WWL>Topics>>8-27-14 12pm, Garland,Home Seizures

8-27-14 12pm, Garland,Home Seizures

Aug 27, 2014|

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Philadelphia to stop prosecutors from seizing homes from people who have never been charged with a crime.  It’s happening all over America. It’s called civil forfeiture.  Is this the America you know? Could your property be next?

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

All right. Few monitor. I think -- Usually you gotta do a lot of Reading could recover a lot of subjects. Nelson those subject it's a blow in the -- -- piece of -- side note tournaments. Visit this can't possibly be happening in America. And comScore and we overdue shore on it -- to this group. And what I was of -- an article in Philadelphia. And it started talking about people. That never had any trouble with the law. Never accused of any fraud and didn't do anything wrong. Having their home. And boats and cars seized. By the government. And I wondered occurs. -- -- courtroom the call -- courtroom portable media but they're no did you choose. The little jury. Justice and a jeweler. And they send you back their time and time again. -- forward if and when your regular trial. And the reason it's -- back. Is you have your rights. Than those actually accused of committing -- -- and and you must prove you're innocent so you're assumed. Guilty. I'm -- proven innocent. And you do right now right to a return. With us this can't be true. So start Google imploded and taxes funded now. Blinded cult. Funded in new York. And finally a -- of this the institute of justice. And they did a documentary called leaps and profit. That's called criminal. Or picture. And if it's world moves toward the end of the and it denies that this can be true salutes talked to some -- We have -- -- DURECT would who's a former prosecutor. And no board member. Organization called war enforcement against prohibition Jim welcome to -- appreciated that time. Garland could be with you and your listeners. Tell me that I'm reading this the wrong way I'm distorting. And exaggerating. -- -- -- I wish you work but you have run across another. War on drugs exceptions to the bill of rights. We have procedure known as civil forfeiture by which. Law enforcement didn't and that justice system. Can take people's property even though the owner of the property means that have been. I hit it fall. -- in Philadelphia this particular district attorney his office. Has seen some 64 million dollars over the last ten years from 2000. Into the 2000. And twelve. -- some six million dollars in the year. So -- some -- say it on themselves. Some drugs on the front of the house that was the case with the Chris -- ballots. Who's the lead plaintiff in this. Some of this case. Bet that you wonder whether sullen. So ported over words out. Right dated a forty dollar -- to -- his -- Allegedly by this the handle on our side now in front of the property. Non minority in the house. I didn't how's that indicate it's terror -- the drug cases it is if it goes that the court he's ordered to attend rehabilitation. Rehab for drug user. -- selling. And and while well he's leaving to go to class section. That they come in and seize the property of evicted people from the house -- -- a civil forfeiture proceeding. By which the government. Seeks to take any property it is anyway -- -- connected. With. Unlawful activity and of course. Usually the unlawful activity is it that shelling trucks. -- or growing drugs or -- -- property. So it if you bought a farm with many acres you better keep and the wildlife make sure that there's that marijuana growing. Happy because when they got to take your land. Today you're going to have the burden of proving that you didn't commit. Defense that you -- -- the plant was there that you didn't know this suddenly selling them liner in the front yard. It's a travesty. Chair and don't assume you are or are you more. Thought to be guilty until proven innocent crew. Correct and our criminal act and act in our justice system would basically have two kinds of cases criminal cases. And civil cases. And the big distinction between the two is that there's a much higher standard to the state must lead in improving. It criminal case -- must prove the defendant committed. A crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden to -- present in the states. They the defendant has no obligation to prove anything he has no burden to prove he's innocent. Several cases the standard is much -- to two people consume one another in India if this. The scale slightly balanced of one side read it in the other that's the winner. So it is much easier to. When a civil case in the criminal case. So what does this fervor at war on drugs has done is taken. The civil laws where they're calling -- like -- open -- the skills needed to -- to to win. And apply that in cases. Where allegedly there's criminal conduct. Associated with the property that now with the -- necessarily. Are the property but with the property. And so the government shall lose in what's called -- in the room proceeding where they're proceeding against property. So you're you'll see that that the government verses in 1967. Shut the government for its. 123 south main streets. Where they're actually doing the proper. And because property is not a person property is not entitled to constitutional protections. Under the Fourth Amendment the sixth amendment right to counsel right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. And insult. Law enforcement in two. Completely out of lawful -- Egypt. I think taking taking property and converting it to the government's use in in this courtroom that you mentioned. Courtroom for seven. Yeah Jim limit -- to -- I gotta -- break here hold that thought. And we come back aware of you a question. Oh broke pointed out how much money deities the Fed's. Police -- sheriffs or meet king. From the east Tennessee seizures. In my backwards from movie. Do we really wanted to beat or or do we ruling won't win. The war on drugs. Or is the revenue we get from the -- too important. To win the war double. Talk about something called syllable or culture and basically. Have border mergers wrecked me. It applies some appliances in the wrong way it'll while law enforcement will be bloke who would be that would be Euro leads the year. Gordon and Sunnis your personal property your home through cars and boats wanna -- if somebody slightly associated -- Sells drugs anywhere near your property. Doesn't have to be Yahoo!. And they come and -- property. You were considered guilty until proven and it's and you have to go through these upcoming week in -- courts. In order to make an attempt to prove yourself innocent. You're not allowed to have wouldn't turn. And we're just getting more detailed from. A -- direct. Former prosecutor now board member of law enforcement against prohibition. Jim. Do wrote -- take the break if you put lipstick up. Exactly were you -- Pakistan mentioned as a rule where they take people's property its -- and force 78. And I and the courthouse in Philadelphia and if you're ever met him. You know to get help you. The the -- Assets which were forfeited. You ask that just before the break and scientific quick second to look. And in the annual value of assets forfeited. By the US attorney's office in these forfeiture cases. And in 1998. Was 285. Million. And it gives the number for each year increasing. Almost every year or some years like 50% -- In in the most recent year reported was 210. It was 2010. With two point eight. Billion dollars. Forfeited in just one year. So old at that and time period we're talking about twelve point six billion dollars seized by US attorneys in asset forfeiture cases. And it is only the federal system that's state. The state system. So they're still among the scroll. Because government and its inability to pay the bills caused by the war -- drugs that cause problems that come with doubles. That they use -- Down this slippery slow are assets civil forfeiture. To take people's property. And in this particular room for 78. 96%. Of the cases result -- successful. I seizures and forfeiture. Of people's. -- probably the person and tell me have this wrong. As I've found up from three different sources last night. Federal. Encourage even more syllable for future abuse. The -- boldly call equitable share -- Allows law enforcement to circumvent. Even the limited protection of state law office with equitable sharing -- ports from the agency's. Can -- profit from pork futures they wouldn't be able to do under state law. And most of those the of the beds get when -- present the state gets 80%. My question is. Would those kind of numbers in those kind of profit. Making up such a big percentage. Of law enforcement budgets. Sure we've believed. All imports -- -- when they say we're fighting the drug war and hindered in order to win. While that this this war on drugs is a travesty in so many ways number one it doesn't work number two it causes most of the crises that people are concerned about -- gotten gains. The violence inability in the paper for health care bullet holes and uninsured kids says the corruption at the police the corruption of the kids. And ended diminution of constitutional rights in the value of the bill of rights. So his whole war on drugs just travesty and the sooner we ended the better we be better able to control and regulate drugs better able to protect the health and welfare visitors citizens. Would be able to step the crime -- building prisons to the point that in any state has become the president. Capital of the world. What what -- prosecutor were you where were you were prosecutor. And -- how wall. I'm in Chicago on it in the early 1970s. I principally handle analysts say cases. I worked in the haqqani. Time Imus thing you know -- injury and preliminary hearing ports in the trial. Courtroom. And in their early seventies the best heroin in Chicago in the nation was 2% pure. After 43 years of drug we now have 90% pure -- available in most. -- Let me if you'd do. I hadn't debate with -- -- -- here. Did allusion and her Erica and uttered some -- and -- to be. All right. I had been a good debate there -- to turn you a lot of respect for. At a one point I've told them I've started the job losses apartment or little as five years and I could write a book on their world. And -- said to him our our system is broken. Why don't we admit that in at least work on it. And his response is what ever lawyer every -- and every former. Federal prosecutor -- -- talk to. They've also -- Garland is the best system in the world. In my responses didn't. Like tell the media got a little bit of cancer. -- a little bit of cancer. I'd like to try to eliminate. What what is it with our system. That we can obviously see -- broken -- And have no desire to the next. And Caroline the war on drugs it is a disease that just about America but the world. And it's ultimately better in the last three or four years that I realized how important. Three probation drug treaties of the United Nations that are. In 1961. Single convention on narcotic drugs which is the foundational tree. An 86 nations of the world led by the United States. I've updated treaty which outlines the recreational use of all strokes. And requires every country whose purpose of the treaty testicle. And to pass laws providing for the criminal they fertilization. And deprivation of liberty for anyone who violates the terms of these trees. That resulted in the United States congress passing the controls substances act. Which is then then replicated in every. As state jurisdiction. Across the country putting a war on drugs -- prohibition system in place that takes things. -- -- -- -- -- Drugs and makes them the most valuable commodity in the face of the year. So that many people don't realize we can't just ask the congressman -- senator to -- and the drug war. Because we've been on hold ourselves in the east the issue in drug treaties that desperately need to be amended. When I was in Vienna. This past. March with the commissioner and narcotic drugs I ran into the back and assistant secretary of state for the United States in charge of law enforcement. An international drug. And I and I give him a proposed Korea have an amendment to the treaties that are so harmful file and for drug prohibition for the world. And -- says to me how long do you think it is going to take to get in and states senate to agree to an amendment of these prohibition treaties. And I said would you -- ankle not -- that it causes so much trouble he's had a partner in fifty years assistant secretary of state Brownfield. He says I've told you activists that you should try to figure out what you wanna do the drug policy within the terms of the UN convention. Because. You'll never get amended. Well -- with that kind of hopelessness. It's causing Havoc around the world. And in Mexico where 101000 people are being killed each year as United States fund the war on drugs in Mexico as we did Columbia before it. In in in Honduras where we're killing. 91 people per 100009. His death rate. Anywhere in the world where we're in Chicago the death rate is seventeen per 100000 a year. We have created through the United Nations prohibition treaties Ambac around the world. And it will not get better until we have those treaties because they're the foundational. Basis. For the federal and state laws which -- -- on me and kind. And on people and not a war and trucks. Jim -- people like you may be won't get educated enough to. Greet all of -- agree. There's something wrong. And there should be some attempts to -- it. And thank goodness we we've got you -- your organization. Former prosecutors like you to talk to appreciate so I'm very much and I'm sure will talk again. -- pleasure to be with you this. This governor bill brigade says the 130. For the first read it I thought. Everybody -- could not see this society. But -- just said -- former prosecutor from Chicago. Who and -- now member -- the law enforcement against prohibition. Vera player -- our road what -- started reading stop them actually. And to bring to political Acura that there it's. Lawsuit. Against the law and forced. And basically it's bear. Because there were you can -- in something called -- portrait for thousands of people. And basically water motives of somebody uses -- New year or Nadia and you're not you know. But somebody. Connected to your home -- in cause and somebody. Visited. With a common seizure -- trees -- -- seizure real estate property. Commercial rules that whatever it may be. And once they do that. You have to go to courtroom called core import celebrity. And nobody judges and them in the courtroom. It has its schedule. And that's. And they send you there -- over and over and over. In order for you. To prove yourself innocent. Because under civil four picture. You were considered guilty. I'm -- proven and you all so. Cannot -- more no right to a new turn. And some of these people. Have been into the courtroom war by Ian when he -- And the cases that have been actually go through. A staggering 96%. Of the decisions. Favored war and force the district. And our bread as the assembled. All the help you through net stop there's gonna be the rest of the country. -- read an article. About -- Some thing. Or -- and then. And then we've we've talked to -- bureau. Again group former prosecutor says. It's that took countrywide problem. Saying. It couldn't have been you went through severe. And a bit -- ground rule. And I didn't know that. Local police local B. -- have you with the government's seizure personal property. Declare you guilty until proven and sinden you. Because it's it's suitable procedure. When you're not even. Had to -- a chart in fact mean Republican pundit this. Is win win. When the government comes in in in caesar's your proper. Here's how they named the case. We go to the exact loose. Commonwealth of and to bring your verses the real property. And improvements. Knowing that. 4540 poor north call rubber -- So they notes and you. Base in your party. You're innocent. Not come true church with a crime. And the seizure. And declare you guilt on to improvement in his. Thought I'd call Marjorie else from an executive director each field you know Louisiana -- welcome to the show. Thank you our knowledge that deducting. To. -- You know the race in -- -- that this code to doing when New Orleans school. It's different things make it came out. You know did the crack down on drugs and -- and other partners that the totally. Disastrous war on drugs sent from things can happen in 1980. And they -- it everywhere and in fact it actually Anthony applicable ignorant to this potentially work that you just described. Because they can not view it if it. You know if you're not attract. And you have. On. You can be tees that you can -- that you obtained debt to cash in illegal. And that happened recently up until the family believed -- and Texas. They were on the way to buy a used car and they had -- cash to pay for the cost. Need to pick in the car. And it would stop for some kind of traffic violation and something like that. And they were killed but if they could not prove that they had obtained that catch -- illegal way that their children would be taken from them. And you know what twenty. You know they gonna -- particular pregnant architect. Of course you have to do whatever activity -- Because it's you cashier. An and the reason that the -- -- the recent history is no good reason but the rationale behind ten. It is. You know of course I'll have to do with some alleged interest in drug trafficking. But what it but the reason it's so common is because console that is their police department. Today in incentives for officers. To. Pit stop you find you with catcher or accept that they can sell because then they get to keep the month. Hold hold that thought right there and it to recuperate. In Brigham and pinch myself -- our cause I'm almost certain amended -- -- about Russia. -- cannot be a matter. Come right back a bit of the well we're good determined that is true there's something called civil forfeiture. Where the -- the DA. The beds. Can confident. If you've had so bothering. So using drugs forty your words often Bjork opts. You know endured you have no connection with the idea having been -- your total units and they can come in and seizure how should -- -- commercial real Tuesday cat whatever maybe. Since the rule cord -- you can't have an attorney and you or assume to be guilty until proven innocent. Seems impossible right. -- ago Margie adjustment executive director ACLU says is true. We're at a former prosecutor and Chicago. Jim your heart that it yup. All over the country and let me let me give an example of what's going on. Tiny little district in here in Philadelphia. -- actor turns off. They city's. Three -- vehicles. 12100. Homes. Other real estate properties. Forty or million dollars in cash. All the together 64 million dollars in forfeiture proceeds. Which equals. A fifth of the DA's office entire budget. 40% of the -- 25 million pay law enforcement salaries. Including cell roots for the prosecutors. Who abused civil forfeiture. Against them leads that have done nothing wrong. And this article says -- donation Prague -- would make from a problem with Jim -- replied that today. Marjorie and yeah read. How much of the law enforcement agencies or and they. What is suitable for a richer and I've read. The ads. Have something called equitable sharing. Based -- civil -- future. That would be equitable sharing law enforcement agencies in him and do profit. From the pork futures they do. Where the beds by a boarding state law. Do we really have a war. -- of -- drugs. Or do we need the war on drugs. To keep law enforcement go. Well -- Egypt got it exactly right and that's part of the problem with the war on drugs is the -- continues to create monsters. That this had to be said. And one of the ways it defeating it is is precisely this way and when people get threatened with the loss everything they own. And and having it taken away unless they can at least say you know prove yourself innocent is something -- never did. I'll without the assistance from the -- if you can afford to pay for one. We have crossed the line that. Is not. What this country about and that quicker -- by the way it's it's the civil forfeiture not a criminal one because. In the criminal context if you are arrested you get an attack if he can't afford 11 is provided for you put in that context. We don't have that that right because you're not you're not gonna be incarcerated. So if you make this civil proceeding that it completely -- you know the deck against the individuals in favor of the government. All on the New York tone today. In the New York soon. After I stumbled on missile -- slight. A brand a big report about the Supreme Court. Is protecting the wrong doers. In law enforcement with a -- Dead or color. And it's spotlights. New Orleans. And here's the paragraph. This says police officers. And all of the law enforcement person well. Who commit perjury and have salute immunity. And cannot be sued even with the results in the imprisonment of innocent people a prosecutor. Who commit misconduct. As absolute immunity to an immunity. To civil suits. Win. There is not absolute immunity. Police officers. Or also protected by qualify and the mutant. -- -- true that whole other conversation for another day but yes that is true. And edited the problem. Four people in law are wrongfully caught up in the criminal justice system it's very difficult for them to -- recourse but. But again they'd be fortunate -- talking about are not in the criminal content they are in the civil context and they are. For people to be deprived of their property. Com for a -- they have done nothing wrong partly. You know the burden -- didn't prove that they did nothing wrong which is the opposite of -- worked in the criminal context. And you can lose every. Marjorie I was so hoping that she would tell me it was totally wrong. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Perhaps when people here would go. Think I -- that'll make it but -- covered up. -- -- -- Reasons particular listened to and it'll show. Your parents are very good reviews and characters who are here and we together they knew about top right. We arrow which is going to be talking to a those -- The old file. And talking about some potential changes. Challenges brought on by some state legislators. Off to a babble that -- -- fighting today. Price tag the program it's come from 53 million in the -- nine to 200 million -- today. But more than 2121000. Students have received the top group since 1991. And should make him -- that nerves just thinking that that might have a few. Get details Angelou show coming -- that it's.