell in Tewksbury, Mass., for two generations. The Caswells nearly had their property taken from them by local and federal law enforcement officials through a process known as “civil forfeiture."
Imagine you own a million-dollar piece of property free and clear, but then the federal government and local law enforcement agents announce that they are going to take it from you, not compensate you one dime, and then use the money they get from selling your land to pad their budgets—all this even though you have never so much as been accused of a crime, let alone convicted of one.
That is the nightmare Russ Caswell and his family faced in Tewksbury, Mass., where the the federal government tried to take the family-operated motel they have owned for two generations.
Seeking to circumvent state law and cash in on the profits, the Tewksbury Police Department teamed up with the United States Department of Justice to take and sell the Caswell’s property because a tiny fraction of people staying there during the past 14 years were arrested for drug crimes. Keep in mind, the Caswells themselves have worked closely with law enforcement officials to prevent and report crime on their property. And during those 14 years, the government pointed to a mere fifteen arrests—out of more than 200,000 rooms rented during that time by the Caswells.
Download the report: Inequitable Justice
Scott Bullock and Vanita Gupta
Posted: 04/12/10 04:36 PM ET
Imagine a police officer pulls you over and tells you he believes the cash you're carrying was used to in some illegal activity and--based only on that hunch--he is going to take it from you without charging you with a crime. Impossible, you think? Welcome to the down-is-up and black-is-white world of civil forfeiture, where our civil liberties and property rights are under assault.
Consider the story of Javier Gonzalez: In August 2005, Gonzalez borrowed a car from his employer in Austin, Texas, and drove to Brownsville to visit his dying aunt and to make arrangements for her funeral. He brought more than $10,000 in cash to provide for her burial. On his way, Gonzalez was pulled over for having an improperly attached license plate. When officers found the cash, they handcuffed Gonzalez and took him in for investigation. A search revealed no drugs or contraband, but officers seized the money anyway. They told Gonzalez that he could either sign away his legal right to the cash or face money-laundering charges and have the car seized - despite a lack of any evidence of criminal activity. He signed away his rights. Gonzalez was fortunate enough to be able to hire a lawyer to challenge the forfeiture and, in 2008, three years after his money was taken, it was returned. Others are not so lucky.
Posted: 05/20/2012 8:52 am
Updated: 05/21/2012 2:53 pm
When the Brown County, Wis., Drug Task Force arrested her son Joel last February, Beverly Greer started piecing together his bail.
She used part of her disability payment and her tax return. Joel Greer's wife also chipped in, as did his brother and two sisters. On Feb. 29, a judge set Greer's bail at $7,500, and his mother called the Brown County jail to see where and how she could get him out. "The police specifically told us to bring cash," Greer says. "Not a cashier's check or a credit card. They said cash."