Drug War Weapons

I have a guest post (in collaboration with Hypatia) over at Glenn Greenwald’s Unqualified Offerings: Using the Drug ‘War’ to Expand Government Power. Check it out.
Welcome Glenn Greenwald readers. Naturally, the post just got up today, and already I have more news to add regarding seizure and no-knock searches…
“bullet” Via TalkLeft comes the outrageous story of prosecutors and ATF agents attempting to seize the gold-capped teeth of a couple of drug defendants being held in jail. The agents had gotten a warrant and were on their way to taking the defendants to a dentist before the defense attorneys found out and were able to get a judge to intervene.

“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and I have never heard of anything like this,” said Richard Troberman, past president of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and an expert on forfeiture law. “It sounds like Nazi Germany when they were removing the gold teeth from the bodies, but at least then they waited until they were dead.”

Jeralyn at TalkLeft has read the court papers and reacts.

The warrant did not authorize the defendants to be removed from the FDC and transported to a dentist. This must have been done by the agents executing the warrant, on their own. No one has explained yet how these defendants were removed from the FDC. An agent can’t simply take someone out without proper authorization. This is a mystery.[…]
To make this even worse, I’m told by someone with knowledge about the case that at least one of the defendants had the grill placed in his mouth years ago when he was in the Navy, long before he was ever involved in drug trafficking.

“bullet” Radley Balko has, as usual, an outstanding article about no-knock searches. In this particular article, he analyzes the case of Hudon vs. Michigan, which is being considered at the Supreme Court.

At issue is whether or not police who used an illegal “no-knock” raid to enter a defendant’s home can use the drugs they seized inside against the defendant at trial.

This will have some important Fourth Amendment impact. If the Supreme Court rules that drugs seized during an illegal no-knock raid can be admissible, then we’ll never be safe in our homes. As it is, legal no-knock searches are authorized. for the flimsiest of excuses. What we really need is a tightening of the definition of exigent circumstances for no-knock searches.

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