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Thread: Bullshit "civil forfeiture" laws allowed Phoenix police to steal $39,500 from innocent business owner at airport

  1. #41
    All Sorts of Sports gut's Avatar
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    Assuming what the ex-wife said was true, dude will be down short 18k when he gets his money back.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gut View Post
    Assuming what the ex-wife said was true, dude will be down short 18k when he gets his money back.
    Yeah it does have the look of a guy avoiding child support, as he slowly withdrew all of his money over the past year. Still, I hate seeing that become a distraction, because obviously that had nothing to do with the seizure.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by gut View Post
    Assuming what the ex-wife said was true, dude will be down short 18k when he gets his money back.
    Yeah it does have the look of a guy avoiding child support, as he slowly withdrew all of his money over the past year. Still, I hate seeing that become a distraction, because obviously that had nothing to do with the seizure.
    I’ll tell ya what’s a REAL distraction — and probably reason alone that this guy shouldn’t get his money back — his friggin’ COMBOVER!

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    It’s RIDICULOUS!

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    _____________________________________________
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    I actually hope this [second impeachment] succeeds, because I want Trump put down politically like a sick, 14-year-old dog. ... I don't want him complicating the 2024 primary season. I just want him done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Were Republicans cowardly or unethical not to go along with [convicting Trump in the second impeachment Senate trial]? No. The smart move was to reject it.

  4. #44
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    FBI says fortune seized in Beverly Hills raid was criminals' loot. Owners say: Where's the proof?

    Full article here: https://news.yahoo.com/fbi-says-fort...140035114.html

    After the FBI seized Joseph Ruiz's life savings during a raid on a safe deposit box business in Beverly Hills, the unemployed chef went to court to retrieve his $57,000. A judge ordered the government to tell Ruiz why it was trying to confiscate the money.

    It came from drug trafficking, an FBI agent responded in court papers.

    Ruiz’s income was too low for him to have that much money, and his side business selling bongs made from liquor bottles suggested he was an unlicensed pot dealer, the agent wrote. The FBI also said a dog had smelled unspecified drugs on Ruiz’s cash.

    The FBI was wrong. When Ruiz produced records showing the source of his money was legitimate, the government dropped its false accusation and returned his money.

    Ruiz is one of roughly 800 people whose money and valuables the FBI seized from safe deposit boxes they rented at the U.S. Private Vaults store in a strip mall on Olympic Boulevard.

    Federal agents had suspected for years that criminals were stashing loot there, and they assert that’s exactly what they found. The government is trying to confiscate $86 million in cash and a stockpile of jewelry, rare coins and precious metals taken from about half of the boxes.

    But six months after the raid, the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles have produced no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the vast majority of box holders whose belongings the government is trying to keep.

    About 300 of the box holders are contesting the attempted confiscation. Ruiz and 65 others have filed court claims saying the dragnet forfeiture operation is unconstitutional.

    “It was a complete violation of my privacy,” Ruiz said. “They tried to discredit my character.”

    Prosecutors, so far, have outlined past criminal convictions or pending charges against 11 box holders to justify the forfeitures. But in several other cases, court records show, the government’s rationale for claiming that the money and property it seized was tied to crime is no stronger than it was against Ruiz.
    Federal agents say the use of rubber bands and other ordinary methods of storing cash were indications of drug trafficking or money laundering.

    They also cite dogs' alerting to the scent of narcotics on most of the cash as key evidence. But the government says it deposited all of the money it seized in a bank, making it impossible to test which drugs may have come into contact with which bills and how long ago.

    “You actually don’t know anything until that currency is run through a lab,” said Mary Cablk, a Nevada scientist and expert witness on drug dogs for both prosecutors and defense lawyers. A dog alert to drug residue on cash “might be valid” and “might be complete bunk.”

    U.S. Private Vaults was indicted in February on charges of conspiring with unnamed customers to sell drugs, launder money and structure cash transactions to dodge government detection. No people were charged.

    The criminal case has remained dormant since then, with no attorney or other representative of U.S. Private Vaults appearing in court to enter a plea. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles declined to comment on why the case appears to have stalled.

    Michael Singer, a Las Vegas lawyer who has represented U.S. Private Vaults on other matters, declined to comment on the charges against the business but said he was unaware of any criminal activity by its owners. He also said the government had "overstepped its bounds" in its search, seizure and attempted confiscation of the customers' money and property.

    In papers responding to 15 lawsuits and other claims filed by box holders demanding the return of their belongings, prosecutors say U.S. Private Vaults intentionally marketed itself to criminals by stressing that customers could rent boxes anonymously.

    A U.S. postal inspector alleged in court papers that Michael Poliak, an owner of the business, has admitted to making money from healthcare fraud and illegal marijuana sales. Poliak could not be reached for comment.

    Some lawyers for box holders say the government’s entire operation is a “money grab” to acquire tens of millions of dollars for the Justice Department through forfeiture. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office denied that and said some of the money it recovers will go to crime victims.

    In civil forfeitures, no criminal conviction is required. The government just needs to prove that it's more likely than not that the money or property it seeks to confiscate was linked to criminal activity.

    The lax standard of evidence was apparent in the forfeiture complaint filed Monday against two brothers from Woodland Hills. The government wants to keep the $960,100 in cash it took from one of their safe deposit boxes and the $519,000 it took from the other.

    Prosecutors say that theft, fraud and money laundering justify the forfeiture. But the complaint's only evidence was that one of the brothers — it did not say which one — had allegedly “been in contact with” suspected armed robbers of cellular phone stores.

    Their lawyer, Benjamin Gluck, called the complaint “an appalling and unconstitutional abuse of power.”

    Prosecutors also produced scant evidence in another forfeiture case to confiscate more than $900,000 from a box holder whose identity they have been unable to learn. They accused him of being “either a top-level drug trafficker or money launderer."

    The “indicia” of those crimes included the way the person bundled his cash in thick, thin and broken rubber bands; tightly tape-wrapped paper; bank bands; and plastic CVS and paper Good Neighbor pharmacy bags.

    Using the pseudonym Charles Coe, the box holder has filed suit challenging the seizure of his money.

    Gluck, who represents Coe, declined to discuss the specific case but said U.S. Private Vaults customers “included many immigrant business owners who escaped repressive regimes where banks are unsafe and have collected amounts of cash as their life savings over many, many years.”

    “The notion that the old rubber bands mean they must be drug dealers is ludicrous,” he said.

    The government’s only other evidence against Coe is a drug dog’s alert on his cash.

    The declining value of dog alerts as more states legalize marijuana is well known in law enforcement. Police across the nation have begun retiring drug dogs that alert for marijuana and training new ones to find only cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

    But Smithy, the LAPD dog that sniffed Coe’s cash, is trained to detect marijuana too. In his eight-year career as a drug dog, Smithy’s work led to the seizure of more marijuana than the other three drugs combined, according to a court statement by his handler, Officer Dolores Suviate.

    Billions of dollars in cash cycle daily through businesses that sell marijuana, and experts say that leaves a detectable odor on bills that wind up in the hands of people who are neither dealers nor users.

    At U.S. Private Vaults, at least two boxes contained large sums of cash from licensed marijuana businesses that cannot open bank accounts due to federal laws banning the sale and possession of the drug, according to box holder lawyers. The safe deposit boxes were not airtight, so the scent of marijuana could spread among them.

    On Friday, prosecutors filed complaints to confiscate money from more box holders. In two of the complaints, the government sought forfeiture of $154,600 in cash from one box holder and $330,000 from another. Beyond dog alerts, the main evidence was that both had applied unsuccessfully for state licenses to sell marijuana, suggesting that “the funds are drug-related,” Assistant U.S. Attys. Victor Rodgers and Maxwell Coll wrote.

    Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, called dog alerts on cash “strong evidence” of drug crimes but said they were “not the only factor contributing to probable cause.”

    “Using dogs to identify marijuana-tainted money is entirely appropriate,” he said. “To begin with, marijuana is illegal under federal law. But it is also illegal to traffic in marijuana under California law without having an appropriate license.”

    As for Ruiz, Mrozek said the government never accused him of a crime, but found “probable cause to believe that the funds in his box were linked to drug trafficking.”

    In preliminary rulings, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner blocked the government’s forfeiture cases against Ruiz and three others, saying the lack of any “specific factual and legal basis” violated their rights to due process.

    Klausner also found “the facts and the law clearly favor Ruiz” in his claim that the FBI ran afoul of the protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in the 4th Amendment.

  5. #45
    100% Organic MumblesBadly's Avatar
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    More fun with cash grabs from citizens who travel with cash!

    _____________________________________________
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    I actually hope this [second impeachment] succeeds, because I want Trump put down politically like a sick, 14-year-old dog. ... I don't want him complicating the 2024 primary season. I just want him done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Were Republicans cowardly or unethical not to go along with [convicting Trump in the second impeachment Senate trial]? No. The smart move was to reject it.

  6. #46

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  7. #47
    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumblesBadly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ftpjesus View Post
    Here we go again. Former active duty Marine is now suing NV Highway Patrol for theft of $87k in cash he had in his vehicle after traffic stop

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.www...7k-during-stop
    Wait a minute…. If he had the “$87k in cash in his vehicle after [the] traffic stop”, when exactly did the cops steal his money?

    Perhaps you meant “Former active duty Marine is now suing NV Highway Patrol after traffic stop for theft of $87k in cash he had in his vehicle[.]”

     

    You’re welcome.
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    Interesting the word Gramma( I know it's Grandma) is in the company name
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  8. #48
    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BartHanson View Post
    Pro tip for those that need to carry large amounts of cash domestically on a plane. I try to avoid doing this at all costs but sometimes I have no other choice like say traveling to a Poker Night in America 100/200NL game in the middle of Oklahoma or something. Get TSA precheck.. Not only does it vastly expedite things when going through security but the dedicated line doesnt use a body scanner. It's just an old school metal detector. Which means that you can have non metallic items in your pockets when you walk through the machine, unlike the non TSA line. Take a strap of $10k in cash, remove the strap and fold the stack of bills in half. Rubber band it. Do the same thing with a second strap. Now take both bundles of 10k and band them together. You can easily fit $20k in each pocket of normal jeans and there is no noticeable budge. Very easy way to take up to $40k without hassle.

    I dont trust those fucks at the TSA and I always think its nuts when some of my friends just stick like $80k into their laptop bag and run it through the xray.

    On a side note, the easiest way to bring money to the WSOP is to bank with a company that has branches in Las Vegas. Chase, BOA, Wells F, they are all there. Go to the Vegas branch and ask for a withdrawal by certified check. Comes right out of your account like cash. Have the check made out to yourself. You can go to the WSOP cage, endorse it and tell them you want to use it for tourney buy-ins. They will call your bank to verify (usually takes a few hours) and once verified they will literally give you Rio chips for the check. You dont even have to play in any tournaments. Ive done this for at least the past five years. It is much easier than trying to send a wire to them and having some temp working moron try to process it on the other side.
    Yeah, banks, who would of thought
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  9. #49
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I've mentioned this before (especially on radio), but I want to talk about it again, because of Mumbles' video about the airports.

    The Pokerstars PCA eventually became a big target for bullshit civil forfeiture. Each year I attempted to warn players on Twitter NOT to carry much cash back from the PCA.

    The feds were very aware of what was happening. They knew they were targeting a plane full of poker players, and they knew none of this was drug money. Didn't matter. They pulled a ton of people to the side, questioned them, and confiscated their money -- even if they were far below the $10,000 federal reporting requirement.

    It would go like this:

    Fed: "So why do you have $8,000 cash with you?"

    Player: "I just came from a poker trip, and I played cash games and tournaments there."

    Fed: "I see, so do you have any documentation which proves this?"

    Player: "Umm.. well, no, see, I brought $10,000, and I lost $2,000 while there, and..."

    Fed: "So you can't prove how you acquired this $8,000?"

    Player: "Well, as I said, I brought 10k here, and I min-cahsed one tournament and then lost about $3k overall there, but won like $1k back in cash games, I'm sure it's on camera at the Atlantis resort..."

    Fed: "Let me tell you how this works. This is suspsected drug money, and you could end up in prison for 10 years for attempting to bring drug money into the US. However, since this isn't a slam dunk case, we are willing to let you go and agree not to charge you, if you sign this form releasing the $8,000 to the US government, with no claim on it on your part."



    Picture a 23-year-old poker player in this situation, and you can imagine the panic and the desire just to get out of this mess. So he signs the form, walks away grumbling, and thinks he was just wrongly accused.

    From what I heard, they hit a LOT of players this way, and especially focused upon the young ones, figuring they would lack the life experience and resolve to fight this.

    Really, really dirty.

  10. #50
    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    I've mentioned this before (especially on radio), but I want to talk about it again, because of Mumbles' video about the airports.

    The Pokerstars PCA eventually became a big target for bullshit civil forfeiture. Each year I attempted to warn players on Twitter NOT to carry much cash back from the PCA.

    The feds were very aware of what was happening. They knew they were targeting a plane full of poker players, and they knew none of this was drug money. Didn't matter. They pulled a ton of people to the side, questioned them, and confiscated their money -- even if they were far below the $11,000 federal reporting requirement.

    It would go like this:

    Fed: "So why do you have $8,000 cash with you?"

    Player: "I just came from a poker trip, and I played cash games and tournaments there."

    Fed: "I see, so do you have any documentation which proves this?"

    Player: "Umm.. well, no, see, I brought $10,000, and I lost $2,000 while there, and..."

    Fed: "So you can't prove how you acquired this $8,000?"

    Player: "Well, as I said, I brought 10k here, and I min-cahsed one tournament and then lost about $3k overall there, but won like $1k back in cash games, I'm sure it's on camera at the Atlantis resort..."

    Fed: "Let me tell you how this works. This is suspsected drug money, and you could end up in prison for 10 years for attempting to bring drug money into the US. However, since this isn't a slam dunk case, we are willing to let you go and agree not to charge you, if you sign this form releasing the $8,000 to the US government, with no claim on it on your part."



    Picture a 23-year-old poker player in this situation, and you can imagine the panic and the desire just to get out of this mess. So he signs the form, walks away grumbling, and thinks he was just wrongly accused.

    From what I heard, they hit a LOT of players this way, and especially focused upon the young ones, figuring they would lack the life experience and resolve to fight this.

    Really, really dirty.
    pfffft. That's how it is in the best country in the world?

    You're right about suspicions being raised for carrying large sums of cash.

    Similarly if you carry over ten grand entering Canada, citizen or not you must declare that you are doing so.

    Other than the wild idea of using a bank, why not adopt something similar in places like good ole Alabam where crooks and police are on a first name basis..... like Buford?
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  11. #51
    100% Organic MumblesBadly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limitles View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    I've mentioned this before (especially on radio), but I want to talk about it again, because of Mumbles' video about the airports.

    The Pokerstars PCA eventually became a big target for bullshit civil forfeiture. Each year I attempted to warn players on Twitter NOT to carry much cash back from the PCA.

    The feds were very aware of what was happening. They knew they were targeting a plane full of poker players, and they knew none of this was drug money. Didn't matter. They pulled a ton of people to the side, questioned them, and confiscated their money -- even if they were far below the $11,000 federal reporting requirement.

    It would go like this:

    Fed: "So why do you have $8,000 cash with you?"

    Player: "I just came from a poker trip, and I played cash games and tournaments there."

    Fed: "I see, so do you have any documentation which proves this?"

    Player: "Umm.. well, no, see, I brought $10,000, and I lost $2,000 while there, and..."

    Fed: "So you can't prove how you acquired this $8,000?"

    Player: "Well, as I said, I brought 10k here, and I min-cahsed one tournament and then lost about $3k overall there, but won like $1k back in cash games, I'm sure it's on camera at the Atlantis resort..."

    Fed: "Let me tell you how this works. This is suspsected drug money, and you could end up in prison for 10 years for attempting to bring drug money into the US. However, since this isn't a slam dunk case, we are willing to let you go and agree not to charge you, if you sign this form releasing the $8,000 to the US government, with no claim on it on your part."



    Picture a 23-year-old poker player in this situation, and you can imagine the panic and the desire just to get out of this mess. So he signs the form, walks away grumbling, and thinks he was just wrongly accused.

    From what I heard, they hit a LOT of players this way, and especially focused upon the young ones, figuring they would lack the life experience and resolve to fight this.

    Really, really dirty.
    pfffft. That's how it is in the best country in the world?

    You're right about suspicions being raised for carrying large sums of cash.

    Similarly if you carry over ten grand entering Canada, citizen or not you must declare that you are doing so.

    Other than the wild idea of using a bank, why not adopt something similar in places like good ole Alabam where crooks and police are on a first name basis..... like Buford?
    Why should people be forced by a corrupt government-run asset forfeiture system to use the banking system if they want to travel with a large amount of cash???
    _____________________________________________
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    I actually hope this [second impeachment] succeeds, because I want Trump put down politically like a sick, 14-year-old dog. ... I don't want him complicating the 2024 primary season. I just want him done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Were Republicans cowardly or unethical not to go along with [convicting Trump in the second impeachment Senate trial]? No. The smart move was to reject it.

  12. #52
    Gold Cerveza Fria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    I've mentioned this before (especially on radio), but I want to talk about it again, because of Mumbles' video about the airports.

    The Pokerstars PCA eventually became a big target for bullshit civil forfeiture. Each year I attempted to warn players on Twitter NOT to carry much cash back from the PCA.

    The feds were very aware of what was happening. They knew they were targeting a plane full of poker players, and they knew none of this was drug money. Didn't matter. They pulled a ton of people to the side, questioned them, and confiscated their money -- even if they were far below the $11,000 federal reporting requirement.

    It would go like this:

    Fed: "So why do you have $8,000 cash with you?"

    Player: "I just came from a poker trip, and I played cash games and tournaments there."

    Fed: "I see, so do you have any documentation which proves this?"

    Player: "Umm.. well, no, see, I brought $10,000, and I lost $2,000 while there, and..."

    Fed: "So you can't prove how you acquired this $8,000?"

    Player: "Well, as I said, I brought 10k here, and I min-cahsed one tournament and then lost about $3k overall there, but won like $1k back in cash games, I'm sure it's on camera at the Atlantis resort..."

    Fed: "Let me tell you how this works. This is suspsected drug money, and you could end up in prison for 10 years for attempting to bring drug money into the US. However, since this isn't a slam dunk case, we are willing to let you go and agree not to charge you, if you sign this form releasing the $8,000 to the US government, with no claim on it on your part."



    Picture a 23-year-old poker player in this situation, and you can imagine the panic and the desire just to get out of this mess. So he signs the form, walks away grumbling, and thinks he was just wrongly accused.

    From what I heard, they hit a LOT of players this way, and especially focused upon the young ones, figuring they would lack the life experience and resolve to fight this.

    Really, really dirty.

    Yes, they target young naive people who may not know their rights. The main thing is if you are coming back into the US from abroad, you must declare amounts over the $10k limit. If you DO declare it, they often will waive the duty on the the cash. But, if you fail to declare, they can seize the money and charge you with a felony. I often travel with large amounts of cash when I travel on a gambling trip and I take pictures of jackpots or chip stacks to shut up anyone who may try this bullshit seizure. I also send the pics to my buddy (who is also an attorney) in case they seize my phone.

    My recommendation to anyone in this situation is to calmly show them the video proof and then calmly inform the officer that they will not sign anything and calmly inform them that they will seek any available legal and/or equitable remedies available against the officers personally (in addition to the government) if you are not released immediately with all of your property (including the cash). Remember, it is NOT illegal to travel with large amounts of cash. As long as you declare it, you're not breaking any laws.

    BTW, it was Joe Biden who originally Co-Authored this Bullshit Civil Forfeiture legislation. So if you voted for him and had your cash seized can say "Thank you Joe Biden"

  13. #53
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    The really dirty thing about the PCA seizures (aside from targeting poker players in the first place) was the fact that they weren't just going after people trying to get around the $11k limit for having to declare your cash. They were stealing the cash of people carrying LESS than $10k, where there was no requirement to report it at all!

    It was a pure money grab. Legalized theft. They knew that poker players were coming back from the PCA with a bunch of cash, so it was a great opportunity to steal from them. Honestly that's exactly what it was. It also helped that a lot of them were young, so that made them extra easy targets.

    Joe Biden indeed was the father of this legislation in 1982. Admittedly he didn't forsee this problem back then, believing it to be a legitimate tool against drug dealers. It only later became perverted into the legalized theft we see today. Now that he's President, you'd think he would undo this mistake, given that it was his own legislation which got the ball rolling 39 years ago. However, so far it's crickets from him about it.

  14. #54
    Canadrunk limitles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertrunner View Post
    From another website-

    The Arizona Citizens Defense League (CDL) sent out a mailer-

    HB 2810 is civil asset forfeiture reform legislation. It would require a criminal conviction in order for the government to confiscate someone’s property. HB 2810 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 11. We are waiting for it to be scheduled for a Senate COW debate.


    Add- Thanks to Druff sharing this, I am getting the word out to the masses on other web boards. Educating others on this is so important. Druff- Your hard work is paying off!
    surprise, surprise, surprise. This story comes out of the desert

    If you read the story there is no chance in hell this guy doesn't get his money back. It is by no means a done deal

    "When Jerry collected his checked luggage, he was met by Phoenix airport police, who questioned him, searched his bags and accused him of laundering money for drugs. Jerry was interrogated and told that unless he signed a “waiver” form, he would be arrested. Alone and far from home, Jerry signed the “waiver” under duress, not fully understanding that it said he was surrendering his ownership of his money but believing he would be arrested and sent to jail if he refused to sign.
    IJ is currently appealing Jerry’s forfeiture case after a Maricopa County district court ruled that Jerry could not prove his innocent ownership of the money that was seized from him and thus did not have standing to contest the forfeiture. Neither Jerry nor any other individual has been charged with a crime connected with the money.
    Jerry’s case potently illustrates why there is momentum to pass HB 2810, which adopts common-sense reforms that have already been adopted in other states. The bill:

    • Requires a criminal conviction before forfeiting property;
    • requires government to show an owner knew about criminal activity, rather than requiring owners to prove their own innocence;
    • prevents the use of “waivers” that law enforcement uses to coerce people into giving up their rights under threat of jail time;
    • eliminates non-judicial forfeiture to ensure every property owner can have their day in court; and
    • creates a prompt hearing to help ensure a person’s rights are protected without delay."
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  15. #55
    100% Organic MumblesBadly's Avatar
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    Another case of the cops stealing people’s cash using civil asset forfeiture. This time in Oklahoma.

    _____________________________________________
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    I actually hope this [second impeachment] succeeds, because I want Trump put down politically like a sick, 14-year-old dog. ... I don't want him complicating the 2024 primary season. I just want him done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Were Republicans cowardly or unethical not to go along with [convicting Trump in the second impeachment Senate trial]? No. The smart move was to reject it.

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