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U.S. Constitution
See other U.S. Constitution Articles

Title: The Cops Took This Guy's $15,000 Jeep Because His Girlfriend Allegedly Used It for a $25 Marijuana Sale
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/2020/08/21/the-c ... ed-it-for-a-25-marijuana-sale/
Published: Aug 21, 2020
Author: Jacob Sullum
Post Date: 2020-08-23 01:09:31 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 455
Comments: 25

Kevin-McBride-GI

Kevin McBride (Goldwater Institute)

Tucson handyman Kevin McBride was hard at work one Friday last May when his girlfriend offered to get him a cold drink from a convenience store. She took his Jeep, his sole means of transportation and the basis of his livelihood. Then the cops took his Jeep, and local prosecutors are now demanding a $1,900 ransom before he can get it back.

This sort of shakedown would be clearly felonious if ordinary criminals attempted it. But as McBride discovered, it is legal under Arizona's civil asset forfeiture law. The cops said McBride's girlfriend had used his Jeep to sell a small amount of marijuana to an undercover officer for $25. Although the charges against her were dropped, the Jeep is still being held as a party to that alleged offense, and McBride has to pay for the privilege of getting his property back.

"They're extorting money from me," McBride says, "and I didn't do anything. I don't know how they can do that. You know, we don't live in a free country anymore, because that's not freedom."

Ordinarily, someone in McBride's position would be inclined to give in, since challenging the forfeiture would cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, and there would be no guarantee of winning. But the Goldwater Institute is representing McBride pro bono, arguing that Arizona's system of legalized theft violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process and the Eighth Amendment's ban on excessive fines.

When he began to wonder what was keeping his girlfriend, McBride hitched a ride to the convenience store, where he was dismayed to find police loading his Jeep onto a flatbed truck. When he asked the cops what was going on, he was handed a phone number to call for an explanation. He tried the number for three weeks before someone answered, which is when he found out that his Jeep had been seized because of the alleged marijuana sale.

Under civil forfeiture law, neither the fact that McBride was not accused of a crime nor the fact that the charges against his girlfriend were dropped made any difference. Officially, the Jeep itself is accused of participating in criminal activity. If McBride could scrape together the money for a lawyer to challenge the forfeiture, the government would have to show by "clear and convincing evidence" that the Jeep was involved in a penny-ante marijuana sale.

That is actually an improvement on the standard that applied before Arizona amended its forfeiture law in 2017, when "a preponderance of the evidence" (any probability greater than 50 percent) was enough. But the current standard is still a much lighter burden than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the rule that applies in criminal cases. And unlike criminal defendants, innocent owners like McBride have no right to court-appointed counsel, which makes it much easier to pressure them into "mitigation" agreements like the one proposed by the Pima County Attorney's Office.

"An outright return of the vehicle is inappropriate in this case," Deputy County Attorney Kevin Krejci asserted in an August 11 letter to McBride. Instead, "the state offers the following mitigation of forfeiture," Krejci wrote, saying the Jeep "would be released from forfeiture for $1,900.00." But "if we cannot agree on this mitigation, then the state will proceed with a Declaration of Forfeiture." Since Arizona assigns 100 percent of forfeiture proceeds to the law enforcement agencies responsible for the seizure, this proposal is tantamount to demanding a bribe for the return of stolen property.

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

Now the girlfriend is going to have to sell MORE weed to pay for the jeep.

It's just a vicious cycle...

watchman  posted on  2020-08-23   11:07:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#0)

The cops said McBride's girlfriend had used his Jeep to sell a small amount of marijuana to an undercover officer for $25.

Wow! What a coincidence that an undercover narcotics officer a) just so happened to be at the convenience store that she drove to, b) wanted to buy marijuana, c) approached her out of everyone there, d) and she just so happened to have some for sale.

Almost as though she's done this before. And before that. And before that.

She's a drug dealer and her boyfriend's complicit. F**k 'em. Take their Jeep.

misterwhite  posted on  2020-08-23   11:50:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard (#0)

One premise behind the legal theory allowing civil asset forfeiture seems to be that property ownership is not established, and therefore seizing it does not offend any known person. Certainly this doesn't apply here as the car is registered to a known owner.

It's a flagrant violation of the 4th Amendment:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,

A car would certainly qualify as an "effect", and a dropped case against the girlfriend would certainly eliminate any degree of reasonableness.

It's an example of how government, given enough time like 235 years, will find away to redefine the bill of rights to suit its ever encroaching desire for power.

Pinguinite  posted on  2020-08-23   11:57:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Pinguinite (#3)

One premise behind the legal theory allowing civil asset forfeiture seems to be that property ownership is not established, and therefore seizing it does not offend any known person.

I never heard that theory -- though at the time of seizure, ownership is irrelevant. Certainly if the property is not later claimed it goes to the state.

misterwhite  posted on  2020-08-23   14:46:09 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: misterwhite (#2)

just so happened to be at the convenience store

her boyfriend's complicit. F**k 'em. Take their Jeep.

Why not seize the convenience store? It was also used in the commission of the crime.

And if you say the convenience store had no knowledge of the crime then how do you know the boyfriend knew and was complicit. You jumped to a conclusion...

the fact that McBride was not accused of a crime

watchman  posted on  2020-08-23   15:05:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: misterwhite (#4)

I never heard that theory --

I think Nolu can fill you in on the details, if he's inclined. I am echoing what I believe he himself said.

though at the time of seizure, ownership is irrelevant.

Not true at all. The person from whom it is seized is given a receipt and notice.

Certainly if the property is not later claimed it goes to the state.

In the case above, the property is most certainly claimed. The state's claim for taking it is that the property was used in illegal activity. And yet there's no criminal conviction upon which to base that premise.

Yes, I know that the pro-police state people are satisfied with the mere suspicion of illegal activity to destroy people's lives, but I'm personally in favor of the state proving crimes beyond reasonable doubt before imposing punishments on people like taking their cars and homes. Maybe that's just me, though.

Pinguinite  posted on  2020-08-23   15:52:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: watchman (#5)

Why not seize the convenience store? It was also used in the commission of the crime.

Hell, it sounds to me like the whole state of Arizona should be seized, shouldn't it?

Pinguinite  posted on  2020-08-23   15:53:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Pinguinite (#7)

Why should the police stop at Arizona?

With a little digging they could find cause to seize misterwhite's car AND home.

watchman  posted on  2020-08-23   16:43:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: watchman (#8)

" Why should the police stop at Arizona?

With a little digging they could find cause to seize misterwhite's car AND home. "

LOL !!!

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

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

"No one ever rescues an old dog. They lay in a cage until they die. PLEASE save one. None of us wants to die cold and alone... --Dennis Olson "

People that say money can't buy you happiness, have never paid an adoption fee

Stoner  posted on  2020-08-23   16:58:07 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Stoner (#9)

The day the cop worship dies...

When they pull up with a tow truck to take his old man car, probably a beige '79 Fairmont.

watchman  posted on  2020-08-23   17:07:53 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: watchman (#8)

With a little digging they could find cause to seize misterwhite's car AND home.

misterwhite  posted on  2020-08-23   18:28:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: watchman (#10)

probably a beige '79 Fairmont.

Don't have that. But I do have a red '69 Corvette in the barn.

misterwhite  posted on  2020-08-23   18:32:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: watchman (#5)

the fact that McBride was not accused of a crime

Civil asset forfeiture doesn't require a criminal charge.

misterwhite  posted on  2020-08-23   18:34:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: misterwhite (#12)

Sweet!

Convertible? Side pipes?

watchman  posted on  2020-08-23   18:37:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: misterwhite (#12)

I seem to recall that yukon had a corvette.

Think it was red.

Don't recall the year.

watchman  posted on  2020-08-23   20:14:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#16. To: watchman (#14)

It's a coupe with a 2-panel removable roof and removable rear window. 427, Holley quad, Hurst shifter, side exhaust, red with black interior.

Passes everything on the road except a gas station.

misterwhite  posted on  2020-08-24   11:02:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#17. To: misterwhite, sneakypete (#16)

427, Holley quad, Hurst shifter, side exhaust

O, you've got the Holy Grail.

I was 12 when that car came out. At that age I was captivated.

But I'm still holding out for a mid-30's pickup. Sneakypete has one...a '34 Ford.

One thing, misterwhite, I hope you aren't out slinging gravel on those less fortunate than yourself.

watchman  posted on  2020-08-24   14:52:48 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#18. To: Pinguinite, misterwhite (#6)

[Article] Under civil forfeiture law, neither the fact that McBride was not accused of a crime nor the fact that the charges against his girlfriend were dropped made any difference. Officially, the Jeep itself is accused of participating in criminal activity. If McBride could scrape together the money for a lawyer to challenge the forfeiture, the government would have to show by "clear and convincing evidence" that the Jeep was involved in a penny-ante marijuana sale.

[Pinguinite #3] One premise behind the legal theory allowing civil asset forfeiture seems to be that property ownership is not established, and therefore seizing it does not offend any known person. Certainly this doesn't apply here as the car is registered to a known owner.

Ownership gets involved when a person is carrying a large amount of cash and the cash is seized as the suspected fruit of a crime until the person shows a legal source of income for the cash. In cases where it is drug money, the individual has no real legal claim to the money, and may abandon it without claiming it as his own. The money is seized as contraband of a crime and he chooses not to provide evidence that he is the criminal claimant of ownership. Rather he denies knowledge of who the money belongs to in preference to saying he earned it fair and square by selling drugs. He did not use the money to commit a crime.

In the case in the article, the car is seized as having been used in furtherance of a crime. Ownership of the vehicle is not relevant. They do not question his ownership prior to the car being seized. His lawful ownership was alleged to have been lost when the car became contraband. Should he choose to challenge the seizure, they will have to prove that the car was involved in the alleged criminal activity.

nolu chan  posted on  2020-08-24   16:29:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#19. To: Deckard (#0)

I would LIKE to think there is no one out there that is still surprised about this "legal theft". It happens every day.

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  2020-08-25   9:23:36 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#20. To: misterwhite (#2)

She's a drug dealer and her boyfriend's complicit. F**k 'em. Take their Jeep.

No,Fuck YOU for being the Nazi that you are.

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  2020-08-25   9:25:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#21. To: Pinguinite (#6)

Yes, I know that the pro-police state people are satisfied with the mere suspicion of illegal activity to destroy people's lives, but I'm personally in favor of the state proving crimes beyond reasonable doubt before imposing punishments on people like taking their cars and homes. Maybe that's just me, though.

Yew sum kinda pinko-commie,boy?

Weeze watchin yew!

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  2020-08-25   9:27:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#22. To: misterwhite (#13)

Civil asset forfeiture doesn't require a criminal charge.

Good to see you admit you think "the authorities" are free to steal our personal property from us at any time,just because they want it.

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  2020-08-25   9:29:13 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#23. To: watchman (#17)

But I'm still holding out for a mid-30's pickup. Sneakypete has one...a '34 Ford.

I also have a 36 IHC D-2 half-ton pu that is all-original. Only reason I am not driving it now is the damn radiator blew up,and nobody sells or makes direct replacements. Cheapest estimate I got was 1,000 bucks,and even then I had to send them my old radiator to use for a pattern.

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  2020-08-25   9:32:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#24. To: watchman (#17)

One thing, misterwhite, I hope you aren't out slinging gravel on those less fortunate than yourself.

How gauche. How déclassé.

misterwhite  posted on  2020-08-25   11:56:16 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#25. To: sneakypete (#23)

Cheapest estimate I got was 1,000 bucks,and even then I had to send them my old radiator to use for a pattern.

In a few more years, you may be able to have a new radiator 3D printed.

Pinguinite  posted on  2020-08-25   12:35:38 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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