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Holder limits federal adoption of seizures

This is potentially big (and has gotten people quite excited), but it really depends on how certain things are defined.

Executive order dated today: Prohibition on Certain Federal Adoptions of Seizures by State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies

The tricky part:

“This order does not apply to (1) seizures by state and local authorities working together with federal authorities in a joint task force; (2) seizures by state and local authorities that are the result of joint federal-state investigations or that are coordinated with federal authorities as part of ongoing federal investigations…”

So yes, this is good news, but if it just means that local and state enforcement agencies will add a federal officer to the bust somehow in order to get around it, then I’m less excited.

I would much prefer to see an order abolishing equitable sharing (i.e., if feds adopt a seizure, then the locals and state get nothing).

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54 comments to Holder limits federal adoption of seizures

  • Frank W.

    “This order does not apply to…” Classic Holder!
    Much sound and fury, signifying fuck-all.

  • Will

    The Washington Post article did not get into the details. And this detail basically renders this “order” completely ineffectual at the state and local levels;

    “This Order does not affect the ability of state and local agencies to pursue the forfeiture of assets pursuant to their respective state laws.”

    Never mind.

  • Sounds like it will stop roadside seizures (robberies) by local authorities looking to pad their budgets by playing robin hood.

  • Mallam

    Radley Balko says:

    In sum, the new policy is great, but it could be better. It will likely put a huge dent in the number of seizures made under this program and the value of the property seized. Whether it’s a major reform or a monumental one depends on whether those hundreds of anti-drug task forces are covered by that first exception.

  • claygooding

    Of course this is all hinging on how honest the arresting agency is and I am afraid that law enforcement has already shown that they are willing to commit perjury to get what they want.

  • kaptinemo

    Like with some addictive drugs, those addicted to forfeiture fear the terrible effects of going ‘cold turkey’.

    Memories of lost revenues are bound to lead to PTSD-like flashbacks of reveling in piles of stolen cash and other booty leading in turn to examples of foaming, fist-shaking, inchoate apoplexy at its loss followed by severe depression.

    Recommended treatment of two joints several times a day for several days until patient emotional state has stabilized and patient can face the necessity for finding a second job to replace all that lovely stolen loot patient no longer has access to…or even consider career change; previous vocation will no longer be so relatively free of danger caused by engaging in state-sanctioned criminal theft. Patient should know from personal experience that free-lance thievery without a badge is liable to get you shot by a state-sanctioned thief wearing one.

  • darkcycle

    Good news, bad news. Another Holder memorandum it is not, though. This one has some teeth…it is likely to reign in some of the worst offenders .
    Just the fact that now the booty will have to go through extra hands, and doesn’t just land on the watch commander’s desk will make a dent. We will have to see what the effect will be on the task forces. Now the cut will have to be deferred until the Feds see fit to pass it along.
    At least they won’t be driving your Laborghini home from the scene.

    • kaptinemo

      And as was predicted here, the feeding frenzy amongst competing police departments for the remaining funds will begin in earnest.

      Expect to see lawsuits leveled by one department against another regarding distribution of stolen loot, with lawyers like sharks biting chunks out of each others’ department’s flanks fiscally.

      Or maybe vultures, squawking, screeching, hissing and flapping their wings at each other over an already torn carcase is a better analogy.

      In any event, it’s hitting the prohibs the one place they were most vulnerable: the wallet. If you can’t punish them for their crimes against Humanity by whupping their @$$ until they bleed red, we’ll have to settle for whupping their @$$ until they bleed green.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      My Lamborghini is in the shop for repairs.

      I did have occasion to visit the mechanics’ shop at a Ferrari dealer. I’ve never before or since been in any shop which had no trace of being a repair shop like dried grease stains on the floor. I actually asked an employee if they had just opened yesterday. Nope, they’d been there over 13 years and had not just remodeled either. My hospital room should have been so clean.

      • darkcycle

        They like their sparkle. The technicians in CLEAN WHITES are just a tad too much. You’ll see plenty of grease at the jaguar shop, that’s a fact…

        • kaptinemo

          (Sadly stares out the window at beat-up old Toyota) Jeez, guys, rub the salt in the wound, why don’t you?

          (ROFLMFAO)

  • Servetus

    Holder’s policy order is a nicotine patch for the government’s addiction to forfeiture. Small steps have advantages.

    The question is will Holder hold out? Will he take the next step? Will Mr. Holder direct federal forfeiture booty toward financing programs that will end the drug war?

  • Windy

    Radley did a follow-up:
    http://goo.gl/dO5IVZ

    The policy also won’t change federal civil asset forfeiture at all, nor will it affect the laws in states whose forfeiture laws are more friendly to police than federal forfeiture laws.

    In sum, the new policy is great, but it could be better. It will likely put a huge dent in the number of seizures made under this program and the value of the property seized. Whether it’s a major reform or a monumental one depends on whether those hundreds of anti-drug task forces are covered by that first exception.

  • primus

    Holder is on the way out. His successor will do things differently. In the final analysis, this will do nothing.

    • kaptinemo

      I beg to differ; in an oblique way, this is helping.

      First, there’s still lots of people in this country who still don’t know about state-sanctioned theft, a.k.a. ‘forfeiture’. That they’re getting their first introduction to the concept by the Gub’mint admitting there’s too much hanky-panky connected to it on the part of its agents is both a revelation and a shock.

      Secondly, the source of that revelation, the Obama (ha-ha-not-funny) ‘Justice’ Department, is already on the outs with many of the electorate, for reasons many and varied. Suffice to say, this is just more fuel for their particular fires.

      Thirdly, by calling attention to the problem publicly like this, it opens the media gateways for wider discussion of the issue…with the inevitable demands for reform.

      Predictably, the only ones favoring forfeiture are those favored by it, and they will ‘out’ themselves in the process of defending it as a bunch of money-grubbing rogue public ‘servants’ who are seemingly intent upon mainly serving themselves at the expense of the taxpayers, with all the attendant corruption ( and anti-law enforcement sentiment that that corruption engenders) that you’d expect from such a situation.

      The more exposure this gets, the more the noose tightens around prohibition’s neck. So, despite this perhaps being little more than another of Holder’s non-directional directives, it still serves a purpose: it will illustrate to a normally disinterested public how badly it could affect them and their kids, and how badly it needs to be scrapped before it does.

  • n.t. greene

    If you can make a change like this and receive any praise… There is some hope for this day and age.

    …to be told by some that you did good but didn’t go far enough? Even better.

    Im surprised by this, if just because the gesture itself isn’t cowardly (even if the actual effects are yet to be seen)

    • claygooding

      Since the DEA swears to tell the truth,the whole truth and nothing but the truth,,So help me God before lying under oath to Congress I don’t believe they quit a fucking thing,,but they would like us to believe they did.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Sheriff Steve Mueller of Cherokee County North Carolina appears seemingly out of nowhere and now may have a mortal lock on the 2015 awards for the most otherworldly piece of stupidity or hysterical rhetoric by a sworn LEO:

    Deputies seize $900,000 in marijuana headed from Colorado to the Carolinas
    January 13, 2015

    /snip/
    Officers later determined there were 156 individual packages weighing about one pound each.

    “This traffic stop is a major dent in the marijuana trade for this area as the drugs were scheduled for distribution in the Charlotte, N.C., area,” Sheriff Steve Mueller said in the statement. “The investigation at this point reveals the marijuana came from an indoor grow in Colorado and is a high-grade quality which is bringing premium prices around the country from peddlers (who) push this poison on our communities.”
    /snip/

    Federal authorities are assisting the Sheriff’s Office.

    When asked about the cannabis shortage caused by this seizure representatives of the Charlotte NC fans of cannabis replied, “Whatchoo talkin’ about Willis?” It’s mind boggling how the prohibitionist parasites make stupidity look so easy. But I guess that’s part and parcel of being an elite professional.

    • claygooding

      “assisted” by federal authorities,,like maybe the NSA/DEA listening in,,it seems they have a good source of info or someone is spilling their guts.
      That or they are far too experienced with looking at marijuana and telling if it’s indoor or outdoor grown weed,,perhaps they taste tested it…

      We had an SUV busted here appx two tears ago with 67 lbs.IIRC,hidden in the spare tire after stopping them for failure to stop before turning right on a red light,,the stop sounded legitimate enough but them finding drugs in the spare tire is not these Keystone cops in Hicksville,TX payscale or IQ level,,that 67 lbs was down to nearly 50 lbs the last I heard,,from a jailer that was working there and in and out of the evidence room so I wonder how much a NC Sheriff is going to have evaporate while waiting for it to be destroyed/sold by the DEA.
      i love it when those DEA warehouse scenes with all that palletized and wrapped marijuana sitting there and all they have is a slip of paper for every kilo they have destroyed for the last 40 years,,,signed by some delivery driver named Guzman prolly.

    • Windy

      At black market prices that pot was worth $624,000, not $900,000. What, was that Sheriff using rec store prices?

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    After almost a decade of keeping a sharp eye on this issue there aren’t many times when I see something I haven’t seen before. Even with the wall crumbling before my very eyes instances of never before witnessed events make up only a miniscule percentage of my observations. But here’s one story with two totally new (to me) things. I’m putting this one in the “you eeee-dee-otts! ‘the bomb’ is just a figure of speech!” category:

    Cleveland bomb squad dismantles marijuana operation with hundreds of plants on Chatfield

    CLEVELAND – Cleveland Police seized 104 marijuana plants and two coca plants in a major marijuana grow operation on the city’s west side.
    /snip/

    The bomb squad was on scene as protocol to monitor the air quality, police said.

    • claygooding

      My comment there:

      “”The bomb squad is on scene as protocol to monitor the air quality, police said.””

      ROFLMAO,,of all the ignorant things law enforcement spokespersons have spewed this is proof that limiting IQ for police applicants has been a huge mistake,,,it is a frigging plant that mankind has cultivated for the last 5000 years or more,,grow a set.

    • Putsch

      Have Read a Bomb-Squad Callout in our Town Runs about $16,000 in Taxpayer Chump-Change. Some of the Brighter Dimbulbs thought a Beer would be nice, one could s’pose.

    • kaptinemo

      More comic-opera. Like the nonsense of wearing environmental suits to dismantle grow rooms. All bunkum for the TV news, to scare the low-wattage minds who believe everything a (usually equally ignorant) ‘authority’ tells them.

      Just as we’ll see fighting amongst police departments for the remaining forfeiture spoils, we’ll see more and more attempts to justify maintaining police budgets at current levels with examples like this.

      That is, until the taxpayers get sufficiently pissed at the waste. And given the majority of those taxpayers want cannabis legal again, what’s been happening at the ballot box is an indicator of that rising displeasure at these kinds of prohib antic.

  • CJ

    Yes I heard this on the radio but it was brief and I didnt understand.

    Sorry to divert but I just really need to say something. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who posted to me the previous article. I was very touched and it did mean alot, I do genuinely mean it and I am very grateful. To DDC I want to tell you I am humbly flattered by what you did and I am very grateful, I thank you deeply. I would like to tell you that there used to be a fellow who posted here and other places using the name “Opiophile” and he had a blog and one of his blog entries was a collection of posts/rants that I’d said, this is from probably 2011-2012 maybe even 2013. Let me see if I can find it real quickly, that would be great to add, no? let me see….

    OK! cool! I found it!

    http://opiophilia.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-wisdom-of-cj.html

    again, I am humbled and flatterd.

    What else I wanted to say guys was, IDK how many of you also go to drcnet [stopthedrugwar.org] but I wanted to say, Petes support here of heroin maintenance and the times hes written some articles about it, its meant alot to me personally and I’ve always been very pleased anytime I see it. I am grateful too believe it or not that Pete doesnt seem to regard the naloxone surgence and suboxone like other sites that seem to think its great for reform and heroin users, im glad i think that Pete knows those things are really useless, as Ive said many times, Suboxone is evil, the people who made it are evil, to do that whole precipitated withdrawal thing, it is the most savage thing imaginable and all these states with their naloxone, i mean, seriously, its like… please, useless. What we need is heroin maintenance and Im glad Petes a supporter and I do hope that it becomes the focus in terms of the opiate sector of reform. It would save so many lives, including my own. Unfortunately, sites like drcnet who in a recent post said something about suboxone being safer than methadone, its a real disapointment. Thanks again everyone, hope you had great holidays and are well in this new year. Lets see to it that this another year we take steps forward, as Kilgore says in Apocalypse Now, “ONE DAY THIS WAR WILL BE OVER…” lol ;p

    • DdC

      I feel that what you contribute can’t be found on bumper stickers or posters. You bring reality and do a service by showing the world we are all unique and deserve respect and dignity the same as anyone else. I’m ashamed for my country how it treats its citizens. With hypocrisy and with force as their only method of control. They don’t want to govern, they want to enslave. Their propaganda only gains followers through a corporate media and censored school books. When so much could be done to make life better, they stay with the same stale high profit war. I’ve been around too long to get my hopes up for complete sanity. But really have little to bitch about in Central Cali. We haven’t obtained a heroin maintenance program yet, but they hated the needle exchange at first too. Someday maybe. Be Well CJ. I’ll try to add posts from the link you left when I can.

      Original Kilgore Trout Stories
      http://www.oocities.org/marek_vit/kt_in.html

  • CJ

    or maybe Kilgore said, “ONE DAY THIS WAR IS GONNA END…” not 100% on that quote but I loved that film and that character was great. “SURF THIS BEACH!” and the extended edition where hes chasing them in the chopter to get his surf board back? “LANCE IM NOT GONNA HURT YOU , I JUST WANT THE BOARD BACK. IT WAS A GOOD BOARD. YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND A GOOD BOARD.” LoL!

  • Crut

    .
    .
    Headline skimmers get another “treat”…

    NYT: Odd byproduct of Legal Marijuana: Homes that blow up

    Or as my Tampa Bay Times reported the same story..
    New Twist to Legal Pot: Homes that blow up

    Sigh.

    Because, as you know, it’s the plant that’s dangerous, right? Right??? Be afraid, and don’t ask questions!

    • thelbert

      old hazard of legal gas stoves: homes that blow up.

    • kaptinemo

      The last swipes from a dying Beast’s claws. More proof of the real motivations behind prohibition, and the ones not having to do with greed have to do with hate.

      I’d rather have Nature deal with fools Her way than the legal system; She’s much more efficient…and final.

      It was just plain stoooopid to try butane extraction methods without the necessary safety measures. But he survived…to be charged with arson. For doing something legal in his State.

      Kafka is smiling, somewhere; the rank insanity he described in his fiction has become DrugWar reality.

      • claygooding

        If you are too stupid to know what “FLAMMABLE” means you may just raise our specie’s IQ average a little.

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          Butane is fairly unforgiving. When I first played with it as a extraction solvent I was genuinely amazed how quickly it reaches a rolling boil at room temperature. I wanted to show my wife so I liberated a couple of fluid ounces from its container just for her to watch. During the demonstration I stuck my finger into the boiling butane and she literally shrieked as if I had just stuck my finger into a container fill with boiling water. But you can’t scald yourself with butane, although you might give yourself frostbite.

          I’ve sworn off BHO simply because I’ve read that there might be benzene in the finished product. Ever since Hi Test shuffled off this mortal coil due to benzene poisoning I go out of my way to avoid that nasty chemical.

          What really makes me want to puke my guts out is how the prohibitionists want to blame the limited re-legalization of cannabis for enjoyment for these explosions. As we all know the prohibitionists have an enormous challenge with their inability to understand the relationship between cause and effect. If they want to stop the butane explosions then it’s butane that needs to be regulated.

          Aside from cigarette lighters and for use as an accelerant in committing arson are there any other reasons why people purchase butane?
          Flash Point – Fuels

          The flashpoint for n-butane is -76 degrees F and iso-butane is -117 degrees. By contrast, the flashpoint for gasoline is -45 degrees F. The flashpoint for biodeisel is +266 degrees F.

          Butane honey oil for dummies
          July 21, 2006

          Butane Honey Oil (BHO) extraction is an extremely dangerous activity. Butane is flammable, explosive and can potentially contain poisonous and harmful chemicals. Undertaking BHO extraction may result in serious bodily injury, or Death if proper precautions are not taken. The information provided on this website is strictly for educational purposes and in no way do the owners and staff of IC.mag encourage its production or use.

          Butane is Highly Flammable and ALL extractions are to be done Outdoors Only, doing extractions indoors is extremely dangerous. There have been accounts of people blowing up their houses, kitchens, bathrooms doing Butane and other solvent extractions indoors.

          Butane gas is heavier than air and will pool in low areas, if left to collect butane gas becomes flammable when it reaches 1.8% to 8.5% concentration in air. A small breeze will keep the butane from being able to pool and become dangerous.

          It is recommended you take every precaution possible. Wearing Safety Equipment such as Eye protection, as well as gloves and always keep a fire extinguisher near by.
          /snip/

          It’s unfortunate but it’s the way of the world that idiots will be idiots. They’re going to keep being idiots regardless of the legal status of cannabis.

        • claygooding

          BBQ grilles,camping cookstoves,heaters and lanterns,any home w/o access to natural gas to name a few,,the BBQ grilles are about the biggest user now.

        • Servetus

          Anyone deciding to go with a BHO extraction should at least do it professionally by purchasing the proper chemical glassware used in laboratory and industrial extractions of chemicals. The stuff isn’t cheap. Self-contained chemical reactors, blast shields, and all the related chemical safety equipment, can be obtained from companies such as Ace Glass in Vineland, New Jersey.

  • Stupor Bowl Fan

    Wait! What? Already?
    Like Sand Thru Hourglass, These are the Daze of our Lies.
    Sponsored by; Degeneracy Now!

  • Frank W.

    My dad calls butane “the bastard gas”.

  • Mooky

    BHO manufacture is dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken.

    Too bad the states have been dicking around with other things instead of setting up regulatory systems and operations that keep this dangerous task out of the hands of the ignorant.

    Idiots will continue to blow themselves up unless a proper system is devised in legal states.

    Its amazing what people will do – It astounds me every time I hear about a BHO process gone awry…. The person obviously didn’t do their homework and read up before taking the test… – This often results in failure and in this case potential death (of yourself and others) and legal nightmares.

    • claygooding

      After reading the instructions and realizing I could never afford the proper equipment to do it right I settled for using Everclear or rubbing alcohol for my extraction,after figuring out how to make the extract taste better I tried cannabutter and considering that boiling water and butter is safer than alcohol I quit making bubble hash at all,,the closest thing to hash i get now is a few pipe loads of kief once in awhile,,but I can make some awesome chocolate chip cookies.

    • I wouldn’t even fill my butane lighter in the kitchen or near a candle. Or near a smoker.

      Making BHO indoors needs more than a set of instructions for dummies. It needs its own section in the Darwin Awards. None of these wanna be’s have a membership in MENSA.

      • Dr. Evil

        Random Soda Drinks placed willy nilly about the House should release enough CO2 to Negate any Flammable tendancies of the other Gases in Use. Believe it or not when I consume many Cans of Pop my Cigarettes and Other Smoking Materials* just refuse to stay Lit. Most Annoying. Hic Belch, Flic,Flic,,grrrrr

    • Poca

      Everclear is the best way to make oil. I came by some BHO and I had to purge it with the everclear anyway. I half miss that source but with the butane I can leave it easily. I could get most of the bad stuff out purging the BHO with the everclear; it came in a thick liquid with a metal speckled yellow-green color while the final product (shatter if made with no heat or wax with heat) came out nice and golden and clean smelling.

      The advantage with butane is that it doesn’t take up as much of the chlorophyll as ethyl so the producers can just run the solvent right over the trim. I dont think the benefit outweighs the health risk so I only make oil with dry sift keif and 190 proof ethyl alcohol..but bubble hash would work just fine too; just run the trim through bubble bags or get dry ice to dry sift it.

      I have made oil with a lump of traditional hash too…same process: just let it all sit in the ethyl quick wash (I guess this would be called qwethyl instead of qwiso) for a few minutes then filter through a coffee filter, then let the alcohol evaporate.

      Another way I make oil is to clean my vaporizers with the everclear (especially stripping all the oil from the inside of the volcano bag), then let the ethyl evaporate. The reclaim is good on its own or I will dunk a dab of that reclaim oil into my collection of keif and then rip it on the rig.

      The thing with the everclear is that it might blow up too – especially if you are not patient enough to wait for it all to evaporate at room temp, and through it on a double boiler- you still need an exhaust fan over the stove and plenty of airflow in the rest of the kitchen/house.

      I am pretty sure everclear is slightly less flammable than butane…but it sure is a whole lot less hazardous to your health.

      • Poca

        before dabs, I would press my kif into hash, then chop it up into nerds and then vaporize in my hookah. The coal is a big hassle though i haven’t found a better vaporizer than this millenia old technology of a 30 inch hookah.

        The trick to vaporizing with a hookah is you need a big hollow bowl (mine is called a Syrian style) where you can fit a big screen (my volcano screens fit perfectly) inside the hollow cavity just above where the neck of the head plugs onto the stem. Now you can just drop the hash nerds (or flower) in through the big holes in the bowl where they get caught by the screen and then put a lit coal in the bowl over the holes. Now the heat source is not in contact with the hash and you get really awesome convection vapor! Your mileage entirely dependent on the type of bowl you have for the hookah, but strong or weak herb you will get mashed with this method of vaping… that said dabbing is way easier…and I wish I had enough oil to warrant a fog pen which is by far the best way to vape and keep up with my busy schedule – everything else takes such a minute that often isnt available unless it is stolen.

  • The Fine Print in Holder’s New Forfeiture Policy Leaves Room for Continued Abuses http://tinyurl.com/pmjczbr
    by Jacob Sullum

    “As virtually every drug task force I know of has a federal liaison on call, this means business as usual by local law enforcement using civil asset forfeiture through the Equitable Sharing Program to enforce the Controlled Substances Act and other federal statutes. In other words, the exception swallows the rule.”

    • Poca

      This Federal sharing program was put in place for jurisdictions which had tightened up citizens’ property rights, possibly after local abuse or hopefully out of a basic respect for our rights. That way the goons would still have an incentive to engage in this highway robbery…it is all just a numbers game that wont go away until there is radical change.

    • claygooding

      It may leave some loopholes but it stops seizures without a conviction if I read it right,,it stops seizing money just because you are carrying a large amount of cash,,I hope I read that right.

      • No, it wouldn’t. It would only stop federal adoption of those seizures.

        In other words, if you’re in a state where the state has decreed that all seized assets go to the education fund or something, then police might get the feds to ‘adopt’ the seizure, in which case the police could end up getting as much as 80% of the seizure themselves (with the feds keeping some, too).

        However, if you’re in a state where the police get to keep the assets anyway, there’s no need for federal adoption.

        And either way, this doesn’t stop them from seizing a large amount of cash just ’cause you have it — it just may reduce the financial incentive for police to do so.

  • thelbert

    OT: police origins shape the police of today according to this analysis.http://tinyurl.com/kpdxt3c