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Corrupt Government
See other Corrupt Government Articles

Title: Denver Cashes in by Seizing Cars for Low-Level Crimes, Even Without Convictions
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/blog/2017/11/14/ ... hes-in-by-seizing-cars-for-low
Published: Nov 14, 2017
Author: Scott Shackford
Post Date: 2017-11-15 05:47:28 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 48
Comments: 4

Body camera footage

Denver Police body camera footage

Denver cab driver Semere Fremichael got caught up in an undercover prostitution sting. He was innocent—he thought she wanted a ride, not sex for pay—and was acquitted by a judge.

His taxi, however, got taken for a rough ride. Denver's Fox affiliate has an excellent two-part investigation showing how the city attorney's office is using civil asset forfeiture to cash in by snatching vehicles like Fremichael's for even low-level crimes, and even when their owners aren't convicted.

In 2016, Denver made more than $2.4 million, seizing more than 1,800 vehicles enforcing the civil forfeiture component of its public nuisance abatement laws. Civil forfeiture is a controversial procedure that allows cities (and states and the federal government) to seize and keep somebody's assets and property without actually convicting them of a crime.

Denver put the screws to Fremichael, according to Fox reporter Rob Low, offering him a civil version of a plea deal: He could get the car back in 30 days if he gave them $1,000. Or he could demand a civil hearing. If he lost, it would cost him $6,000 and he could lose the car for a year. He took the deal, and says he probably lost an additional $2,500 because he couldn't use his cab for a month, even though he committed no crime.

City Attorney Kristin Bronson defends the seizure of these cars on camera, but doesn't acquit herself well (pun unintended). Bronson insists she isn't abusing forfeiture because the ordinance has been around for 20 years. Which could mean Denver has been abusing the law for a long time.

She also defended the citizen hearing process, which worked out rather poorly for Fremichael. Much like criminal plea bargains, Fremichael was put in a position to accept a small penalty or risk facing an even worse punishment. The risks are even higher for Fremichael because civil trials and hearings use lower evidence standards. It was easier for Fremichael to lose his car in a civil hearing than for him to be convicted of soliciting prostitution.

Low and his team, having talked to two municipal judges, could find no cases out of the hundreds of seizures every year of citizens requesting a hearing. Bronson argued that this was evidence that the system works and is proof that the city was offering "fair settlements."

But as a sharp cotntrast to Bronson's claim, Low also interviewed Greg Rawling, a former city attorney who used to prosecute these public nuisance cases for Denver. Rawling told Fox, on camera, the city seized the cars "because they can" and said they were in it for the money.

Another important contrast: The Denver district attorney's office generally requires a conviction before seizing and keeping somebody's vehicle, Fox reported. As a result, their office seized five cars, compared to the city's 1,821, in 2016.

Colorado earlier this year passed some civil asset forfeiture reforms that increased forfeiture transparency and made it harder for police to participate in the federal asset forfeiture sharing program for low-level cases. But that doesn't apply here to what Denver is doing. Fox also interviewed a state representative who helped usher in these asset forfeiture law reforms. She's on a task force to consider additional changes to forfeiture laws, and she makes it clear Denver's behavior has her very concerned.

Watch both parts of Low's investigation here. Kudos, by the way, for how Low and Fox news handled this investigation and story. Local news outlets have a reputation for simply swallowing what police and prosecutors say on crime-fighting and asset forfeiture methods and parroting back the official line. This Fox piece does not, and they do an excellent job getting to the heart of the weird and complex operations of asset forfeiture in a way that's easy for viewers to understand.

These details are very important when we have folks like Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein trying to convince Americans that asset forfeiture is all about fighting the Bernie Madoffs of the world. What happened to Fremichael is the more likely outcome when citizens do not get strong due process protections for their property.

Bonus link: The City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been similarly aggressive in trying to seize cars and has been sued over it.


Poster Comment:

Low also interviewed Greg Rawling, a former city attorney who used to prosecute these public nuisance cases for Denver. Rawling told Fox, on camera, the city seized the cars "because they can" and said they were in it for the money.

WTF? A lawyer telling the truth?

Good for him.(1 image)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

He was innocent—he thought she wanted a ride, not sex for pay—and was acquitted by a judge.

Bullshit. From another article:

"In April, he was arrested in an undercover prostitution sting. An undercover female cop tapped on Fremichael's taxi and asked him if he wanted to meet her around the corner for sex."

When he did he was arrested. He signed a civil stipulation, agreed to pay a $1,000 fine, and had to wait 30-days to get his car back. In return, criminal charges were dropped.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-11-15   9:14:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#0)

I lived in Denver for several years.

The FOX reporters investigating this story should do some research to determine the percentage of vehicles "legally stolen" from typical citizens compared to the number seized from hard core professional criminals like gang members and biker clubs.

Or I should say "hard core professional criminals that DON'T wear badges" to differentiate the typical criminal from the DPD criminals.

BTW,don't confuse Denver and Colorado Springs with the rest of Colorado. Both cities,and especially Denver are basically "San Francisco East" because of all the leftists that fled the left coast due to the high taxes. There is probably no city in America that can match Denver when it comes to political corruption. When I was out there,one Mayor and the Denver Post Master at that time went to federal prison for running a scam declaring new USPS vehicles to be surplus,and selling them for scrap prices to a company owned by the Denver mayor.

The Denver PD was also hit hard when some undercover news organization exposed them for operating a burglary ring.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-11-15   9:25:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: sneakypete (#2)

" Denver "

Sounds like a good place to not be there !!! As many city's are, both east & west !!

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

Never Pick A Fight With An Old Man He Will Just Shoot You He Can't Afford To Get Hurt

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." (Will Rogers)

Stoner  posted on  2017-11-16   12:52:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Stoner (#3)

Sounds like a good place to not be there !!! As many city's are, both east & west !!

It's not that bad for most people that just go to work,mind their own business,and go home at night,and take an occasional night out on the weekends. The DPD doesn't bother these people much because there is no graft money to be made from harrasing citizens.

I had some issues,though. Mostly because I had hair and a beard halfway to my belt,and rode what was called a Chopper back then. I once had a DPD officer tell me if I wanted to stop getting harassed for paper checks every day by the same cops I should sell my Harley and buy a Jap bike. My reply to him was "What's the matter? Won't your mommy let you ride a Harley?" didn't seem to please him. Got so bad I had to leave my bike in a friends garage in Lakewood and ride a bus from his house to my apartment because of all the outstanding warrants on me for serious shit like "operating an unsafe vehicle". I got this one riding home from school at midnight one night in a snow storm,and the rear tire was throwing snow up on my taillight.

Long story short,but I once stopped what was supposed to have any armed robbery at the corner liquor store one night by knocking the guy out and watching him until the DPD could get multiple cars to show up in the neighborhood where I lived,and the freaking cops threatened to arrest ME for "interfering in police business." after making me lean against a counter so they could frisk me for weapons. I had figured that was coming,so I have my 44 to the woman running the liquor store to hold for me until the cops left.

I am not lying. If I had lived there another couple of years,I would have been sniping at the bastards from rooftops.

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-11-16   18:18:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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