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Lazy Journalism

Haven’t done one of these in a while. Here’s a puff piece by Frank Lewis in the Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times: Forfeiture – an important tool. It’s essentially a promo for the U.S. Attorney’s office.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman has announced the creation of a District forfeiture unit tasked with ensuring the District is as successful as possible at seizing ill-gotten gains. […]

Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware agrees.

“Asset forfeiture has proven to be a valuable tool in disrupting criminal enterprises’ ability to continue to operate post conviction,” Ware said. “When done properly, civil and criminal asset forfeiture can provide for the dismantling of a criminal network instead of replacing one individual with the next individual to continue to operate the enterprise. This is especially true in the case of organized drug trafficking rings.” […]

Of course, nowhere in the article does it even consider discussing who gets the money from the forfeitures, or whether, in the case of civil forfeitures, the owner of the property has to actually have committed a crime to lose their property.

Notice the quote mentions “post conviction,” and yet much forfeiture doesn’t require any conviction at all.

Of course, Benjamin Gassman and Robert Ware like the program. If I had a program where I could take assets from private individuals and use them to increase my budget, I’d be pretty thrilled with it.

A real journalist would ask them if they would still be happy with the program if forfeiture required a conviction and all proceeds went to the general fund.

I also love this bit:

For example, in fiscal year 2016, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio forfeited assets valued in excess of $9 million.

Um, no. Citizens forfeited assets, not the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Of course, any discussion of citizens who actually forfeited assets are noticeably missing from this article.

In case Frank Lewis is looking for the correct word, The U.S. Attorney’s Office seized assets.

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11 comments to Lazy Journalism

  • Servetus

    Forfeiture is a set of legal tools, both civil and criminal, that we use to ensure that crime doesn’t pay,” Glassman said.

    For drug cartels, crime pays millions of dollars. Forfeitures are the dividends governments obtain for authorizing criminogenic prohibition policies. Bribes and campaign donations are another source of crime-related payments for government or law enforcement officials, as are any monetary kickbacks for purchases of expensive, high-tech crime-fighting equipment.

  • jean valjean

    Sorry to go off topic so soon in this thread but I thought this BBC report gives an insight into the true horror of Duterte’s war on drugs (steroid version). The alarming similarities between Duterte and Trump are clear.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04tjf7w/deadliest-place-to-deal

    If that doesn’t work outside Britain here’s Youtube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vwskaMZd1A

    • Servetus

      Duterte isn’t the only despot in history to make imbibing a mind altering substance a reason to summarily execute his subjects. Sultan Murad IV had a similar disposition:

      …for coffee drinkers in 17th-century Turkey, there was a much more concrete motivating force: a big guy with a sword.

      Sultan Murad IV, a ruler of the Ottoman Empire, would not have been a fan of Starbucks. Under his rule, the consumption of coffee was a capital offense.

      The sultan was so intent on eradicating coffee that he would disguise himself as a commoner and stalk the streets of Istanbul with a hundred-pound broadsword. Unfortunate coffee drinkers were decapitated as they sipped.

      Murad IV’s successor was more lenient. The punishment for a first offense was a light cudgeling. Caught with coffee a second time, the perpetrator was sewn into a leather bag and tossed in the river. […]

      According to one story, an Ottoman Grand Vizier secretly visited a coffeehouse in Istanbul.

      “He observed that the people drinking alcohol would just get drunk and sing and be jolly, whereas the people drinking coffee remained sober and plotted against the government,” says Allen.

      Coffee fueled dissent — not just in the Ottoman Empire but all through the Western world. The French and American Revolutions were planned, in part, in the dark corners of coffeehouses. In Germany, a fearful Frederick the Great demanded that Germans switch from coffee to beer. He sent soldiers sniffing through the streets, searching for the slightest whiff of the illegal bean.

      In England, King Charles II issued an order to shut down all coffeehouses after he traced some clever but seditious poetry to them. The backlash was throne-shaking. In just 11 days, Charles reversed his ruling.

      “I think maybe he recalled that they had beheaded his father,” Pendergrast says. “He didn’t want to stir up too much trouble.”

      And so coffee took its place in the center of culture. Where so many other underground movements — religious, political, even musical — were squashed, coffee managed to go mainstream.

      http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/01/10/144988133/drink-coffee-off-with-your-head

    • NorCalNative

      One quibble my London friend. War on DRUG.

      I’ve yet to see one article or story about this problem that wasn’t exclusively about meth. Where’s the marijuana needle, the hashish pipes, cocaine mirrors, liquid LSD, opiates and on and on?

      Is all the fuss and murder just because a bunch of non-sleepy meth users are up all night with nothing better to do than petty crime?

      Can we save them with an air-drop of cannabis seeds and copies of “Chasing the Scream?”

    • DdC

      More than a thousand joined Saturday’s fun run in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao local officials organized to show community support to Malacañang’s anti-narcotics campaign.
      Maguindanao renews support to Duterte’s drug war Mar 25, 2017

      ‘Sons of B******!’ Fuming Philippines leader Duterte threatens to ‘HANG’ EU politicians
      Mar 24, 2017 PHILIPPINES president Rodrigo Duterte has warned he would be happy to “hang” EU politicians following criticism over his deadly war on drugs.

  • LesBarker

    Justin K. White, 38, the senior minister at First Christian Church since May 2011, is accused of planning with a juvenile to stage a burglary at his home Dec. 18 in order to file an insurance claim for the lost items and obtain insurance money in order to pay off a drug debt, according to a probable cause affidavit.

    http://www.therepublic.com/2017/03/26/church_leaders_to_announce_decision_about_pastors_arrest_/

  • Servetus

    Fentanyl marketer Insys Therapeutics just had synthetic oral dronabinol approved by the DEA, placing it on Schedule 2:

    Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that was one of the chief financial backers of the opposition to marijuana legalization in Arizona last year, received preliminary approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration this week for Syndros, a synthetic marijuana drug.

    Insys gave $500,000 last summer to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, the group opposing marijuana legalization in Arizona. The donation amounted to roughly 10 percent of all money raised by the group in an ultimately successful campaign against legalization. Insys was the only pharmaceutical company known to be giving money to oppose legalization last year, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance records.[…]

    Insys has been active in marijuana policy for several years. In 2011 it wrote to the DEA to express opposition to loosening restrictions on naturally derived THC, citing “the abuse potential in terms of the need to grow and cultivate substantial crops of marijuana in the United States.”

    Last year it petitioned the DEA to loosen restrictions on synthetic versions of CBD, another compound in the cannabis plant. The company is currently developing a CBD-based drug to treat pediatric epilepsy.[…]

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/24/a-pharma-company-that-spent-500000-trying-to-keep-pot-illegal-just-got-dea-approval-for-synthetic-marijuana/?utm_term=.bbb48a8ed606

  • Servetus

    Weight loss pill decreases cravings for people with opioid use disorder:

    24-MAR-2017 –GALVESTON, Texas – Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have confirmed that a prescription weight-loss pill decreases the urge to use opiates such as oxycodone.

    In a study published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, the researchers led by UTMB scientist Kathryn Cunningham found that the drug, lorcaserin, reduced the use and craving for the opioid oxycodone in preclinical studies. Cunningham is director of UTMB’s Center for Addiction Research and a professor in the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.[…]

    AAAS Public Release: Study confirms prescription weight-loss medication helps with opiate addiction recovery

  • Own Up!

    Notice of Data Breach – PoliceOne Forums

    Dear PoliceOne Member,

    We have become aware of a security incident in our PoliceOne Forums that allegedly occurred in 2015. While our investigation is ongoing, we are addressing the matter and want to make you clear on the issue and its potential impact to you. Security is incredibly important to us and we’ve worked hard to protect your information over the past 17 years.

    What Happened. On Friday, February 3, 2017, we were notified that the content of our PoliceOne Forum was the subject of unauthorized access and acquisition.

    What Information Was Involved. While you have not accessed nor posted in the PoliceOne Forums in the past 5 years, the login information you used in the previous version of our forums (active from 2003 to 2012) may have been compromised – including your user name, email address and an MD-5 hashed and salted version of your password from that period. “

  • DdC

    University Of Florida To Be Funded $2.5 Million For Medical Marijuana Research
    http://marijuanastocks.com/university-of-florida-to-be-funded-2-5-million-for-medical-marijuana-research/

    Proposal In Nevada Aims To Loosen Cannabis Regulations
    http://marijuanastocks.com/proposal-in-nevada-aims-to-loosen-cannabis-regulations/

    Lawmakers In West Virginia Look At Legalizing Industrial Hemp
    http://marijuanastocks.com/lawmakers-in-west-virginia-look-at-legalizing-industrial-hemp/

    Illinois considers legalizing marijuana for a fiscal boost
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/illinois-considers-legalizing-marijuana-fiscal-boost-020142598.html

    Canada Will Legalize Cannabis in 2018, Set Legal Age At 18
    https://www.civilized.life/articles/canada-legalize-cannabis-2018

    In South Carolina, Parents And Pastors Make Pleas For Legalizing Medical Marijuana
    https://www.civilized.life/articles/south-carolina-parents-and-pastors-medical-marijuana