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“Asset Forfeiture” in D.C.: Cops Steal Your Car, the Judge Demands Ransom

Posted on 12 July 2012 by george

Here’s how the institutionalized theft called “civil asset forfeiture” works in Washington, D.C.: If the police steal your car, you may eventually get it back – if you’re willing to pay ransom for the privilege of letting a judge decide if the thieves get to keep it permanently.

TheNewspaper.com reports that D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Jeremy Bank stopped Virginia resident  Frederick Simms  on May 29, 2011 for supposedly making an illegal right turn on Martin Luther King Boulevard. In keeping with the standard script, Banks lied by claiming that he smelled the aroma of marijuana. A search of the car revealed a handgun. Simms was arrested and his car impounded.

With the help of a public defender, the 22-year-old Simms was acquitted of all charges last December 7. However, the D.C. municipal government – which has one of the most flexible and abusive “civil asset forfeiture” statues in the American soyuz – retained possession of the 2007 Saturn Aura XE in the hope of permanently confiscating it through a forfeiture action.

Following his acquittal, Simms was told that he would have to pay a $1200 fee in order to file a court challenge against the seizure of his automobile. Spokesmen for the criminal clique that had stolen his car didn’t bother to tell Simms that he could apply for a reduction or waiver of the “bond.” After learning that this was possible, Simms attempted to apply for a waiver, and was told that he would have to get the application notarized and provide three years of tax returns. After doing so, Simms was informed that his waiver was denied, and the bond – essentially, a ransom demand for an amount he would lose if the thieves ratified their theft of his car – would be reduced to $800.

“I cannot afford to pay $800 to try to get my car back,” Simms explained in a court filing. “All of the money I make from my wages … goes to transportation, rent, daycare, utilities, groceries, car insurance, and the $360 a month I pay on the car loan….”

On May 1, Simms filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the District, which responded by beginning forfeiture proceedings the following month – more than a year after the initial traffic stop. In a preliminary hearing, one of the lawyers representing the D.C. criminal clique observed that the forfeiture proceeding (that is, the process of ratifying the theft) might take about a year. This would mean Simms would be deprived of the use of a car on which he was still making loan and insurance payments. In the meantime, sniffed the mob lawyer, Simms would just have to make use of “public” transportation.

Federal District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan  ruled that it was an “irreparable harm” for the district to keep Simms’s car. However, he required that the innocent motorist pay a $1000 forfeiture bond – that is, a ransom to get back the car the police had stolen from him until a judge decides whether the thieves can keep it.

Read the ruling here.

16 Comments For This Post

  1. MoT Says:

    How horrible. And yet even after having said this causes “irreparable harm” he lays a fee on the man like some sort of back handed slap to the face. That’s sick!

  2. Jetset Says:

    So you were there? You must have been, since you state that the Officer lied about smelling marijuana and therefore perjured himself. If you weren’t there, the republic should re-evaluate this article before they get hit with a libel suit by the Officer.

    I don’t agree with the District’s forfeiture laws, but I also don’t agree with shoddy journalism that has no accountability for itself.

  3. William Grigg Says:

    So you were there? You must have been, since you state that the Officer lied about smelling marijuana and therefore perjured himself.

    He’s a police officer; he was trained to lie, and expected to do so:

    “Police lie. It’s part of their job. They lie to suspects and others in hopes of obtaining evidence. These investigative lies cover a wide web of deception – a web that can get tangled.”

    This was the opening sentence of the first article in a two-part series for Officer.com entitled “Training Cops To Lie,” by former prosecutor and police consultant Val Van Brocklin:

    http://www.officer.com/article/10233095/training-cops-to-lie-pt-1

    Truth is a perfect defense against a charge of libel. Officer Bank claimed something for which no evidence existed in order to invent a pretext to seize the car. He belongs to a social caste that is trained to lie, expected to lie, and granted both legal and social permission to do so. He is a professional liar and, when occasion presents itself, a thief. He is also a coward. I happily invite him to sue me, either individually or in my professional capacity, for expressing those manifestly sensible opinions.

  4. NH Patriot Says:

    lies & theft, standard operating procedure for the DMV/enforcement/judicial racket… hope I live to see the day when these scumbags hang for their crimes and their institutions are dismantled…

  5. NH Patriot Says:

    @jetset: do the world a favor and put your head back in your arse…

  6. Josh Simes Says:

    Much of “law enforcement” is now driven by greed. And much of that greed is driven by the need to pay the bloated salaries and benefits of public employees. Asset forfeiture is only one aspect of the increasing trend to steal from the citizen. Police magazines are chock full of ads promising that the advertiser’s product or service will lead to more asset forfeitures; i.e., enable more theft from citizens.

    Perhaps the ultimate asset forfeiture case involved the U.S. Coast Guard. During a routine safety inspection of a freighter, one of the USCG petty officers claimed to have found marijuana residue among the belongings of a freighter crew member. The Coast Guard reacted by seizing the entire freighter and attempting to keep it under asset forfeiture law. How sleazy can you get?

  7. Rusty Shackleford Says:

    D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Jeremy Bank is a homosexual who molests little boys.

  8. Michael Says:

    The poster is spot on about the trick cops pull. I don’t drink but ever time that I have been stopped for anything the officer always smells alcohol. What BS just a way to violate your 4th amendment. You have the right to defend yourself in court, what a joke. After the prosecutor gets done finding ways to get anything if your favor inadmissible, you don’t have a chance. The sad part is those that have served on a jury have no idea how unfair the system is. So many innocent people in American prisons. We are losing all our freedoms and most people don’t have clue. Can anyone say police state!! I served as an Army Ranger EOD Tech and to see how hard working people in this country are getting treated I have doubts about my choice. I see the hand of God working to bring this county down. The games about over. Good luck be prepared.

  9. clark Says:

    I’m beginning to understand just how revolutionary the ideals America used to stand for,… were.

    Could you imagine a country like America today?

    That would be nice.

  10. Chad Smitt Says:

    This a nigger site? Fucker had a gun – and they were finding a way to fuck with him. What was his history?? Narrow sited bullshit. I guess flash mob is ok also.

  11. EHeassler, USN-Ret. Says:

    And the police wonder why they are losing the public trust and spirit of cooperation. It has become and us vs. them relationship.

  12. Jerry Says:

    It is apparent that not only is the federal government, all 3 branches, Executive, Legislative and Judicial corrupt and anti-American, but so are the municipal authorities in the District of Columbia (Washington, DC).

    I pray daily that we will regain our constitutional freedoms in November 2012 and can once again breathe pure unpolluted air once again in 2013 when these corrupted liberals are ousted.

  13. liberranter Says:

    Looking at some of the responses to this article, perhaps comment moderation might be in order. While I’ll admit to occasionally finding bigoted ignorance amusing (and often helpful in proving the article author’s points), it really adds nothing useful to the discussion of the subject at hand.

  14. Philip Lockerman Says:

    A prime example of Washington Police and court tactics Chicago style !

  15. Rwolf Says:

    See this recent story regarding Nevada drug dogs causing Asset Forfeiture of Vehicles Titled: Nevada Drug Dog Troopers Allege Official Misconduct

    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2012/jun/29/nevada_drug_dog_troopers_allege

    by Phillip Smith, June 29, 2012, 05:58pm, (Issue #741)

    /////////////////////
    Are Police Asset 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.

    Next: Police Drones—Recording Conversations In Your Home & Business To Forfeit Property?

    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.

    It is problematic local police will want to use drones to record without warrants, personal conversations inside Americans’ homes and businesses.
    Despite some U.S. cities and counties banning or restricting police using drones to invade citizens’ privacy, local police have a strong financial incentive to call in Federal Drones, (Civil Asset Forfeiture Sharing) that can result from drone surveillance). Should (no-warrant drone surveillance evidence) be allowed in courts—circumventing the Fourth Amendment, for example (drones’ recording conversations in private homes and businesses) expect federal and local police civil asset property forfeitures to escalate. Civil asset forfeiture requires only a preponderance of civil evidence for federal government to forfeit property, little more than hearsay: any conversation picked up by a drone inside a home or business, police can take out of context to initiate arrests; or civil asset forfeiture to confiscate a home/business and other assets. Local police now circumvent state laws that require someone be convicted before police can civilly forfeit their property—by turning their investigation over to a Federal Government Agency that can rebate to the referring local police department 80% of assets forfeited. Federal Government is not required to charge anyone with a crime to forfeit property. There are more than 350 laws and violations that can subject property to government asset forfeiture that have nothing to do with illegal drugs.

  16. Don Cordell Says:

    It is indeed a crime against our Bill of Rights, and Constitution, the cops laugh at us, since we are stupid enough to have believed in Justice. In California some police districts depend on confiscation proceeds as part of operating their departments. There is a website about When is it legal to kill a cop. There is a law that says citizens have a right up to lethal force to resist illegal arrest. Of course any judge would find you guilty of Murder in the first. but it sounds good. I agree, the police in America are certainly out of control, I’ve seen bad cops since 1936, so this is nothing new. What is the solution? Violence? Not unless we can take on the entire department, and find them all quilty under the RICO act. I believe police mean well, when they first join the department, but soon they are part of the party, and citizens are all guilty until proven innocent. We need a total overhaul of this nations police departments, many should go to prison for abuse of citizens. Until we stand up and ReVote to Retake control of our nation, this will only get worse. I’ve never been convicted of any crime, but I’m aware of the injustice going on in this nation. Lets stop this, join me, google Don Cordell and see my solutions. Lets Restore America, and our Rights.

3 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. "Civil Asset Forfeiture" in D.C.: Cops Steal Your Car, the Judge Delivers the Ransom Note « LewRockwell.com Blog Says:

    [...] from here.) Bookmark/Share | Suggest a Link « Previous: Why Is the Media So Out of Touch? | LRC [...]

  2. “Asset Forfeiture” in D.C.: Cops Steal Your Car, the Judge Demands Ransom « ACGR's "News with Attitude" Says:

    [...] And now… the rest of the story. ….. Share this:FacebookTwitterDiggStumbleUponRedditEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. from → Corruption, Criminal Activity, Financial, Government, Local Law Enforcement, Police State, Politics, Propaganda, Property Rights, Sovereignty, States Rights, U.S. Constitution ← SS, THE IRS AND OBAMACARE No comments yet [...]

  3. ‘Civil Asset Forfeiture’ in D.C.: Cops Steal Your Car, the Judge Delivers the Ransom Note | Independent News Hub Says:

    [...] (Cross-posted from here.) [...]

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