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June 2011
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Forfeiture Reform

If you don’t already follow/support Americans for Forfeiture Reform, you should. Our asset forfeiture systems in this country are a total disgrace, full of corruption, and essentially a “legalized” system of highway robbery, allowing government entities to take cash and property and use it themselves, often with no evidence of criminal activity.

Grasping at Straws gives an update on the Camp Zoe situation…

The federal government has finally brought charges against Jimmy Tebeau, the musician who owns Camp Zoe, which the government is currently attempting to take through civil forfeiture. The case looks like thin gruel. Saint Louis’ River Front Times reports:

The 44-year-old Cape Girardeau resident faces a single felony count of “operating premises for the facilitation of illegal drug use,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On its face, that appears to be a highly unusual charge for a land owner/music promoter. It neither alleges that Tebeau himself sold illegal drugs nor used them personally — and appears to discount the festivals’ music and entertainment value almost entirely. […]

That is completely absurd. Tebeau is a musician who bought that land to use as his primary venue. He played scores of shows at Camp Zoe and hosted dozens more with musical acts ranging from George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic to Los Lobos, the Roots, and the Marshall Tucker Band. During the summer it was one of the larger venues for live music in the state of Missouri. Like any music venue with thousands of attendees, drug use occurred there, but to say that Tebeau held all these events purely to allow drugs use to take place is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and considering that the U.S. attorney is not charging Tebeau with the possession or sale of any drugs, I doubt the government has it.

Instead, I think the government may be using this charge to force Tebeau to acquiesce in the fight to keep Camp Zoe.

Fortunately, in many areas, people are starting to wake up to the atrocities of forfeiture abuse, particularly when corruption in the spending of the proceeds comes to light. But we need even more attention in this area.

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28 comments to Forfeiture Reform

  • Ben

    Forfeiture reform is extremely difficult. 99% of voters’ eyes glaze over when you talk about something so “boring”. Where’s Ron Paul when you need some property rights?

    • And we can always count on those in power to make sure that it remains “boring” to the common folk (via all of the obvious avenues).

    • tommy

      Even worse is that so many people, including cannabis users who don’t study this stuff, don’t even know that the forfeiture laws even exist. I’ve even had people not believe me when I try to tell them about it.

  • divadab

    Prohibition is a racket – and it makes racketeers of the police. And clearly the laws are being applied arbitrarily, as are most federal laws, according to the personalities with the power to enforce them.

    No way this charge would have been laid in Vermont or California or Oregon. It just happens that the federal prosecutor in Missouri is a prohibitionist who wants to put this guy out of business.

    Your federal government at work – enabling unjust dominion and private property confiscation through illegitimate laws. What can we say about a government which would throw most of its Founders in jail, confiscate their property, shoot their dogs, and take their children into government “care” for growing hemp on their farms as most of them did?

  • Bruce

    What better way to stimulate the writing of protest songs.
    Wish I could write and play guitar. I’d write songs like
    .All fun; Killed
    .Forfiet; This!
    .A taste of your own medicine
    .Flushing spit
    .Your nose rubbed in it
    .Go to the corner
    .Pension Hog
    ,Dunce King
    .Sour Bacon

    Our choicest plans
    have fallen through,
    our airiest castles
    tumbled over,
    because of lines
    we neatly drew
    and later neatly
    stumbled over.

    from Grooks, by Piet Hein

  • Maria

    The Camp Zoe fiasco is heartbreaking and chilling.

    The feds might actually “lose” in this case, spending resources without anything tangible gained. The intangibles gained being of course the message, which is loud and clear, “We can take any thing from any person for any reason.”

    It seems that the bank is claiming the land as theirs. The mortgage hasn’t been paid since November (yes, the same month the Feds initiated the theft of assets.)

    http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/dailyrft/2011/04/jimmy_tebeau_camp_zoe_asset_forfeiture_pnc.php

    Donate to the legal fund if you can.

  • DdC

    Rainbow Farm Massacre
    After receiving a letter from the Cass County prosecutor in March 1999 threatening the campground’s forfeiture if marijuana-smoking festivals didn’t stop, Crosslin replied in writing:

    “Our friends at the Michigan Militia have their ideas of how we should handle your threats, but as I said, we are pursuing a peaceful change to the laws…. I have discussed this with my family, and we are all prepared to die on this land before we allow it to be stolen from us.”

    Cops Confiscation Maliciously Punished Amputee

    Forfeiture Endangers American Rights

    “Findings suggest asset forfeiture is a dysfunctional policy. Forfeiture programs, while serving to generate income, prompt drug enforcement to serve functions that are inherently contradictory and often at odds with the demands of justice.”
    —Mitchell Miller & Lance H. Selva,

    Drug Enforcement’s Double Edged Sword:
    An Assessment of Asset Forfeiture Programs
    (Twelve month empirical examination of the implementation
    of laws from within the forfeiture program)

    • DdC

      United Nations Drug Report Disappointing
      According to the report, ecstasy users risk suffering the effects of early decline in mental function and memory, or Alzheimer-type symptoms. The report was released just weeks after scientists at Johns Hopkins University retracted their research findings that suggested that a single evening’s use of ecstasy could cause permanent brain damage and Parkinson’s disease. The scientists admitted that they utilized the wrong drug in their studies.

      So what did the report accomplish? It led to Joe Bidens RAVE Ax. being tacked on the Amber Alert Bill as a rider. Leaving promoters of mostly reform events with a $250.000.00 fine if anyone in attendance smokes a joint. Can’t pay, forfeit your property. Bipartisan Weasels.

      So cops and lawyers lie, cheat and steal your property.
      This is the message they’re sending to the kids…

      • DdC

        “A violently active, intrepid, brutal youth
        that is what I am after…
        I will have no intellectual training.
        Knowledge is ruin for my young men.”
        ~ Adolf Hitler quoted by John Gunther “The Nation”

        The young naive child, maybe smaller than his classmates, craved attention and found solace getting bigger kids in trouble. Rejected affection or strict parenting or spoiled or heredity from multigenerational vocations in copland. Whatever leaves the child wanting more than its getting. Makes a good mark for predatory cops, addicted to snitch’s making them cases. DARE washing young brains with fear mongering gossip, pats on the back they ain’t getting elsewhere. Special tee shirts for the most turned in. Nark on your neighbor, or the guy down the street. Your brothers and sisters and parents. Even granny with her rheumatiz medicine.

        Botched Paramilitary Police Raids

        DEAth SWAT goons kick down the door, shoot the dog and mess up the house. No warrant required if you hear the toilet flush. Handcuff your momma and kick your dad in the teeth. Put a gun to your older sister’s head, visiting from college. Another black clad terrorist jabs the butt of his gun in your brothers gut. Then that awful sound upstairs. 90 to 100 shots fired at your 88 or 92 year old granny for thinking she had the right to bare arms. Nothing found, but that doesn’t mean they give back your belongings. If there is contraband, the house goes on the auction block, Forfeiture Friday, cheap retirement homes for x-cops and lawyers. Confiscated Christmas gifts and cash straight into pockets.

        SNITCH CULTURE: by Jim Redden

        Now your siblings are being separately protected by child protective services inc. until they can be “placed”. Parents serving time. House is gone, along with the car, bank accounts and future. Your visiting 23 yr. old sister plea bargained out, on conditions she set up some junkie dealers. She was killed for looking too nervous.

        The kids wearing his brand new DARE shirt, puts his hands in his pockets, starts kicking imaginary cans as he gets into the factory parenting minivan. His new bible thumping Foster bosses, ma and pa – calvina and daryl califono, plus 9 other kids saveded from the heathern devil weed. $1000 a month per head. Plenty for the blue haired ma to stalk up on diet coke for breakfast and another Elvis figurine to add to her collection. Only thing missing are the number tattoo’s on kids arm. As they leave, the boy turns and sees them wheeling out the gurney, with his granny on it.

      • Windy

        Do you deliberately misspell bear when you write of bearing arms?
        Are you writing of the bearing arms as per the 2nd Amendment?
        Or are you writing of the baring arms by the removal of long sleeved clothing?

        Bare — to uncover.
        Bear — to carry.

        Sorry but such errors (deliberate or not) detract from the message and your wisdom.
        And stock, not stalk.
        Stock — to store
        Stalk — to follow surreptitiously

  • Bruce

    Wish I could write bedtime stories.
    To lull the little dears to sleep.
    Grim tales 01

    I called my kids and shouted..
    “Look at that!”
    “What is it, mommy?”
    “Its a pretty bird, sweety, in the mouth of a Cat!”

  • As a forfeiture reform advocate since 2000, I can testify to the fact that forfeiture reform is a hand sell. It is not until you explain how asset forfeiture laws allow outright piracy by government agencies that people understand what you’re arguing for.

    Eapen Thampy
    Executive Director, Americans for Forfeiture Reform
    3630 Holmes St., Kansas City, MO, 64109
    Phone: 573-673-5351
    Email: Eapen@ForfeitureReform.com or Eapen.Thampy@gmail.com
    Web: http://www.forfeiturereform.com and http://www.facebook.com/ForfeitureReform

  • Winston Legthigh

    Note to self: Never go anywhere near the people’s republik of Missouri and never patronize any business there.

  • Sami's Paki Kebab Shack

    DARE…to keep cops off donuts.

    • Duncan20903

      Donut Abuse Resistance Education has been proven to actually increase the average cop’s daily donut consumption!

  • kaptinemo

    As predicted (and proven with what’s been going on in Tennessee with the police-sponsored literal highway robbery) as the economy worsens and the tax base shrinks due to unemployment, and Uncle Sam’s creditors get even more antsy as the value of their investments shrinks due to inflation (caused by Uncle printing lots of near-worthless paper ‘money’) and they refuse to loan us any more money, we can expect to see even more of this happening as The State gets desperate for revenue to run its’ authoritarian agendas.

    Pretty soon, the friction between police and their paymasters will get to the point where there will be more than harsh words exchanged in LTEs. As police become ever more fiscally predatory, increasing numbers of the average citizens who’ve been stolen from via forfeiture will necessitate some sort of PR program on the part of those States that can afford it to try to justify it.

    Which will only rankle even more the sensibilities of the victimized, who will eventually be moved to political action. It won’t be just the ‘bad people’, the ‘druggies’, the only ones supposed to be hurt by the forfeiture laws, but Joe and Josephine Sixpack, too.

    The less financially well-off States will only increase their predations…and the ruthlessness of implementing those predations, in the form of increasingly violent police encounters.

    A blind man could see where this is going to end. Thomas Jefferson said something to the effect that a revolution now and then is a good thing. But most revolutions are actually civil wars, and as Murphy’s Rules of Combat puts it, “Civil wars…aren’t.” Only a fool wants that.

    But only a bigger fool actively precipitates it, and Uncle Sam hasn’t been the brightest bulb in the box lately. Witness the pointless wars abroad, a trashed economy and increasingly fascistic behavior at home. And he proves that lack of intelligence with forfeiture, every day.

    • Paul

      Machiavelli said that “men would sooner forget being robbed of their fathers than of their patrimony”. Governments that prey on their own people are asking for trouble.

      The economic situation grows ever more precarious. Right now the Fed has decided to stop printing money to avoid inflation, but who now is going to buy the trillions of dollars in new debt the federal government is emitting?

      Can congress stop itself from spending an extra 1.6 trillion a year? Given how hard it was to cut just 30 billion out of the budget the answer seems to be “no.” Can they raise 1.6 trillion dollars in taxes a year just to break even? Of course not.

      Most likely, the Fed will start printing money again, using it to finance the deficit. If they do this, I think that marks the beginning of the Weimar inflationary death spiral.

      At that point, Kaptinemo’s scenario will play out. Not immediately, but in a few years. It takes time for the inflation to do its damage.

  • tintguy

    The sickest part about all this is that when mentioned to the average person they usually say the same dumb shit: Well the police must have known that that person was guilty of something so they got what they deserved. Or : just because the cops couldn’t prove it doesn’t mean those persons
    aren’t commiting a crime.

  • Servetus

    Nothing fails like failure. Forfeiture is another simple-minded scheme that never achieved anything significant in reducing drug use, but which supports the corrupted pretensions of professional persecutors. Historically, every time forfeiture is employed as a policy by a government or theocratic entity, it leads to corruption and the exploitation of innocents.

    One of my favorite examples of how odious forfeiture can become involves the medieval Inquisition (c. 1184 through the 14th century), which like all inquisitions that followed it confiscated the assets of alleged heretics and their family members at the moment of an arrest for heresy.

    Legal arrests by the Inquisition could occur before or after the death of a heretical suspect. A person could be hereticated on their deathbed if they happened to succumb with their face turned toward the nearest wall of the room in which they died. This particularly specious indicium for heresy was the ultimate ‘gotcha’. Most victims of the Holy Office were oblivious to the idea that the position of the head of a corpse meant anything to anyone. By the time they were made aware of this, of course, it was too late to stop the inquisitors from robbing a hapless family of its inheritance and all its earthly possessions.

    The Catholic Church was dependent upon donations, and the inquisitions and inquisitors were dependent for their survival upon the forfeiture of their victims’ property and wealth. Historians maintain that forfeiture was the primary reason the inquisitorial menace lasted as long as it did—nearly seven-hundred years, in fact.

    Confiscations were possible because the inquisitors had reduced heresy and the reputation of heretics to that of the worst contagion on earth. As sinners who were declared traitors to God, their extreme low ranking in society was used to justify anything the inquisitors could think of to punish them with, much as drug penalties operate today against otherwise law abiding, responsible drug users.

    If history is to be our guide, eliminating fines and forfeiture for drug arrests, or drug related suspicions, is an essential goal if prohibition is to be weakened sufficiently to bring about its demise.

  • Windy

    OT but important. Please go sign this petition to AG Holder re: MMJ States and federal enforcement:

    http://fdl.me/mz0WQI

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