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Cops Steal Bail Money Under Drug Forfeiture Law

May 21, 2012
Radley Balko, Huffington Post

When the Brown County, Wis., Drug Task Force arrested her son Joel last February, Beverly Greer started piecing together his bail.

She used part of her disability payment and her tax return. Joel Greer’s wife also chipped in, as did his brother and two sisters. On Feb. 29, a judge set Greer’s bail at $7,500, and his mother called the Brown County jail to see where and how she could get him out. “The police specifically told us to bring cash,” Greer says. “Not a cashier’s check or a credit card. They said cash.”

So Greer and her family visited a series of ATMs, and on March 1, she brought the money to the jail, thinking she’d be taking Joel Greer home. But she left without her money, or her son.

Instead jail officials called in the same Drug Task Force that arrested Greer. A drug-sniffing dog inspected the Greers’ cash, and about a half-hour later, Beverly Greer said, a police officer told her the dog had alerted to the presence of narcotics on the bills — and that the police department would be confiscating the bail money.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rwolf permalink
    May 21, 2012 12:32 pm

    Police Forfeiture Squads Out of Control

    Like a spreading plague, media reports of Police using Civil Asset Forfeiture to seize property from innocent owners is frightening off buyers of motels, bars, restaurants; residential rental property. Investors and property owners increasingly believe they are sitting ducks for police to confiscate their property. Many investors note the recent publicized civil forfeiture of Motel Caswell by Federal & Local Law Enforcement Agencies from the Caswell family that owned and operated the motel for two generations. The Caswells cooperated with police to abate infrequent drug problems at their motel caused by guests. The family Motel was free and clear and perhaps provided a target for police forfeiture. See: “United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Mass.”

    Bars, restaurant and rental property owners Increasingly fear police; strongly believe police can make it a point—to shut down or seize any bar, restaurant, motel or residential rental by arresting a customer or tenant unbeknownst to the owner—possessing or distributing drugs; or believe undercover police / informants can steer drug sales or buys onto their property or business to forfeit it. Some owners of bars, restaurants and rental property become police informants, report on their customers—in the erroneous belief police won’t target their business or property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture. Government civil asset forfeiture requires only a civil preponderance of evidence for police to forfeit property, little more than hearsay. No one need be charged with a crime. Corrupt Police can even create the hearsay. If police civil forfeiture abuse is not brought under control it is foreseeable many Americans will be afraid to own real and personal property that comes in contact with the public.

    It is understandable more business and rental property owners fear police.
    Almost every week there are news reports of police, including high-ranking police and sheriffs being arrested for selling drugs, robbing, extorting or protecting drug dealers, planting evidence; filing false reports to send innocent persons to prison.

    Police are salivating at the prospect of having drones to spy on lawful citizens. Congress approved 30,000 drones in U.S. Skies. That amounts to 600 drones for every state.
    Despite local police surveillance drones being recently banned or restricted by some cities and counties, local police may be able to call in Federal Drones to spy on lawful citizens. Local police have a strong financial incentive to work with the Feds (asset forfeiture sharing) that can result from drone surveillance). Alert: Should (warrant-less drone surveillance evidence be allowed introduced in courts, for example recorded conversations inside private home and businesses, expect federal and local police civil asset forfeitures to greatly escalate because civil asset forfeiture requires only a preponderance of civil evidence to forfeit property, little more than hearsay: any private conversation a drone picks up in a business, on a private property may be taken out of context to institute civil asset forfeiture to confiscate a home, business property or other assets. Local police now circumvent state laws that require a person be convicted before police can civilly forfeit their property—by flipping their investigation to the feds (Adoption); and by working with Federal Agencies, the Feds can rebate to the referring local police department 80% of federally forfeited assets.

    CISPA was passed by the House: if passed by the U.S. Senate CISPA will provide Government asset forfeiture contractors and paid informants without warrants the financial incentive (to take out of context) any innocent—hastily written email, fax or Internet activity to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, assess fines and or civilly forfeit a business or property.

    Federal Government can use CISPA to (certify any employee) even employees that work for a Government certified cyber self-protected entity—opening the door for certified employees to covertly spy for the government on their employer and clients with full immunity from lawsuits if done in good faith; and illegally share or sell private and proprietary information to others.

    Under CISPA U.S. Government is not prohibited from paying any person; or a Government Certified self protected cyber entity or Certified Employee part of government forfeited assets or other compensation that result from their providing U.S. Government a corporation’s confidential information or client information—that otherwise would require a warrant. U.S. Government currently contracts on a fee / commission basis with (self protected cyber entities) that can be anyone who uses the Internet e.g. private government contractors and (Elements) that have government security clearances to facilitate arrests and Government asset forfeitures. Federal Government can’t use evidence it directly obtains through no warrant illegal searches of e.g. emails, however that will change if CISPA is passed by Congress. Government should be prohibited from using independent contractors to circumvent the Fourth Amendment. Some of the same private security contractors involved in government asset forfeitures appear to support Congress passing CISPA.

    CISPA Weak Internal Security: A corrupt U.S. Government Agency, police and Quasi-Government Contractors may too easily use private Internet transmissions, e.g. emails and transmitted files it collects without a warrant to extort corporations, politicians and Citizens; or sell confidential information gleaned from warrant-less Internet Surveillance. Confidential Information in corrupt hands can be worth more than illegal drugs.

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