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WTF over-zealous police? - Page 136

post #2026 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lighthouse View Post

That's fine, but:

Have you been paid in silver specie?

Or been asked to sue for copyright violations when the state attorney writes your client's name on a pleading?


I was paid in bitcoins, once. Sadly, I held on to them too long and they are not what they were worth at their high point. But like the Krugerrands I have buried in the backyard I am confident they will be worth something someday again.
post #2027 of 6095
Quote:
From the files of the federal agency that really should have a summer internship program for identity thieves (Oh wait! It basically does.) comes the tale of yet another employee who discovered the lucrative possibilties in all of that sensitive information you and I are required by law to share with the Internal Revenue Service. Seasonal tax examiner Elaina Norris allegedly scoured through IRS databases for the identifying information of random individuals who could be claimed as dependents on tax returns, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Fishing for exploitable identities apparently came easily for Norris, who "had access to the names, Social Security Numbers (SSNs), dates of birth, and other personally identifiable information of taxpayers and their claimed dependents." It was also her job to verify the accuracy of returns and sign off on the righteousness of claims made therein.

Norris prepared and caused to be filed the 2008 Federal income tax return of her relative. The return falsely claimed two dependents and claimed, for the purpose of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), that the dependents lived with her relative for eight months in 2008. In fact, neither of the individuals listed were relatives; they did not live with the taxpayer (Norris’s relative) during the tax year; and they were not the taxpayer's dependents.

Increasing the number of dependents a taxpayer claims on a Federal income tax return may decrease the taxpayer’s tax liability or increase the taxpayer's refund.. Norris obtained the legitimate names and SSNs of the claimed individuals through her employment in the ERS unit for the purpose of falsely listing them as dependents on her relative’s tax return. Norris knew that the individuals were not her relative’s dependents and that they did not live with her relative for eight months of the year. Norris's preparation and submission of the fraudulent tax return caused her relative to claim unauthorized tax deductions and credits.

Additionally, Norris prepared and filed her own 2008 Federal income tax return, falsely claiming a dependent described as her “nephew” and claiming for the purpose of the EITC that the dependent lived with her for eight months in 2008. Norris declared the accuracy of her return under the penalties of perjury, knowing that these claims were not true, and that the individual was not her dependent and did not reside with her. As a result, Norris claimed and received tax deductions and credits to which she was not entitled. The following year, Norris again falsely claimed the same dependent on her 2009 tax return and claimed that the dependent lived with her for seven months of the year, thereby knowingly claiming and receiving tax deductions and credits to which she was not authorized.

I'm guessing that whoever was really responsible for the dependents in question might have received a bit of a surprise when submitting their own returns. After all, the presence of those kiddos in somebody else's household far, far away had already been vouched for by a no-shit tax examiner with responsibility for "verifying the accuracy of claimed dependents on taxpayers’ income tax returns."

Now, to be honest, Norris has only been arrested and indicted—not convicted. She has good company in former IRS contact representative Modestine Gillette who also allegedly found lucrative uses for her "access to IRS computerized files containing confidential tax return information for taxpayers, including names, Social Security Numbers (SSNs), and income information."

Between February 2010 and February 2012, Gillette knowingly prepared and filed, or caused to be filed, nine Federal income tax returns which contained false, fictitious, or fraudulent information, and diverted Government funds from those returns for her own benefit. Most of the individuals listed on the fraudulent tax returns had provided Gillette with their true income and expense information and had authorized Gillette to prepare and submit their returns for them. Nevertheless, the tax returns Gillette prepared and submitted to the IRS reported false information, including income not earned by the taxpayers, business expenses not incurred, false dependent claims, and inflated refund requests. The total amount claimed was $34,466. One taxpayer did not authorize Gillette to prepare and submit a return on her behalf; however, Gillette used her identification to submit a fraudulent tax return, request an inflated refund, and direct the inflated refund into a bank account in the name of her (Gillette’s) spouse.

Given the vast amounts of hacker bait to which IRS employees have access, I remain impressed and relieved by the small size of the scams with which tax collectors entertain themselves.

Or maybe we're only seeing the small-timers too amateurish to evade detection. The Inspector General has warned that the IRS has a bad habit of rehiring people it fired for transgressions such as digging through databases without authorization. And the Government Accountability Office cautions that, because of sloppy internal practices, "taxpayers could be exposed to loss of privacy and to financial loss and damages resulting from identity theft or other financial crimes."

I wouldn't bet that the repercussions end at a few bogus dependents and fraudulent returns.


TLDR: Federal Law Enforcement Officials steal your tax info to fuck you out of your tax refund. They don't call it civil forfeiture, because it's just theft.
post #2028 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post

Forgive me for not picking up on that since your prior post was lamenting the perceived lack of due process.

Meaningful due process, not this dog and pony show bullshit. Some DEA goon checking off all the right boxes in their internal checklist shouldn't count as sufficient protections. The standards rely so heavily on their discretion that they're meaningless.
Quote:
Where do you get "extremely vague suspicion"? The cops have to have probable cause to seize property. Probable meaning enough evidence that it's more likely than not.

We don't know what the evidence is in this case, or at least not much -- we've got a convicted felon right out of the big house, on his way from Detriot to California (the drug distribution capital of the world), with a large amount of unexplained cash and a bullshit story. And just what we know so far, and we only know that because it's what the guy himself admitted, he being the only source of information thus far available.

The fact that you're trotting out "well he was going to California" as reasonable suspicion shows we're so far off the reservation that it's pointless to even have the conversation.
Quote:
Maybe you should wait for the legal process to unfold to make up your mind what happened. That's what it's for, you know. They called it due "process" for a reason.

Maybe this dumb bastard (and the thousands of others like him) should get to keep his money until a higher standard of proof has been passed.
Quote:
You can say what you like about the law, but it's generally better thought out than you give it credit for. Assume for the sake of argument that the money was unquestionably intended for a drug purchase. He gets caught and he says -- "that was my mom's money." She hasn't been convicted of anything. Now you have to give back, right? Drug dealers (and criminals in general) usually title everything they have in the names of friends and relatives for this reason exactly. Requiring the owner to be convicted is an unworkable idea.

All this stuff is fighting against the tide, and at enormous cost both financial and to the health of civil society. We're not going to make the slightest dent in the drug trade from confiscating money from low level buyers (and $16k is chump change in that regard), but that's a severe life disruption for an innocent person.

If raising the barriers to civil forfeiture results in drug dealers have an easier time, fine. Degrading our constitutional rights for the convenience of law enforcement isn't worth the cost, especially for an utterly failed effort like drug interdiction.
post #2029 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Meaningful due process, not this dog and pony show bullshit. Some DEA goon checking off all the right boxes in their internal checklist shouldn't count as sufficient protections. The standards rely so heavily on their discretion that they're meaningless.

The standard is probable cause, an ancient fixture of our legal system that is explicitly written into the constitution. It's the same standard that allows anything else to be seized, including people (i.e., arrested). Calling it meaningless is absurd.

And it's hardly an internal checklist. When a forfeiture is contested the case is out of the cops' hands. In federal cases it's the US attorney that has to prosecute the forfeiture and a court that makes the ultimate decision.
Quote:
The fact that you're trotting out "well he was going to California" as reasonable suspicion shows we're so far off the reservation that it's pointless to even have the conversation.

Probable cause is determined by looking at the totality of the circumstances -- i.e., everything relevant. The fact that he was going to a place that is a hub of the drug trade is something that's properly considered.
Quote:
Maybe this dumb bastard (and the thousands of others like him) should get to keep his money until a higher standard of proof has been passed.

If he was on his way to buy drugs with it, it became mine and yours the minute he started out. Would you give this guy an unsecured loan of $16,000? I didn't think so. If he'd shot somebody with a gun would let him hold onto it until his trial? That's just absurd.
Quote:
All this stuff is fighting against the tide, and at enormous cost both financial and to the health of civil society.

Could have fooled me. Going after the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime is a spectacularly effective way to suppress crime since it deprives criminals of the fruits of their crimes -- it's hitting them where it really hurts. Forfeiture allows for an effective way of dealing with criminal proxies and agents -- it wasn't this dope's money, of course. The idea originated as a way to suppress piracy. Do you think the owners of pirate ships should get them back after the pirates have been caught?

All you have to do is look at the results -- crime is at its lowest point in modern history.
Quote:
We're not going to make the slightest dent in the drug trade from confiscating money from low level buyers (and $16k is chump change in that regard), but that's a severe life disruption for an innocent person.

If raising the barriers to civil forfeiture results in drug dealers have an easier time, fine. Degrading our constitutional rights for the convenience of law enforcement isn't worth the cost, especially for an utterly failed effort like drug interdiction.

Being arrested is a big life disruption too, but it's permissible under the same standard. There's no due process problem with cops arresting you or seizing your property with probable cause. And I'm not sure what constitutional rights you think are implicated. You keep saying due process, but there's a process in place. Courts -- in civil actions, even -- take money and property away from people every day. They even freeze assets before trials.
post #2030 of 6095
Eleven shot, two killed in latest Baltimore City violence,

http://www.abc2news.com/news/crime-checker/baltimore-city-crime/eleven-shot-two-killed-in-latest-baltimore-city-violence

BALTIMORE - Eleven people have been shot, two of whom died, over a less than 12-hour period Tuesday into Wednesday in Baltimore City, police confirmed.

The most recent shooting was reported at 2:10 a.m. when a man was shot in the abdomen and killed in the 800 block of W. Saratoga St. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call 410-396-2100.

Police are also investigating another homicide that took place around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. In this case a man was shot multiple times and transported to a hospital where he was declared dead at 7:06 a.m. A woman was also shot in the back and is not in critical but stable condition at a hospital.

RELATED: Baltimore homicides up 40 % over last year

RELATED: Six shot, two dead in Baltimore violence

RELATED: Baltimore Mayor: Violence will not be tolerated

Gee, I thought there would be peace after there was "Justice for Freddie"

Guess not!
post #2031 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post

The standard is probable cause, an ancient fixture of our legal system that is explicitly written into the constitution. It's the same standard that allows anything else to be seized, including people (i.e., arrested). Calling it meaningless is absurd.

It's not probable cause, and you know this. Civil forfeiture, as opposed to criminal forfeiture, requires no standard to seize and hold the property. Most states require a preponderance of the evidence to eventually retain the property, but unless the civil defendant has the funds to hire an attorney and show up in court (which he probably doesn't if the cops just stole his money) then he/she loses by default.
Quote:
Probable cause is determined by looking at the totality of the circumstances -- i.e., everything relevant. The fact that he was going to a place that is a hub of the drug trade is something that's properly considered.

Probable cause is irrelevant in civil forfeiture, and has absolutely no meaning in administrative forfeitures.
Quote:
If he was on his way to buy drugs with it, it became mine and yours the minute he started out. Would you give this guy an unsecured loan of $16,000? I didn't think so. If he'd shot somebody with a gun would let him hold onto it until his trial? That's just absurd.

Again, this is civil forfeiture, which you keep conflating with criminal forfeiture. There usually IS NO criminal trial for the underlying criminal activity because there are no charges. And if it's an administrative forfeiture then there is no civil trial at all.
Quote:
Could have fooled me. Going after the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime is a spectacularly effective way to suppress crime since it deprives criminals of the fruits of their crimes -- it's hitting them where it really hurts. Forfeiture allows for an effective way of dealing with criminal proxies and agents -- it wasn't this dope's money, of course. The idea originated as a way to suppress piracy. Do you think the owners of pirate ships should get them back after the pirates have been caught?

All you have to do is look at the results -- crime is at its lowest point in modern history.

This is correlative horseshit, forfeiture has little to do with violent crimes, which have been dropping, but everything with non-violent drug crime, which has been increasing. And all it does is encourage cops to steal shit from people who they don't like but can't prove committed a crime. That's the reason they file a civil forfeiture instead of pursue it as a criminal forfeiture, the lower burden of proof. They are abusing a process that has relevance in maybe a dozen high-profile, probably white collar crimes a year and processing it on regular schmucks at traffic stops. The average amount seized from traffic stops in Pennsylvania is $600. Not $6,000.00. Six hundred. Not a lot, but add it up over the tens of thousands taken and it helps the cops buy those fancy new guns and body armor.

It's a disgusting process that is being abused, and does not make us any safer.

And your pirate ship example is just stupid. A pirate ship would qualify as contraband and wouldn't be returned no matter what, the same with an atomic bomb or child pornography or drugs that are seized. We're talking about money, and innocuous items like cars and motels with the overwhelming vast majority of civil forfeiture.
Quote:
Being arrested is a big life disruption too, but it's permissible under the same standard. There's no due process problem with cops arresting you or seizing your property with probable cause. And I'm not sure what constitutional rights you think are implicated. You keep saying due process, but there's a process in place. Courts -- in civil actions, even -- take money and property away from people every day. They even freeze assets before trials.


And after being arrested you are entitled to a trial whereby you must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You have the right against self-incrimination, you have the right to an attorney if you can't afford one. You have a right to a trial by jury. NONE of that applies in civil forfeiture.
post #2032 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harold falcon View Post

And your pirate ship example is just stupid.

I wouldn't dismiss it so easily. It deserves further exploration. I've studied instances of pirates in the U.S. over the past several decades, and the link between forfeiture and the reduction in pirates in the U.S. seems undeniable.

However, you should not dismiss another striking connection. Blacks are responsible for 28.8% of larceny thefts, so it's natural to assume they should be pirating, right? Well, the CDC reports that 70% of black children can't swim. So, it may, in fact, be the inability of blacks to swim, rather than forfeiture, that has been responsible for the low number of pirate incidents.
post #2033 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harold falcon View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fang66 View Post

You did.


This has already been addressed by Ata trying to make it an issue when it is not.


Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post

Can you be that dense? Let me try again: the perception that some of the public holds you described is largely a product of ignorance and misinformation.

Lol, this is just false. The cops routinely beat and kill innocent civilians. They violate our rights nearly every day. They lie in court. That's the reason they are perceived as the scumbags they are
.

No, he cited a different post, this is you posting something and then claiming you didn't (or drunkenly forgetting).
post #2034 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harold falcon View Post

.
This is correlative horseshit, forfeiture has little to do with violent crimes, which have been dropping, but everything with non-violent drug crime, which has been increasing. And all it does is encourage cops to steal shit from people who they don't like but can't prove committed a crime. That's the reason they file a civil forfeiture instead of pursue it as a criminal forfeiture, the lower burden of proof. They are abusing a process that has relevance in maybe a dozen high-profile, probably white collar crimes a year and processing it on regular schmucks at traffic stops. The average amount seized from traffic stops in Pennsylvania is $600. Not $6,000.00. Six hundred. Not a lot, but add it up over the tens of thousands taken and it helps the cops buy those fancy new guns and body armor.

It's a disgusting process that is being abused, and does not make us any safer.
Thanks harvey. That needed a more technically correct explanation.

This shit obviously isn't working to win the drug war. It's just letting cops fund it, and there's an endless supply of people who want to get high to supply more money. It's never going to stop, so we really ought to protect the innocent and protect the principles of our judicial system .

The DEA actually cites "trash in the car, energy drinks, and tinted windows" as reasonable cause for suspicion. Nervousness around the police is reasonable suspicion. They've defined this so broadly that the police can basically find cause for anyone carrying enough cash. I'm absolutely sure that they do stop a shit ton of drug runners using this process, but making it harder to catch them is a reasonable cost for protecting citizen's rights to not have their property seized unreasonably.
post #2035 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fang66 View Post

No, he cited a different post, this is you posting something and then claiming you didn't (or drunkenly forgetting).


He didn't cite any post in his original attack on Mr. Rivers. And he was trying to obscure the issue by talking about a case unrelated to forfeiture.
post #2036 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ataturk View Post

The standard is probable cause, an ancient fixture of our legal system that is explicitly written into the constitution. It's the same standard that allows anything else to be seized, including people (i.e., arrested). Calling it meaningless is absurd.

And it's hardly an internal checklist. When a forfeiture is contested the case is out of the cops' hands. In federal cases it's the US attorney that has to prosecute the forfeiture and a court that makes the ultimate decision.
Probable cause is determined by looking at the totality of the circumstances -- i.e., everything relevant. The fact that he was going to a place that is a hub of the drug trade is something that's properly considered.

The DEA and the other agencies that engage in this practice are pretty clear about the extremely low standards required for a civil forfeiture. Basically anyone who is on a road trip (and is dumb enough to carry a large amount of cash) could be held in reasonable suspicion. It's an absurdly low bar.
Quote:
If he was on his way to buy drugs with it, it became mine and yours the minute he started out. Would you give this guy an unsecured loan of $16,000? I didn't think so. If he'd shot somebody with a gun would let him hold onto it until his trial? That's just absurd.

This is a ridiculous logical chain, because you're starting from the presumption of guilt (and that's telling for the whole argument). If he was on his way to buy drugs. There's zero evidence that this was the case. It's plausible that he was, sure. They sell drugs in California. Cash can be exchanged for drugs.

Cash is not a smoking gun. Cash is not a bloody rag. Cash is not evidence that a crime is going to be committed, it has infinite other applications that are all legal. If the police had previous evidence that an actual crime was going down (wiretap, overheard conversation, etc), then fine, that's a reasonable cause for confiscation. But "he has cash, we don't like his justification for why he's carrying it, cash is fungible with drugs, and they sell drugs in California" shouldn't be. Simply fitting into the profile for a drug buyer should not be sufficient cause to have your property seized.
Quote:
Could have fooled me. Going after the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime is a spectacularly effective way to suppress crime since it deprives criminals of the fruits of their crimes -- it's hitting them where it really hurts. Forfeiture allows for an effective way of dealing with criminal proxies and agents -- it wasn't this dope's money, of course. The idea originated as a way to suppress piracy. Do you think the owners of pirate ships should get them back after the pirates have been caught?

All you have to do is look at the results -- crime is at its lowest point in modern history.
Are you actually serious? Drugs are cheaper and more pure than ever before. It is trivially easy to find and buy basically any drug you want. There has been no meaningful progress from the Drug War, and an enormous cost on many fronts.

The fact that carrying cash has been essentially criminalized shows one of the many consequences of the drug war. Why should anyone in a free society have to justify why they're carrying legal property around with them?
post #2037 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by zbromer View Post

I wouldn't dismiss it so easily. It deserves further exploration. I've studied instances of pirates in the U.S. over the past several decades, and the link between forfeiture and the reduction in pirates in the U.S. seems undeniable.

However, you should not dismiss another striking connection. Blacks are responsible for 28.8% of larceny thefts, so it's natural to assume they should be pirating, right? Well, the CDC reports that 70% of black children can't swim. So, it may, in fact, be the inability of blacks to swim, rather than forfeiture, that has been responsible for the low number of pirate incidents.

It is a well known fact that many (most?) Pirates couldn't swim.
post #2038 of 6095
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harold falcon View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fang66 View Post

No, he cited a different post, this is you posting something and then claiming you didn't (or drunkenly forgetting).


He didn't cite any post in his original attack on Mr. Rivers. And he was trying to obscure the issue by talking about a case unrelated to forfeiture.

No, but he did cite one when you complained that no one had posted anything about Rivers, and then you took him to task for cherry picking a few lines about Rivers from the post he cited.

Put down the martini Harv, here's what happened

He complained about Rivers;

you went off the deep end claiming that no one had mentioned Rivers;

he cited a post where someone had in fact mentioned Rivers;

you complained that it was an irrelevant cherry pick;

I pointed out that you yourself had in fact posted a lengthy article specifically about Rivers (and being a generous soul I posited that you had likely forgotten you had done so while in an alcoholic stupor);

You tried to weasel out of it.
post #2039 of 6095
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/10/us/police-use-department-wish-list-when-deciding-which-assets-to-seize.html?_r=0

Why not let cops and city attorneys tell us how they use civil forfeiture? Listen to the first video where, per the city attorney, a nice car was spotted and police plotted how to steal it.
post #2040 of 6095
I'm sure they had reasonable suspicion. The guy might have been going to California, for instance.
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