Co-creator of Civil Asset Forfeiture Wants to Abolish It…….

I know I have talked about this before but here is a bit more info


One of the most insidious abuses of state power lies in the practice of civil asset forfeiture (CAF), where government agents can seize cash and property from citizens who are not charged with a crime. Law enforcement needs only the suspicion (often concocted) of a crime to immediately steal a person’s belongings, and the person must then prove his or her innocence with costly attorney’s fees to get their property back.

The case of Joseph Rivers, 22, provides a shocking example of how bad it can get. While on his way to Hollywood to start a music career, the DEA stole Rivers’ life savings of $16,000 on the made-up suspicion that he must be involved in drugs, even though there was no evidence whatsoever. He has yet to get this money back.

Since CAF was created by the federal government in the 1980s to fight organized crime, law enforcement has seized upon it to develop, like a drug addiction, something known as “policing for profit.” Billions of dollars are stolen every year to feed a lust for more equipment, training, and personnel to further entrench the police state.

However, the tide is turning. New Mexico has become the first state to make serious reform, as it has abolished civil asset forfeiture by requiring a criminal conviction to seize assets. The law puts the funds derived from criminal convictions into the state treasury, rather than state and local law enforcement.

The city of Albuquerque, which used to rake in $1 million a year from CAF, is incensed over the loss of its cash cow and is refusing to follow the law. It continues to seize vehicles without a conviction and has even built a new parking lot for all the cars it intends to steal.

More states, such as Virginia, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire, are considering reform as the abuses of CAF come to light. Noble law enforcement officers are speaking out as well. Last September, we interviewed Stephen Mills, chief of police of the Apache, OK police department, who is a vocal critic of CAF.

And now, a bombshell has been dropped which will surely accelerate moves across the country to end this injustice.

One of the creators of civil asset forfeiture has just called for it to be abolished. Brad Cates, former director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Office (1985-89), wrote an opinion in the Wall Street Journal acknowledging that CAF has turned into policing for profit.

“During the Reagan administration I helped establish these programs because I believed they would quickly channel seized criminals’ profits into the fight against organized crime and drug cartels. Yet over time we have created a new bad incentive: policing for profit, out of the reach of the proper legislative budget process.”

Cates references a study performed by the Institute for Justice which found that the Justice Department’s Assets Forfeiture Fund exploded from $93.7 million in 1986 to $4.5 billion in 2014. The study also found that “just 13% of Justice Department forfeitures from 1997-2013 were criminal forfeitures, while 87% were civil forfeitures.”

“Considering the intertwined financial incentives, reform must happen at both the state and federal level. States and the federal government can look to what New Mexico had done as a template for broad-based action.

Three decades ago I helped create our civil asset forfeiture system; now it is time to end it.”

Clearly, the intent of the original law has been thoroughly abused at all levels of government. The Justice Department caved to pressure in 2015 when it suspended its “equitable sharing” program which allowed local police to skirt state-level efforts of reform. That hasn’t stopped cops in most states from continuing to loot and pillage the citizenry.

Cates still endorses the war on drugs, which creates crime and misery, but acknowledges that “states taking assets from untried individuals who are easily summoned before the courts is unconscionable.”

When the man who helped create civil asset forfeiture says it’s time to end it, this is a powerful message to cops who revel in stealing from innocent citizens under the guise of fighting crime. Addiction is a hard thing to kick, as law enforcement will soon find out.

Man shot by Baltimore police acquitted as jury rejects officers’ testimony

 


For the more than 240 days since Keith Davis was shot in the face by Baltimore police, he has nursed his wounds from a jail cell, facing a barrage of charges on allegations that he robbed an unlicensed cab driver and fled. Davis was the first police-involved shooting since the death of Freddie Gray in police custody set off citywide protests in April.

And while Gray became a household name as representative of the more than 1,000 people who are killed by police each year, activists have held up Davis as an example of how Gray and others like him might have been treated by the law enforcement system if they had lived.

On Thursday, a jury found Davis not guilty on all the charges but one. They acquitted him of 14 charges related to the robbery, chase and standoff that ended in police gunfire at Davis, and found him guilty only of possessing a firearm as a prohibited person, which carries a five-year minimum sentence.

Despite a prison sentence that Davis’s supporters consider unjust, the verdict is viewed as at least a partial victory by Davis and activists.

Davis “feels like this is a win”, said his fiancee Kelly Holsey, who led the activist movement. “He set out to prove his innocence and did that. And the charge he was found guilty for is really a technicality.”

The state’s attorney’s office – headed by Marilyn Mosby, who came to national prominence when she announced charges against officers in connection with the death of Freddie Gray – has faced increasing criticism from campaigners regarding this case. Baltimore Bloc, an activist group, has repeatedly alleged that Mosby’s office was involved in helping the police department cover up the shooting.

On the stand, the officers offered conflicting and contradictory accounts of the incident. The state alleged that Davis got into the car of Charles Holden, who was operating an unlicensed cab, and tried to hold him up. Police testified that they chased Davis after they saw him flee from the car carrying a gun, and followed him into a garage where they saw him point a gun at them from behind a refrigerator. Four different officers opened fire, ultimately discharging more than 40 shots.

Police never offered a clear story about what happened that day as their timelines varied considerably, leaving room for reasonable doubt. For instance, Officer Lane Eskins testified that he never lost sight of the suspect, but Sergeant Alfredo Santiago’s account placed Davis in the garage while Eskins was still a block away.

But a bigger problem with the state’s case came from the civilian witnesses. Holden, the unlicensed cab driver who was held up, gave a description at the time of the event that did not match Davis. During the trial, Davis’s attorney Latoya Francis-Williams walked Holden directly in front of the defense table where Davis sat, wearing a blue blazer, a white sweater, a plaid shirt, and glasses. “To my recollection that don’t look like him to me,” he said.

Another witness, Martina Washington, who was in the garage when Davis ran in, testified that police had influenced her description of the man who entered the garage. “They keep saying all the stuff to you and telling you what they want you to say,” she said. “They was telling me ‘is the guy light-skinned? Was the guy light-skinned?’… That’s why I said ‘Yeah.’ I’m trying to get out of here.”

Davis did not testify, but in a jailhouse interview in January, he told the Guardian that he was never in Holden’s car and was walking down the street holding his phone when Holden’s car pulled up and police began to run. “They just centered on me. When they ran towards the crowd everybody kind of broke away from the crowd and ran in a direction,” he said. “I wasn’t even the only one that ran in that direction but they ended up chasing me.”

Davis has maintained that he never had a gun. But the police department’s fingerprint expert testified that her report found an irrefutable match between the partial prints left on the gun – found on top of a refrigerator within the garage – and Davis.

In closing arguments, the defense alleged that the entire case was the result of a cover-up. “They’re in damage control,” Francis-Williams said. “Why? Because they shot the wrong person … They double down hoping that no one will notice, that an innocent man will be convicted and we’ll close the books on this.”

“There’s too much crime going on in Baltimore to think this guy is that special to waste time to make up evidence,” LaZette Ringgold-Kirksey, the prosecutor, responded in her rebuttal.

At the same time the trial was going on, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was at a hearing on police reform at the state capitol advocating that police be held to an even higher standard. Under current policy, police are advised to give a statement within 10 days of an incident, and Rawlings-Blake is asking that the window be reduced to five days. But in the Keith Davis case, four shooting officers – Sgt Santiago, Officer Eskins, Officer Catherine Filippou, and fficer Israel Lopez – all testified that they didn’t give statements for more than 180 days after the shooting.

Police spokesman TJ Smith said that the officers did not give statements because they were under grand jury investigation until November, when the state’s attorney declined to prosecute the officers for shooting Davis.

At the end of Davis’s trial, the jury rejected all of the charges stemming from police testimony. But, evidently, even the clearly contradictory accounts from officers and witnesses could not dispel the fingerprints that said to the jury that Davis had been in possession of the gun at some time. Because he had previously been convicted of a felony, Davis was not allowed to possess a weapon.

Now more news from all those inside the clown car…….

Bob Schieffer on GOP race: “I didn’t think it could get lower”


Dawg says it will get lower when Hillary starts talking…….

 

Thursday night’s explosive Republican debate was filled with name-calling and attempts at mockery that many in the party said reached lows beneath the dignity of the office the candidates are seeking.

CBS News’ Bob Schieffer said he didn’t think this campaign could get much lower — then it did. “I mean, no discussion of the issues. People arguing, screaming, hollering,” Schieffer said.

By Friday afternoon, the conversation had quickly changed once again to Donald Trump — he wasendorsed by New Jersey Governor and former candidate Chris Christie.

But Trump’s campaign promises may be harmful to the party’s goals, says Schieffer. After the 2012 election, the Republican party aimed to reach out to a broader electorate, including Hispanics and African Americans.

“Donald Trump gets big applause when he talks about building that wall along the border with Mexico, but what some Republicans are beginning to wonder is — is he really building a wall around the Republican party?”

They are all in a low no class state.

 

B

Dipshidiot of the day: He save’s the Tat’s but not the fingers…….

Fugitive chews off fingertips in failed bid to hide identity


 

Police say a fugitive from Tampa who didn’t want to be identified by his fingerprints during a traffic stop in northeast Ohio chewed off his fingertips.

Kirk Kelly has been jailed on felony counts of evidence tampering and obstructing official business and misdemeanor charges of falsification and resisting arrest. A message left for his attorney after business hours Friday hasn’t been returned.

Police in Tallmadge, Ohio, say Kelly and several other people were put into a cruiser without handcuffs after their vehicle was stopped last weekend and officers thought they smelled drugs.

Police say Kelly gave false names as they tried to identify him. They say they figured out who he is after photos of his tattoos were provided by police in Florida, where he’s wanted on firearms and drug charges.