Category Archives: Police

Civil Forfeiture, or Why Keeping Cash in a Shoebox is Good Idea

The Growing Problem of Civil Forfeiture Abuse

Spirit Lake, Iowa:  Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food has been owned and operated for 38 years by Carole Hinders.  Carole has always preferred to accept only cash payments, so frequent bank deposits were necessary in order to keep from having too much cash on hand at her restaurant.   One day in August 2013, the IRS unexpectedly seized her entire bank account, totaling just shy of $33,000.  It was a clear-cut case of civil forfeiture abuse.  Read more about it at Breitbart.

Long Island, New York:  Bi-County Distributors has been owned by brothers Mitch and Richard Hirsch for 27 years. Their business distributes candy and snacks and other small food items to a number of convenience stores in their area.  Many of their clients pay cash on delivery, so that means that they need to make frequent bank deposits for their own safety.  Then one day in May, 2012, federal agents seized their entire business bank account, which contained a balance of around $446,000.  The federal abuse of civil forfeiture laws was once again the root cause of the near ruination of yet another successful and legitimate family business.

 Abusive Federal Authority Again

Those are just two of numerous examples of a growing form of abuse of federal authority.  These two cases involved the confiscation of cash assets. Numerous other cases involve the confiscation of property in all forms.

If the term Civil Forfeiture means nothing to you yet, you had better start learning about it fast, especially if you operate business which accepts a significant amount of payment in cash.  The IRS is on a mission to find any excuse they can to literally rob you of your hard earned money.

What is Civil Forfeiture?

Civil forfeiture is the act of government confiscation of your property with no accountability whatsoever on their part.  All that’s necessary to trigger it is someone in a law enforcement agency who claims suspicion of a victim’s criminal involvement.  Your property can be taken without you even being charged with any crime.  Depending on conditions of the situation, your vehicle, your home, or all of the cash from your bank accounts could be taken.

Worse yet, because you have not been charged with a crime, civil forfeiture leaves you without the legal protection you would have enjoyed if you really were a criminal!  Neither do any rules exist to control what the confiscating law enforcement agencies may do with the stolen, er, I mean, confiscated property.

One might reasonably expect your confiscated property to go into some kind of protected escrow status. But in fact, in 42 states, confiscating agencies simply keep what they have confiscated and use it as their own.  No law regulates them. It makes no difference if it is cash, vehicles, real estate, or anything else.

Such a rule of law, if it can be called that, provides law enforcement agencies with an incentive to falsely seize as much property as they possibly can.  And they do!

 On what basis are bank account assets seized?

Federal law now requires that banks notify federal agencies whenever a cash sum totaling over $10,000 is made into any bank account.  Such reporting is designed to tip off authorities to the possibility of illegal business acivity.  The war on drugs has contributed to the motivation for such law and invasion of privacy.  As invasive as that law is on personal business, did you know that your deposits may be under continual scrutiny by the IRS, whether or not you make deposits over $10k?

If you happen to have a business which generates a lot of income on a cash basis, you can be accused of “structuring” your deposits by consistently keeping them under $10k.  There do not seem to be any guidelines for federal agents to use to define what constitutes “structuring”.  If you make a series of large deposits of less than $10k, you might be accused of “structuring” your deposits to avoid IRS scrutiny.

In the act of IRS monitoring of your perfectly legal activity of depositing cash sums of several thousand dollars, you have already been scrutinized.  In fact it seems perfectly logical that if you were already aware of the $10k trigger value, you might very well for your own good be attempting to structure your deposits to avoid being targeted as a possible illegal operation.  Who wouldn’t want to avoid being targeted as an illegal operation, especially if you are really 100% legitimate?

Property owners who find themselves caught up in the forfeiture abuse system often spend weeks, months, sometimes years, without having an opportunity to appear before a judge. Too many victims are compelled to simply give up.  They never did anything wrong, but it’s just too pointless and too expensive to continue fighting.
In one well documented analysis of federal civil forfeiture cases, it has been shown that 80 percent of those whose property the federal government seized were not charged with any crime.  This is no better than legalized theft!

Make the federal government accountable, and stop the war on drugs

In order to stop the abuse of civil forfeiture, we clearly have two choices. The practice of civil forfeiture must either be totally abolished, or it must be carried out with accountability.

This abuse of property rights could easily be reduced by 80% by making the legitimate criminal arrest of every victim a prerequisite to property seizure.

“Legitimate” is a key word, and that’s why I lean towards its total abolition. Most cases of legally valid civil forfeiture revolve around illegal and victimless drug crimes.  The legalization of drugs would result in the elimination of a vast part of the underground syndicate. Grounds would then no longer exist to prosecute the greater portion of the remaining 20% of civil forfeiture cases.

Then the federal government  wouldn’t even need to take property away from people anymore, would it?  Or did they ever really need to? Liberty makes life so much simpler.

 

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Terry Holcomb Sr. Goes to Jail for Defending Liberty For YOU!

Terry Holcomb Sr. Stands Up for Himself  (and other Constitutional Commentary)

Take a good listen to the details of this event. The actions of this judge are despicable. Here is KrisAnne Hall’s plea for you to listen to this broadcast and take action:

“What is Liberty worth to you? To Terry Holcomb, Sr. it is worth going to jail. Mr. Holcomb refused to allow his voice to be silenced by tyrannical government and that tyrannical government put him in jail. He stood his ground peacefully, while others watched on in submission to tyranny. Mr. Holcomb defended Liberty for YOU and YOUR CHILDREN. Will YOU stand with him NOW?”

Just three days ago, a judge in a Texas county decided to adjourn a meeting which was held for the purpose of hearing public redress of an issue to which there was public opposition.

The County didn’t want to hear any opposition. So what did the judge do? He adjourned the meeting before anyone had a chance to speak contrary to the intentions of the County……. and of course that was the designated reason for the meeting in the first place.

One man, Terry Honcomb, Sr.,  protested and demanded that he be allowed to speak. . Inspite of the fact that the meeting was already formally adjourned when Mr. Holcomb spoke up, he was arrested and jailed on a bogus charge because he had refused to be denied the opportunity to be heard.  Mr. Holcomb broke no law, and only stood up for his right to be hear and not to be run over by a judge’s abuse of authority.

 

—>  Listen to the audio commentary by KrisAnne Hall  here

 

Why there even is a Bill of Rights

Why would I take the position that the Constitution was written to protect the people against the unjust actions of a tyrannical government? Maybe it’s because the history of the activities of the Continental Congress in 1789 verifies that position. The Federalists actually argued against the creation of the Bill of Rights, but not because they disagreed with its proposed contents.

Alexander Hamilton, representing the Federalist point of view, argued against the creation of a Bill of Rights, and it was a hotly contested issue in the Constitutional debates.  His motivations for taking that position were also quite reasonable. Hamilton contended that as soon as you spell out a defined set of individual rights, those specific words would be used to rule in favor of the allowance or prohibition of anything that was not specifically spelled out in the Bill of Rights  as prohibited or allowed.  Hamilton was quite perceptive.

The Bill of Rights WAS created, and now we can see exactly that happening today. Liberals.  in their interpretation of the Bill of Rights, take exactly the same position that Hamilton feared would be taken.

For instance, in the modern  liberal view, you can outlaw certain kinds of weapons, because their allowance was not specifically spelled out when the Constitution was penned in 1789. After all, automatic rifles did not exist back then. Therefore, by their argument, we can outlaw them without ever infringing on the rights that existed in 1789.

Likewise, in the liberal view, we can define what comprises “the press” to exclude bloggers and Facebook particpants because the press was nothing more than newspapers back in 1789. The internet did not exist yet. Therefore, by their argument, bloggers and people who do not fit a government definition of “press” can be excluded from the freedom of press rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

Those are only two examples and both pf them typify exactly the kind of Constitutional abuse that Hamilton warned against. On the other hand, although that’s why Hamilton didn’t favor adopting a Bill of Rights, where would we be without it to lean on today? Hamilton lost that argument, and the Bill of Rights DOES exist. So now, we have this resulting interpretation debate to deal with, just as Hamilton predicted would happen.

What is the only logical answer to this Constitutional interpretation debate?

In my mind, original intent is the only argument behind which anyone can stand with any sort of logical validity. Original intent is easy enough to understand on the basis of the history that transpired in the debates of the Continental Congress, resulting in the penning of the final documents. If we can establish what the Framers intended, that is, what the absolute meaning behind their words was, that must certainly take precedence over any sort of opinion about it. Rulings about whatever the Constitution DIDN’T ever say, can logically be nothing but baseless and personally biased opinions. Such opinions are easy to spot, because they without exception walk on someone’s inalienable rights.


The narrator, KrisAnne Hall, in the piece linked above well explains the debate in 1789 over whether or not there even should have been a Bill of Rights included in the Constitution. If you really read and dig into history, you will learn that the party which believed that the purpose of the Constitution was to give the people power over potential tyrannical government, was the same party that WON the debate over the issue of whether or not there should even BE be an enumerated Bill of Rights. Because they won that argument, the Bill of Rights was created and ratified.

I have been told by liberal minded friends that I need to read the Constitution because I am supposedly misinterpreting it.

Well, I did. I carry a copy in my briefcase. I also read history, and I also considered the tyrannical actions of King George, who inspired the Colonists to revolt and to declare independence from his tyrannical government.

What I have not done, and which makes me incapable of Constitutional interpretation, according to one of my esteemed well meaning liberal friends, is to take a course from a liberal arts college law department which teaches students to interpret the Constitution in exactly the manner against which Alexander Hamilton warned it is not to be interpreted.

Be sure to listen to the audio and take action.

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Millions of Tax Dollars Spent to Defend Police Abuse – Your Money Squandered

police target suspected gun owner in no knock raid

 

Millions of Tax Dollars Regularly Spent to Defend Police Abuse

by Stirling Watts

Are you a tax paying resident in a large American metropolitan city?  Are you concerned about the accountability of the your hard earned tax dollars?

A recent Russia Today article revealed that in New York City alone over the last five years, nearly half a billion in tax dollars were used to pay settlements to plaintiffs in cases of civil rights violations against citizens – civil rights violations perpetrated by the police.  Yes, that’s right – legal settlements, payoffs, large sums of money paid from pubic taxpayer coffers to compensate for civil rights abuses wrongfully carried out by police officers.

Documents that were recently made available to the public by the New York City Law Department revealed that these payoffs totaled more than $428 million, and  were the result of more than 12,000 such civil rights cases that have been processed through the New York City court system from 2009 until now, October 2014.

Those are huge amounts of money for just one city to have paid out to compensate for abusive, illegal, actions carried out by paid professional police officers —- and we are talking about New York City alone.  Just imagine how much money is being squandered the very same way in other major metro areas of the United States.  If you’re an American, you know which cities I mean – the ones constantly in the news for police abuse.  Really, if you watch the non-mainstream news, you know that means that virtually all of our cities are guilty.

Let’s think about the basic moral aspects that drive this abuse of taxpayer dollars.  We’re talking about taxpayer dollars spent to defend countless unconstitutional actions carried out in supposed “good faith” by law enforcement agencies dealing with crimes which are, for the most part, completely victimless.

To begin with, how many cases of police abuse should we reasonably expect to hear about each year?  In an imperfect human world, we might expect that every law enforcement agency will experience at least a blip on the radar of individual problems with officer or agent misbehavior.  That’s just human nature.  But, shouldn’t the sum total number of abusive police actions reported every year amount to no more than a few isolated instances, caused by a tiny number of bad cops?

And when those inevitable cases of bad behavior do rear their ugly heads, shouldn’t we expect law enforcement agencies to implement immediate and appropriate correctional actions?  Why is it that following every deadly shooting by a police officer, regardless of the sequence of events that led to the incident, officers who have discharged their weapon killed someone are routinely put on paid administrative leave?  Isn’t something missing in the individual accountability and responsibility requirements expected of the average American law enforcement officer?

If that’s not a relevant issue, then how is it that just last year, New York City paid more than $96 million (yes, that’s right, $96 million!) in settlements to citizen plaintiffs whose civil rights were abused by NYC cops?  Even more amazing is that Mayor Bloomberg, at least according to the claims of the Russia Today article, regularly shrugs these numbers off as irrelevant.  As a taxpayer in New York City, would you also find these figures irrelevant?

A  bigger moral dilemma, and the “war on drugs”

This excessive abuse of taxpayer funds is only a part of an even bigger moral dilemma.  Is it morally sound public policy for police departments to pay off victims whose civil rights have been violated by police with massive amounts of money taken from the taxpayers – taxpayers who quite reasonably expect the responsible use of public funds?

On the other hand, when any citizen’s civil rights are violated as the result of irresponsible police behavior, are those citizens not rightfully due compensation for the wrongs done to them?  Of course they are, and who then is to pay for the wrongs committed by our public servants?

When anyone does wrong, is not the wrongdoer the final responsible party?  Why, then, is the responsibility laid on the taxpayers and not on the police officer?  It is simply because taxpayers are a convenient source of easy cash for large and powerful city operated organizations like police departments.  It is because we all know that the police department itself serves to isolate the officers within that police department, the officers who carry out these cowardly and irresponsible acts, from blame or guilt.

What might be done to begin to curb this massive financial fraud?   Change just might begin with ending the all too common unconstitutional practices of no knock raids, warrantless searches, reasonless traffic stops, unconstitutional checkpoints, and other many varieties of 4th amendment violations.  What is fueling that?

This alarming trend of police abuse and the constant daily violation of individual’s constitutional rights by police is fueled almost completely by a senseless “war on drugs”.

It’s time to stop that nonsense.

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