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June 2013
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Open Thread

bullet image We’ve been making fun of Patrick Kennedy here, for good reason. This doesn’t help. It’s a well-intentioned-sounding piece unless you know what Patrick is spending most of his time these days doing, in which case the irony is unbearable. And no, Patrick, you are not your uncle.

bullet image The New York Times editorial board has come out with a powerful and scathing editorial: Racially Biased Arrests for Pot

Regardless of laws in individual states, federal officials and local police departments need to abandon policies that evaluate officers based on numerical arrest goals, which encourage petty arrests, along with illegal stops that violate the Fourth Amendment.

This also means restructuring a main federal program that finances state and local efforts to enforce drug laws so that petty marijuana arrests are no longer counted as evidence of effective police performance. Beyond that, law enforcement agencies need to put an end to what is obviously a widespread practice of racial profiling.

bullet image Interesting little court case in Illinois with the silly title traditional in forfeiture cases: THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS v. $280,020 in UNITED STATES CURRENCY. This was one of those cases where police were tipped off that someone bought a one-way bus ticket in cash, searched the luggage, found a bunch of cash, had a drug dog sniff it and dutifully alert, and seized the money. The court ruled that buying a one-way ticket isn’t probable cause, and without the owner’s consent to search, the officers had nothing and must return the money. Good call on the profiling, and good reminder to never consent to a search.

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16 comments to Open Thread

  • Duncan20903

    …and the defense attorney helps himself to 1/3 of that stolen money for getting it back, right?

    • claygooding

      Duncan,,they kept my grow lights and hydro nutrients when they dropped the felony possession and I asked where the “due process” was,,the county judge said they were taken from a cabinet with growing marijuana in them,,due process served. She offered to take me to trial for growing. I declined and built more.

  • Duncan20903

    Wow, I never knew that Dr. Tashkin was Uncle Fester’s identical twin.
    Hmm, I suppose it’s possible that he is Uncle Fester?

  • Tony Aroma

    I never understood how property seizure gets around the 5th Amendment:

    “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;”

    Seems like the 5th Amendment is pretty clear. You can’t take someone’s property without them being tried and found guilty by a jury of your peers. That’s what “due process” means. This idea of charging the property with a crime is totally ridiculous, Kafka-esque even.

    • jean valjean

      well all those $20 bills were sitting around getting loaded. duke the dog said so

    • Servetus

      Forfeiture is a government crime committed by petty tyrants against people they want to subdue and oppress. The technique has been in use for nearly a thousand years. See Leonard W. Levy, A License to Steal: The Forfeiture of Property (1995).

    • darkcycle

      Tony, it is literally an artifact of the Witch Trials and the Inquisition. Our legal code even uses the terminology the Inquisitors used, referring to the property in question as a “Deodand”, or demonic object.

      • Matthew Meyer

        Interesting…Wiki sez:

        The term deodand derives from the Latin phrase “deo dandum” which means “to be given to God.”

        DPF’s asset forfeiture primer says this practice of giving up lethal or harmful things to the Crown / Church is the origin of modern asset forfeiture.

        But is the term actually still used?

        • darkcycle

          I may be partially incorrect about the root of the word, but it is still used, and in our codes.

      • Servetus

        More on the origins of forfeiture…during the inquisitions, forfeiture was called confiscation. Some of its early dynamics and atrocities are recorded here by H. C. Lea, History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, Vol. 1, pp. 501-33. Excerpt:

        “Lucius III, in his Verona decretal of 1184, sought to obtain for the Church the benefit of the confiscation which he again declared to be incurred by heresy. One of the earliest acts of Innocent III., in his double capacity of temporal prince and head of Christianity, was to address a decretal to his subjects of Viterbo, in which he says,

        ‘In the lands subject to our temporal jurisdiction we order the property of heretics to be confiscated; in other lands we command this to be done by the temporal princes and powers, who, if they show themselves negligent therein, shall be compelled to do it by ecclesiastical censures. Nor shall the property of heretics who withdraw from heresy revert to them, unless some one pleases to take pity on them. For as, according to the legal sanctions, in addition to capital punishment, the property of those guilty of majestas [treason] is confiscated, and life simply is allowed to their children through mercy alone, so much the more should those who wander from the faith and offend the Son of God be cut off from Christ and be despoiled of their temporal goods, since it is a far greater crime to assail spiritual than temporal majesty.'”

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      The government sues the property not the owner. IIRC a person can’t establish ownership of property acquired as a result of criminal activity. If the property isn’t owned by anyone it’s legally up for grabs(? I may be all wet on this assertion: double check please)

      Regardless, an action in civil court is adequate to satisfy the due process requirement. The thing that people are most likely to recognize to happen because of the due process requirement is an eminent domain action which is wholly a civil action.

      I’m not sure this site is being maintained. Lots of broken links:
      Forfeiture Endangers American Rights F.E.A.R. http://www.fear.org/

  • allan

    from the Daily Kos in Jan:

    […] the misbegotten War on Drugs launched 42 years ago by Richard Nixon has consumed a trillion (with a “t”) dollars, which doesn’t include income losses from people having their careers ruined or student loans chopped off because of marijuana convictions.

    To his credit, Kennedy wants to see an end to such corrosive stupidity. But in its place, instead of legalization, he wants to impose mandatory drug treatment. That presumes everyone who uses marijuana is addicted or otherwise negatively affected. And this is, to put it plainly, bullshit. As is Kennedy’s claim made Tuesday: “Marijuana destroys the brain and expedites psychosis. It’s just overall a very dangerous drug.”

    -snip-

    Perhaps, since Patrick Kennedy has a history of alcohol, cocaine and oxycontin abuse, including driving under the influence, he might try focusing his crusade on the problems associated with substances he knows more intimately instead of one with an overdose death rate of zero and extremely low incidences of triggering violent behavior. Kennedy and the other crusaders involved with Project SAM, like former Bush speechwriter David Frum and former White House economic adviser Austin Goolsbee, who sit on its board, may be well intended. But their third-way approach is way way off the mark.

  • crut

    Great quote from the Governor of Iowa: “I think that is a little bit of a killing of an ant with a sledgehammer”

    So… would that accomplish the goal of killing the ant? Cause the current “killing the ant with anteater cut-outs” isn’t working very well…

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130617/NEWS09/130617017/Branstad-Legalizing-pot-isn-t-answer-racial-disparity-black-arrests

    Also, he want to discuss it, surely there must be a 3rd way besides legalization right? Anybody selling a 3rd way?

  • claygooding

    Three-year Humboldt-Utah pot investigation leads to bust

    http://tinyurl.com/kemg4c8

    Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

    On 06-11-2013 and 6-12-2013 the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, United States Forest Service, United States Marshal Office assisted the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Davis Metro Narcotic Strike Force out of Salt Lake City, Utah regarding a 3 year long marijuana investigation in Humboldt County that was linked to Salt Lake City, Utah.

    The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration issued indictments for several Humboldt County residents out of the Federal District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah for engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Federal and state search warrants were served in Utah during the course of this investigation. ‘snip’

    They are taking them out of CA for trials if the defendants decide to fight. I wonder how many manhours and the costs of this investigation plus the bust costs of a three year investigation add up to,,and how many new growers in Humboldt county started their crops today.