The Dark Side of Civil Forfeiture in the USA

Submitted Green Monkey
Civil Forfeiture

Civil Forfeiture

In local news reports the US Ambassador is pushing for our legislation to allow for the seizure of assets gained from criminal activity as is allowed under US law. However, under US law you don’t have to be actually convicted of criminal wrongdoing to be deprived of assets, as  the cops only have to say that they suspect the seized assets came from unlawful activity.  The onus is then placed on the suspect to prove that the assets were gained lawfully or purchased with legally derived funds.

See article below from the New Yorker:

Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?

by Sarah Stillman August 12, 2013

On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson’s home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border. They made the trip every April, at the first signs of spring, to walk the local wildflower trails and spend time with Henderson’s father. This year, they’d decided to buy a used car in Linden, which had plenty for sale, and so they bundled their cash savings in their car’s center console. Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read “Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!”

They pulled into a mini-mart for snacks. When they returned to the highway ten minutes later, Boatright, a honey-blond “Texas redneck from Lubbock,” by her own reckoning, and Henderson, who is Latino, noticed something strange. The same police car that their eleven-year-old had admired in the mini-mart parking lot was trailing them. Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over.

He asked if Henderson knew that he’d been driving in the left lane for more than half a mile without passing. No, Henderson replied. He said he’d moved into the left lane so that the police car could make its way onto the highway.

Were there any drugs in the car? When Henderson and Boatright said no, the officer asked if he and his partner could search the car.The officers found the couple’s cash and a marbled-glass pipe that Boatright said was a gift for her sister-in-law, and escorted them across town to the police station. In a corner there, two tables were heaped with jewelry, DVD players, cell phones, and the like. According to the police report, Boatright and Henderson fit the profile of drug couriers: they were driving from Houston, “a known point for distribution of illegal narcotics,” to Linden, “a known place to receive illegal narcotics.” The report describes their children as possible decoys, meant to distract police as the couple breezed down the road, smoking marijuana. (None was found in the car, although Washington claimed to have smelled it.)

The county’s district attorney, a fifty-seven-year-old woman with feathered Charlie’s Angels hair named Lynda K. Russell, arrived an hour later. Russell, who moonlighted locally as a country singer, told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for “money laundering” and “child endangerment,” in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. “No criminal charges shall be filed,” a waiver she drafted read, “and our children shall not be turned over to CPS,” or Child Protective Services.

“Where are we?” Boatright remembers thinking. “Is this some kind of foreign country, where they’re selling people’s kids off?” Holding her sixteen-month-old on her hip, she broke down in tears.

Later, she learned that cash-for-freedom deals had become a point of pride for Tenaha, and that versions of the tactic were used across the country. “Be safe and keep up the good work,” the city marshal wrote to Washington, following a raft of complaints from out-of-town drivers who claimed that they had been stopped in Tenaha and stripped of cash, valuables, and, in at least one case, an infant child, without clear evidence of contraband.


http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/08/12/130812fa_fact_stillman?currentPage=all

GreenMonkey just wondering if Bajans might someday find themselves in similar predicaments. Hope that our legislation will specifically specify that  assets can only be seized AFTER conviction for criminal activity.

60 responses to “The Dark Side of Civil Forfeiture in the USA

  1. Plantation………….you really gotta wonder, this guy is not known for being proactive so i want to know who was dumb enough to assign PM Stuart as Chair of Caribbean reparations committee.

  2. @ Plantation Deeds

    Look DEEDS, you could do a bushman a likkle favour? ….dey got a acre and uh half pon a hill in St John (don’t tell JUST ASKING) wid a view of the sea….
    Bushie can’t be too specific after cussing Miller just now, but um got a tan colour cow tie on um….and nuff black belly sheep..

    …you could tell Bushie if de deeds clear pun um? Wunna got any papers fuh St. John?

  3. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2013 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    Bush Tea @ so funny, i had to read that twice to get it good. Yes we have deeds for St john , Pool 423 acres,, subject to greater proof by the BLP/DLP or fraud squad.

  4. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2013 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    Well Well @ Maybe for the PM bought this last election and won , So they may want some one who will be there longer than most, the other might loose the next time around and they might if Barbados make sport with the pay outs, Or try to put the money in the Nations pocket and not pay the names that needed be paid like GWBush did during the Gulf War of 50,000 US $ to each troop.But the money went to the govt bank account.
    Lets hope this crooks ass PM dont pull the same she-it for then 1937 will be back here before his term end , As We know it we have till 2023 for all this to be done , Lets hope they dont wait till the last year to see all things done.

  5. What are you going to do about St. John people ?
    What about the ‘whites’ in that dark parish, the poorest parish in Barbados ?

  6. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2013 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    We are not looking to move anyone, Just to pay the right people. If there was a move half will be in the Ocean , It not about that, the crooks are taking and not paying taxes on the rents they are collecting ,So most them have to pay more taxes to cover the rest by paying more.
    Ex , Person came by 2 days ago , They to own 2.5 acres of land from a family member . Another member of the same family cut up the land in to 6 parts and now they get 6 land tax bills that cost more than when it was in one part. No when the so called owner check with land tax she only get one bill for the 2.5 and still the other being charge for the 6 parts. more money more fraud.All of this was done with out the permission of the owner . So we see the land surveyor need to make sure he getting permission from the owner before entering on the land before cutting up with a deed to read.

  7. PLANTATION DEEDS FROM 1926-2013 AND SEE MASSIVE FRAUD ,LAND TAX BILLS AND NO DEEDS

    JUST ASKING @ LAND RENT IS 500bds A YEAR ABOUT 42BDS A MONTH,, WHAT IS YOUR LAND TAX BILL, iF YOU BOUGHT LAND RIGHT WITH NO FRAUD THEN YOU WILL BE STUCK WITH LAND TAX FOR EVER AND MOVE UP WHEN EVER THE MINISTER NEED MORE MONEY.If they tax land rent we will pay the tax on the land rent and not added to the 500bds
    remember VAT and UDC came to being in 1997 , launder the land .r, VAT is paying the 12.50 to your 2.50=15.00a square foot UDC deal?
    This is not about race , if it was i would be fighting my self
    My father work to help build Barbados.He sat down with White people talking about Blacks at the same table not in a nice way. He look more like them so they felt safe speaking,
    We checked the Bajan Book FREEDMEN OF BARBADOS AND WE CAN FIND EITHER side of mother or father family name,,,,

  8. August 9th at 8:56 a.m. “Suppose he felt that the suspect may have been motivated to pull one from the bag being searched – and in order to PREVENT a major encounter, HE decided to dominate the situation FIRST?”

    Suppose Bushie, your grandmother had balls

    Then she would be your grandfather.

    But she didn’t have balls.

    And she wasn’t your grandfather.

    Suppose, suppose!!!.

  9. Who going to jail for the crimes?

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