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All 55 posts   Subject: Asset and Forfeiture   Please login to post   Down

(soccer mom)
09-17-04 15:12
No 531789
User Picture 
      Asset and Forfeiture
(Rated as: good read)

Just in case there is anyone here that still needs convinced that the WOD is about money and greed, read the following advice given to Law Enforcement.mad


The large differences between federal and state seizures are:

1. State seizure must have an arrest and conviction. Not needed on federal seizure

2. Must have fund set up for state seizure

3. Federal seizure have a minimum cash limit and vehicle limit


1. Administrative Seizures - Joint vs Adoptive

2. Judicial Seizures


A. Civil not criminal proof of evidence

 1. Civil - Preponderance (Tip Scales)

 2. Criminal - beyond reasonable doubt

B. Seize and receipt money for investigation

C. Individual does not have to be charged, arrested, or found guilty (much less P/C to keep money than convict person)

D. Can seize money with little probable cause or suspicion to investigate further

E. May be narcotic money, gambling money, or just stolen (large sums of money are just suspicious)

F. Basically who carries large sums of cash legitimately ($65,000 case)


A. ADMINISTRATIVE - Handled internally by DEA (3 to 6 month turn around with no challenges)

B. JUDICIAL - Handled by U. S. District Courts by U. S. Attorney

 1. Much longer turn around

 2. Anyone can file cost bond to force administrative into judicial forfeiture

 3. Over $100,000 must go judicial

 4. Real property must go judicial


1. VEHICLES - Can be seized for:

 a. Transport illegal controlled substances

   i. No threshold amounts of seizure

   ii. 2 grams coke

   iii. 2 Thai sticks

   iv. Roach in ashtray (butt)

 b. Purchased with drug proceeds

 c. Utilized to facilitate drug transaction


 a. Drug proceeds

 b. Utilized to purchase drugs


 1. Money - $1,000.00

 2. Vehicle - $2,500.00

 3. Airplane - $5,000.00

 4. Real Property - $10,000.00




 C. THEY CONTACT DEA (as soon as possible)

   1. Possible cooperation - controlled delivery

   2. Verify probable cause - further instructions

   3. After phone call (it is seizable)

    a. Prevents other liens - attorney, IRS, etc.   IMPORTANT: Because you are then second in lime for sharing behind lien-holder.



 1. Cashier's check to U. S. Marshal (interest accounts)

 2. Investigative supporting reports

 3. File DAG 71 share agreement within 10 days

   a. We have 30 days from when we get money to get DAG 71 & 72 to Washington,DC (or Marshal will take it)


 1. Notify person of seizure

 2. Determine liens (ask them)

 3. Verify liens

   a. Difference must be $2,500.00 between payoff and wholesale value.

 4. High lien - return to lienholder (best) or registered owner


 A. RETURN 90% (we get none) - Law Enforcement Purposes


  1. Return 85%

  2. May lose all

   a. Prosecutor and judge unfamiliarity with new law

   b. Generally person must be charged and guilty (Federal seizure is a completely separate case)

   c. Defense attorney ask and get courts to pay attorney fees

  3. For example:

   a. $200,000.00 seizure

    i. Taken to State - then much later Federal

    ii. Jeopardize (due process)

    iii. We plea bargained forfeiture

    iv. If you just keep for evidence you may have to pay interest if money is just sitting around and lose seizure in the end


  1. They do jeopardy assessment - take money to pay taxes due

  2. You never get anything - they have no share agreement power


 A. DEXTER TRENT (IRS loose ends) - money, car, jewelry, bank account, safe deposit box, property



United States Customs Service laws permit the equitable sharing of property forfeited pursuant to certain federal statutes having forfeiture provisions.

These laws permit the United States Attorney General, or a designee, to share forfeited property with "...any State or local law enforcement agency which participated directly in any of the acts which led to the seizure or forfeiture of the property." (See Tariff Act of 1930, 19 U. S. C. | 1616a as amended October 27, 1986, and The Attorney General's Guidelines on Seized and Forfeited Property dated.

All property, including real property, buildings on real property, and cash can be shared. A state or local agency can request a share of the property forfeited or a share of net proceeds. Net proceeds are the proceeds of the forfeited property after it is sold and all direct costs of the seizure and forfeiture are subtracted.


Join Forces

A state or local law enforcement agency can take advantage of the equitable sharing provisions in two ways. `First, it can join forces with a United States Department of Justice investigative bureau (Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], or Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] in a federal investigation that permits the forfeiture of property, and share in any property forfeited as a result of its direct participation in the seizure or forfeiture.


Second, a state or local law enforcement agency that has seized property, in some instances can request that one of the United States Department of Justice investigative bureaus adopt the seizure and proceed with federal forfeiture. The property must be forfeitable pursuant to one of the federal forfeiture provisions the United States Department of Justice enforces. At the same time the agency can also request an equitable share of that property once it is forfeited.

The FBI and DEA apply three general conditions when considering the acceptance of a seizure for adoption.

First, there must be a valid prosecutorial purpose in requesting the adoption of a seizure for forfeiture. An example of a valid prosecutorial purpose might be that a particular state forfeiture provision requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt and there may not be sufficient facts to meet this standard. However, some federal civil forfeiture provisions require a lower standard of proof, that of preponderance of the evidence and there may be sufficient facts to meet this standard.

Second, the request must be consistent with the available resources of the FBI or DEA to handle the forfeiture action.

Third, the property referred for adoption should not be appraised below these minimum monetary amounts:


* Vehicles $2,500

* Aircraft $5,000

* Vessels $5,000


* Real property $10,000

* All other property $1,000

Since the investigative bureaus may differ in their policies for accepting adoptive seizures, a state or local agency should contact the appropriate investigative bureau for further guidance. If you are requesting the FBI to adopt a seizure, please refer to the instructions, check list, and sample referral letter in the Appendix.


The 11 federal statutes enforced by the FBI that permit sharing of federally forfeited property are identified on pages 5 and 6 of this pamphlet.


Any state or local law enforcement agency that directly participated in a federal seizure or forfeiture may request an equitable share of the forfeited property. The agency should file its requests with the Department of Justice investigative bureau that handled the forfeiture. Before the request is filed, a participating agency should understand the following conditions:

1. The requesting state or local agency must be designated as a law enforcement agency under applicable state law.

2. All transferred or shared property must be used by the participating state or local agency for law enforcement purposes.

3. Transferred property can either be credited directly to the budget of the requesting law enforcement agency or may be "passed through" in whole or in part to an otherwise ineligible entity to be used for a law enforcement purpose. [Example: a qualifying police department may "pass through" a transfer of forfeited assets to a district attorney's office which will put the funds to a law enforcement use.]

4. Prior to the transfer, the requesting agency must pay any mortgages or liens on the property. The agency may also be asked to pay expenses associated with the forfeiture.

5. The Department of Justice has determined that only the investigative activities of law enforcement agencies should be considered in determining sharing percentages.

 (a) Therefore, any litigation effort expended by a federal or non-federal agency should not be considered in allocating sharing percentages. However, if the work was performed by investigative personnel assigned to, or detailed to, the state or local prosecutor's office, then this is an investigative activity and will be considered in determining sharing percentages.

6. An assurance that, if requested to do so, a report will be provided as to the actual use of any transferred property or proceeds. A participating agency should file its request using the Application for Transfer of Federally Forfeited Property )DAG-71), dated July 1987, which is available from local or regional offices of the FBI, DEA, or INS. A copy of this form is included in the Appendix of this pamphlet and may be copied and used to request a sharing of forfeited property. The head of the request state or local law enforcement agency or a designee should complete this form. A requester may use one form to request more than one piece of property or request the proceeds from the sale of more than one piece of property, or any combination of the two, as long as the property was taken in a single seizure. If the investigation results in another seizure at a later date, the requesting agency may submit another application.

The application should be submitted within 30 days following the seizure of the property in a joint investigation or, in the case of an adopted seizure, within 30 days after the property is transferred to the federal investigative bureau. Those requests not received within 30 days will not be assured action, and in no case will sharing requests received later than the date of forfeiture or the date of disposition (whichever is later) be honored. Following the forfeiture, the requester will be notified of the sharing decision. A full accounting of any outstanding obligations will be furnished to the requesting agency before it is necessary to make a commitment to accept the property.

Pay close attention to the instructions for item number 2. "Description of Requested Property", 6.a. "Narrative Description", and 6.B. "Specific Factors."

In item number 2. you should show whether you want the forfeited property Or the proceeds following its sale. Item number 6, b. 3. "Percentage participation in the overall investigation" is a request for the percentage of your department's effort to forfeit the property. To make this percentage determination, you must consider the participation of the federal government and any other state or local agency.

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
(Hive Bee)
09-18-04 07:15
No 531947
      It's sickening to read about this     

It makes me sick to see the DEA strip a person/family of everything they have worked for after a bust.  It just happened to a good friend of mine (a true bee) and it is not justified.  How do they know "drugs" funded anything--what if the kids' bikes were Xmas gifts from the grandparents?   They take what they want and you have to fight the courts to get anything back (not that I've seen that happen yet).  Those "seized property" auctions are popping up all over the just makes me sick to think about it...
(Hive Bee)
09-24-04 00:47
No 532926
      Forfeiture Endangers American Rights is the...     

Forfeiture Endangers American Rights ( is the primary organization devoted to fighting these heinous laws used to financially cripple the innocent and guilty alike.
(Hive Addict)
09-24-04 17:51
No 533006
User Picture 
      Welcome to the Police State....I mean USA     

Welcome to the police state status in the USA , where the basic rights, property, freedom of religion are being held hostage and repealed for the sake of security?  How safe does the average US citizen feels  is safe enough ........I gues till all are chiped, branded and tracked ...of course to keep them safe.....with the all seeing Patriot Act. Read what one legislator voice the feelings of many on the

It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees...Emiliano Zapata
09-27-04 15:44
      You're joking, right?
(Rated as: misinforming)
(Minister of Propaganda)
09-27-04 16:59
No 533402
User Picture 

You guys realize that the only things that can be seized are items that are used in the commission of a crime or purchased with funds that are the result of criminal activity.

You're living in a dream world if you think that. They can and do take anything they want. Most people do not get their shit back.

Milk rots your brain.
(Hive Addict)
09-27-04 17:44
No 533408
User Picture 
      pass that around...     

I want some of what you are smoking...

You guys realize that the only things that can be seized are items that are used in the commission of a crime or purchased with funds that are the result of criminal activity.

  LE can and will take anything that's of value. The law is very vague on this and they have wide latitude. If you think those laws protect innocent people then you are sadly mistaken and a fool. When it comes to forfeiture and seizure, you are guilty until proven innocent.mad

Cui peccare licet peccat minus - One who is allowed to sin, sins less. (Ovid)
09-27-04 18:07
      _I_'m in a dream world?
(Rated as: misinforming)
(Hive Addict)
09-27-04 18:46
No 533419
User Picture 
      you opened yourself up to attack... stating your alliance.

  You really think your word counts for much around here?

  I suppose next you are going to tell us that all your cops are honest.

  Even if you are telling the truth (doubtful at best) You certainly don't represent a substantial portion of prosecuters around the country. The forfeiture and seizure horror stories are well documented. Abuses by LE are rampant and unchecked.

I assure you, we don't seize anything and everything we can. It's just not practical

  And just what is "practical"?

  That's a term of degrees that can have many meanings for many people. I would love to hear the defendant's view on this situation.

Cui peccare licet peccat minus - One who is allowed to sin, sins less. (Ovid)
09-27-04 18:58
No 533422
      I think it's a shame..     

To begin your attempt at dialogue with declaring attacks is to relegate yourself into the unheard and undesirable.

But, in the interest of fostering actual communication, I'll respond to your questions while ignoring your bias.

1. Practical means balancing the number of hours required to accomplish the task against the relative importance of the task required.

How does that translate? simply put, is it worth the time to seize the property given all of the other cases that require attention. We prioritize the procedures by complexity and value then measure those estimations against other needs. Other needs being time spent on the prosecution of criminal actions. We decided not to seize these cars the other day because of the difficulty proving ownership and the amount of time that would be needed in order to prove the case. Essentially, Prosecuting this one fellow for an attempted murder took up the time needed. We only have 30 days to file a forfeiture from the day the property is seized. If those 30 days are taken up by trial or by other related work, then that property, while eligible to be forfeited to the State, is released to the owner.
(Of Counsel)
09-27-04 22:08
No 533446
      My apology     

Artex: My apologies. I just accused you of being a cop in another thread, and had I read this thread first, I would not have made that mistake.

You may run a tight ship in your county, and if you do, I salute you for doing you job with the integrity and respect for the rule of law your job demands. Thank you for doing your job by the book. Frankly, I find that refreshing -- and rare. In my experience, you are in a distinct minority among your peers.

And I say that from years of experience in several counties defending forfeitures.

mostly harmless
(Stoni's sexual toy)
09-27-04 22:20
No 533452
User Picture 
      > I assure you, we don't seize anything and     

>  I assure you, we don't seize anything and everything we can. It's just not practical

Yup, we only seize what's easily sold off or can be used by ourselves.

> We decided not to seize these cars the other day because of the difficulty
> proving ownership and the amount of time that would be needed in order to prove
> the case.

Let me guess, 5 old beaten pickup trucks which would have doubled in value by filling them up with gas weren't really all that high priority, right?
Now if that had been 5 new imported sports cars instead....

> Prosecuting this one fellow for an attempted murder took up the time needed.

What's the justification of forfeiting several cars in a murder case? Did the criminal use them all at once to drive to the location of the crime? And why do you forfeit 'just in case' even when you don't know yet if the suspect will be found guilty?

BUSH/CHENEY 2004! After all, it ain't my country!
(Hive Bee)
09-28-04 02:40
No 533499
User Picture 
      Please explain then.     

Please explain then MR> ARtex...if you go by the book--why are you on this site?? Looking for something to make a break a case?  Are you on a *work* computer or your own *personal* computer.?

Because if you *go by the book* you can't be trying to find the newest way of making---(insert choice here)..or can you???

It's for *research* right?

If you always take time to stop and smell the roses - sooner or later, you'll inhale a bee
(Minister of Propaganda)
09-28-04 06:54
No 533518
User Picture 
      Yes, a dream world     

But for the victims of law enforcement, it's more of a nightmare.

Property is siezed by law enforcement usually on the spot. They do not request special permission from you or anybody else before they take shit. There may be times when they plan out the spoils prior to a major bust, but most of the shit they confiscate just happened to be in the vacinity at the time of an arrest, or in some cases, when no arrest was being made just because the police felt like talking it and made up a bullshit excuse that it "looked suspicious".

After the police separate people from their property, it may slide across your desk for the rubber stamp of approval, but even if you don't approve it, THEY DON'T GIVE IT BACK WITHOUT A FIGHT!

80% of people who have their property seized are never charged with a crime. Virtually none get their property back. The government made the simple process of giving back items they stole from law abiding citizens into an expensive draw-out legal battle which the law abiding citizen is designed to lose assuming they don't run out of money first.

So yes, you are living in a dream world. The dream world might be Cooke county cousin-fuck Texas or whatever you're from, but anyone remotely aquainted with the rest of America knows your take on the matter is 1 part naive and 99 parts bullshit.

I don't care who you are, and I certainly don't care what you are.
09-28-04 14:45
No 533562

No problem Geez. I try very hard to run a tight ship. As some decisions are outside my control, I can only get correct the calls that are within my discretion.

NOTE: I asked for citation in the other thread because I believe you are mistaken. I'm open to the idea that I'm wrong, but I'd like to be proven so, please.
09-28-04 14:50
No 533563

Actually, Os, that's exactly the evaluation I do. If it's not worth 1,000 bucks or more, I'm not going to spend the 300 in court costs to seize the info.

The cars we chose not to seize were part of another case, not part of the attempted murder case. I worked on the criminal trial rather than working on the civil forfeiture. And, FYI, the vehicles were 97 or newer and good models: a Caddilac and a Ford. They would have both made good vehicles for undercover units or slicktops. The justification for the seizure would have been the 200g's of Crack cocaine found under the hood along with a cleverly holstered firearm.

(I hope you don't mind the multi-posts. It makes replies easier.)
09-28-04 14:55
No 533565

I'm here because I think Law Enforcement doesn't engage in enough meaningful dialogue with those who operate outside the law. I've disclosed my employment so that I could discuss my opinions with you without operating as a 'lurker' or some other deceptive idea.

I've read through some of the chemical discussions, and I must say I'm quite impressed with your userbase. Obviously some very brilliant minds are tinkering around these boards. The more I understand the mechanics of manufacturing and the dynamics of information sharing, the more informed I can be as a prosecutor.

And yes. I'm using the computer at my desk while I'm at work to post here. I do alot of online reading while preparing for trials. (Please don't search for my IP or attempt to invade my computer system. You won't hurt me individually, and you will only draw attention to yourselves.)
09-28-04 15:02
      UnOb: Statistics
(Rated as: misinforming)
(soccer mom)
09-28-04 15:08
No 533568
User Picture 
      I have a few questions...     

Actually, I'm a prosecutor for Cooke County in Texas. One of my primary responsibilities is managing the forfeiture cases. We determine which properties are those worth seizing and it gets filed with _my_ signature on it.

I assure you, we don't seize anything and everything we can. It's just not practical.

Any of you that have a legitimate question regarding the way we determine the property to be seized, I'd be happy to answer it.




 C. THEY CONTACT DEA (as soon as possible)

   1. Possible cooperation - controlled delivery

   2. Verify probable cause - further instructions

   3. After phone call (it is seizable)

    a. Prevents other liens - attorney, IRS, etc.   IMPORTANT: Because you are then second in lime for sharing behind lien-holder.



 1. Cashier's check to U. S. Marshal (interest accounts)

 2. Investigative supporting reports

 3. File DAG 71 share agreement within 10 days

   a. We have 30 days from when we get money to get DAG 71 & 72 to Washington,DC (or Marshal will take it)


 1. Notify person of seizure

 2. Determine liens (ask them)

 3. Verify liens

   a. Difference must be $2,500.00 between payoff and wholesale value.

 4. High lien - return to lienholder (best) or registered owner


Are you saying that this information is wrong?  It looks to me like the deciding factor is whether it is valuable enough for LE to keep.  Is that not correct?  I may not be from Texas but I have personally experienced this and I know it happens!   I, also, know that it is up to the prosecutor to make these decisions, as well. 

Mr. prosecutor, I don't understand why you are on this board to begin with.  However, since you are here, please explain how it is you sleep at night knowing that you have sent innocent people to jail?  People that have hurt NO ONE?  People that are only trying to live their lives and mind their own business?  How do you justify it all?  Are you so wrapped up in your job that you need to come to the hive and start preaching to all of us?  You were so bold as to inform us of your profession yet seem so surprised at our reaction.  Why?  I'm sure that I speak for the majority of members here when I tell you that I don't trust you nor your motives for being here.  Please, leave us the fuck alone!

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
09-28-04 16:29
No 533579
      Forfeiture decisions     

I can only tell you how I do it, and what appears to be the standard in this region.

Yes, the value of the property is taken in to account. If the property is of the nature that law enforcement can use it, then we tend to seize it. If it is of the nature of contraband or firearms, we tend to seize it. (Often the firearms are destroyed.)

Rarely are federal agents involved in the seizures. Mostly our local agreements involved the district attorney's office and the law enforcement agency arresting the offender.

I can't speak to the Feds because the very few times we've been involved in a seizure with federal officers, the US attorney's office agreed to release the funds back to the defendant as part of their plea bargain process.

As far as why am I here? I explained that above. I'm working on my own understanding and knowledge in this area. I'm educating myself. What I've learned from you is: some persons can be irrationally aggressive when offered the opportunity for conversation and understanding.

Whether or not you believe my motives is completely irrelevant to my intentions here. If I'm unwelcome, I'm sure the moderators will see fit to delete my account and banish me.
(Of Counsel)
09-28-04 16:53
No 533586
      Doesn't bother me     

Your presence doesn't bother me. I suspect most of the bees here think of DA's the way they think of cops, and most have had poor experiences with cops. I realize that you can come here and contribute, and learn, and that your interest is as much academic as otherwise. And as far as I know, you might even like to do a few controlled substances from time to time, although I would expect you to heartily deny that whether you did or not, and have no need to know the truth of the matter.

I do know the difference between being the state's lawyer and being a law enforcement officer, and know the different view of the subject of enforcement you have as compared to the cops.

mostly harmless
(soccer mom)
09-28-04 17:43
No 533592
User Picture 
      "Hypocrite" would be putting it mildly.     

Geez, I don't see it the way you do.  If, in fact, he is here because he likes to do some of the things mentioned on this board such as drug use, IMO, he the lowest scum of them all!  You, of all people, should know that.  He prosecutes the very thing we are trying to do here.  The right to do drugs in the privacy of our own homes, for starters.  He's as much the enemy, if not more, than the cops are. 

Therefore, Artex, I'll ask the question again.....How can you sleep at night doing what you do?

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
(Hive Addict)
09-28-04 17:56
No 533595
      I', with Geez     

Me neither. Jade is out of line, this is no secret society, this is the internet. This site is open to the public, and you are not the only LEA to visit here.

This is a site that discusses the chemistry of mind altering substances, of which some require legal permits to posses in some countries.

09-28-04 18:29
No 533598
      Sorry, Jade     

My personal motivations and sleeping habits are not really an appropriate topic here. I'm sorry you were in a situation that leads you to believe that you were wronged. I didn't do it. I will not accept any responsibility for it.

I thought about making a sleep apnea joke here, but I think you wouldn't find it amusing in the way I would mean it.

To answer your question directly: I sleep soundly at night knowing that I do everything I can possibly do to succeed at my occupation while being as fair and appropriate in every case assigned to me. I have never prosecuted a person that didn't afterwards feel I was compassionate yet firm. Even the last defendant who got 20 years for selling crack cocaine shook my hand after trial. (Sylvester Mack) I wished him luck. I meant it. If you can't accept that is who I am, I can point you to articles in the local paper describing the circumstances to the best of the reporter's ability.

I don't have anything to hide because I believe that as a public servant, my employment should be under scrutiny.

Search for articles on ''. The last two trial dates were September 20th-23rd of this year (Alton Thomas' Trial) and April 8th. (Sylvester Mack's Trial)

The articles refer to me as 'Mr. Ray'.

Now that's me. Please stop your personal attacks. I've hidden nothing from you. I'm just interested in your points of view. Naturally we'll disagree. I pledge to do my best to respect your opinions as I disagree.

I'm not here to preach to you as you cleverly aluded to. I'm not here to teach you anything. I'm here to learn. If the Moderators cannot tolerate my presence, I'll live with their decision. It's their website, ya know. If they want to change my title from 'Stranger' to 'The Enemy'. Well, that would be kind of entertaining, so I'd live with that too.
(Hive Addict)
09-28-04 19:49
No 533614
      your title should be a link to this thread,...     

your title should be a link to this thread, dumbass.

So what's your stance? Should all/some currently illegal substances be illegal or not where you live? Should selling be illegal, what about usage? Can you explain to me why in Texas if I smoked cannabis alone (and trust me I have already decided to never visit texas in my life), and it didn't effect anybody else, I'd get prison time if caught?

09-28-04 20:26
No 533619
      Ease up there, man.     

I'm not calling you names or judging you. Please refrain from calling me a 'dumbass' or anything else you can think of with your peccant woolgathering.

I'd like to see more of a breakdown in the scale of punishment. Currently under 2 oz is a class B misdemeanor, 2-4 oz is a class A misdemeanor. 4 oz - 5 lbs is a State Jail Felony, 5-50 lbs is a 3rd degree. Over 50lbs is a 2nd degree. I'd like to see a class C misdemeanor for amounts less than 1/2 oz. I think that 2 oz is alot of pot for one person. More than 1/2 an ounce appears to be more than personal consumption, and is often packaged for delivery. I think there should be a brighter distinction between packaged for delivery and personal consumption. A class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine only. (up to $500.00)

In Texas, possession of marihuana (marajuana) under 2 oz is a class B misdemeanor. The punishment range is from $0-$2000.00 and from 0-6 months in jail. Punishment is meeted out depending on the quantity and circumstances. Most people get somewhere between a 100 or a 500 dollar fine and around 6 months to a year probation. If you want to serve time and don't want probation, you'll get somewhere around 15 days to 60 days in jail.

The sentence is negotiated on a case by case basis depending both on the conduct of the defendant and the nature of the offense.

Calling the prosecutor a dumbass can affect how much time you get.
(soccer mom)
09-28-04 20:29
No 533622
User Picture 
      You should be proud of that!     

Mack sentenced to 20 years after drug trial guilty verdict

By JENNIFER SICKING, Register Staff Writer
A Cooke County jury found a Gainesville man guilty of cocaine possession and sentenced him to 20 years in prison on Wednesday.

The jury handed down the maximum sentence to Sylvester Lee Mack, 44, for the second-degree felony conviction. Judge Jerry Woodlock then stacked the sentence onto the 17 years left in a sentence for which Mack was out on parole.

Ed Zielinski, attorney for Mack, said he planned to appeal the jury's verdict.

Zielinski said he thought Josh Edington's testimony against Mack was instrumental in the case. Edington also was charged with possession of cocaine and pled guilty last week. As part of his plea bargain, Edington agreed to testify against Mack.

"You can only convict if the co-defendant's testimony is corroborated," Zielinski said. "I think that's a mistake on the part of the jury. That's what appeals are for."

District Attorney Janelle Haverkamp praised the prosecution efforts by Philip D. Ray and Chris Fostel in the case and the jury for its decisions.

"Once again Cooke County jurors have shown how seriously they take drug cases," she said. "I think this case is an example of the district attorney's office aggressively prosecuting drug cases."

Zielinski expressed disappointment at Mack's 20-year sentence as well as the guilty verdict.

Haverkamp said she was pleased by the sentence and by Woodlock stacking the sentences. Mack must finish serving the 17 years before beginning to serve the 20-year sentence.

"The unique thing is the judge stacked it," she said. "I commend Judge Woodlock for stacking the sentences; that's the exception rather than the rule. I think he was trying to send a message to the drug offenders."

Early in the morning on Nov. 28, 2002, then-Gainesville officer James Landry (now the Valley View police chief), followed a pickup truck driven by Edington through a residential section of Gainesville. Edington testified he made several turns in an effort to get away from the officer before pulling over to a curb.

When Landry pulled behind the pickup truck and turned on his spotlights he found Edington and Mack trying to hide in the truck. After questioning both Edington and Mack, Landry found a small rock of cocaine in the truck's ashtray.

Edington testified he picked up Mack, from whom he said he had bought cocaine 3 times that night, at the Wagon Inn after Mack said he could take him to get more of the drug. Edington said they were on their way back when stopped by the police.

In his closing argument on Wednesday, Ray pointed out the sentence in the jury's charge that states "A person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if the person intentionally or knowingly possesses a controlled substance."

"The definitions of the words in that sentence are important, in this case critical," Ray said.

He told the jury the distance from Mack to the drugs was from his hand to his elbow.

"It was right there, he knew it was there," Ray said.

Ray also told the jury there was no other reason for the duo to be on Howeth Street.

"There isn't a single thing we found that doesn't fit what Mr. Edington told us," he said.

In Zielinski's closing argument, he told the jury that corroborated means additional evidence to Edington's testimony.

"I submit to you there is no other evidence," he said.

Zielinski told the jury he was frustrated when cross examining Edington during his testimony on Tuesday, telling them paragraph 7 in their charge exists so they are not persuaded by someone who is motivated to testify by a plea bargain. He called Edington's testimony unreliable and unbelievable.

"If you believe Mr. Edington beyond a reasonable doubt, then convict Mr. Mack," Zielinski said.

Zielinski said Mack was walking that night when Edington offered him a ride and said Mack, who was looking for a job, spoke to Edington about work.

Mack did not testify in his own defense during the trial portion of the case.

After deliberating about an hour and half, the jury of 7 women and 5 men returned the verdict of guilty.

In the afternoon, the jury took up the punishment phase of the trial.

During the punishment phase the jury learned Mack had 1 previous conviction for robbery in 1989 and 2 for possession of cocaine in 1992 and 1998.

Mack testified in the punishment portion. "I still feel like I was not guilty," Mack said, "but I respect their decision."

In his testimony, Mack told the jury about his prior convictions, including in 1998. In 1995 he received deferred adjudication from a judge in Dallas, however a positive urinalysis for cocaine sent him to jail in 1998.

He served 4 years and had been released on parole 4 weeks prior to his arrest in 2002. He said he was looking for a job and was working at the Wagon Inn helping a woman with cleaning the rooms.

While he said he sought help for the cocaine addiction, he acknowledged, "It's an everyday struggle." He told the jury he regretted his actions that morning and he had taken substance abuse and anger/stress management courses offered in jail.

"My fault is being associated where I was at the time," he said. "I can't change the past. I tried to move forward."

As part of that Mack said he has received his General Equivalency Diploma and taken vocational training classes.

"I know I can be a productive member of the community," he said in asking for leniency in the sentencing.

In his summation to the jury, Zielinski acknowledged it was a difficult way to come to the jury.

"He contests the verdict as do I," he said. Later he added, "I'll not argue with the decision. I'll disagree with it, but I will not argue."

Zielinski told the jury Mack made a terrible mistake, but asked the jury to have mercy and to give him the minimum sentence of 2 years.

In Ray's summation, he asked the jury, "What is merciful to this community? What is fair to this community?"

He laid down the prior convictions in front of the jury stating "strike 1, strike 2, strike 3." He then walked to a dry erase board where he had written "2-20 years" and underlined the 20 years 3 times.

After deliberating about 30 minutes, the jury returned the 20 year verdict with a maximum $10,000 fine.

Congratulations!  I see you are a fine prosecutor. I'm sure the residents of cooke county can all rest easier now that he is behind bars for such a violent crime.   May I ask how much time the narc got?

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
(Hive Addict)
09-28-04 20:29
No 533623
      You answered none of the cuestion, punk.     

"Calling the prosecutor a dumbass can affect how much time you get"

Not over here. Besides you answered none of the questions, punk.

09-28-04 20:36
No 533625
      Sorry, I edited above to answer your questions.     

The 'narc' was actually already charged with 2 other possession offenses. (I'd refer to him as an addict. He got hooked on crack while working on an oil rig. The time in the sun and the long hours often result in people turning to 'uppers'.) We pled his crimes concurrent and gave him 3 years probation. In Texas, a person gets MANDATORY probation for their first drug offense. The addict  was entitled to probation because he hadn't been convicted of any offense yet. The maximum he could have gotten was 5 years probation. We agreed to 3 years before he told us anything about the offense. We wanted the truth, whatever that was, and we weren't going to negotiate with him AFTER we'd heard his story because we didn't want to encourage him to lie.

Mr. Mack was on parole when he was arrested for the above charge. He'd been previously convicted of delivery of cocaine (more than four grams) and robbery. (Along with a whole slew of assaultive misdemeanors) Because of his prior offenses, he was eligible for a 2-20 year sentence instead of a 6 month to 2 year sentence. (less than 1 gram of cocaine) Keep in mind that the defendant was on parole for the offense of delivery and had been out all of 4 weeks when he was convicted. We could have charged him with tampering/destruction of evidence. He ATE two rocks of crack to keep us from finding them. (That could have killed him.) He

Interestingly enough, Mr. Mack's partner in crime, Alton Thomas (AKA Worm, so named after 'Big Worm' from the movie Friday) was convicted last week of aggravated assault (attempted murder). His trial is described in the other articles.

We believe the shooting was over who got to sell to Mack's clients.
(soccer mom)
10-13-04 01:51
No 535598
User Picture 
      This is a few years old but....     

Search Me

You'd think that, as short as it is, the Fourth Amendment would be pretty self-explanatory. It's just one run-on sentence:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

How much wiggle room does that leave?

More than you'd expect. Once lawyers and judges got around to debating the meaning of "unreasonable" and "probable cause," loopholes started appearing in an abundance more appropriate to a book-length document than a few words of revolutionary legalese. Then people started inventing new ways of searching -- though seizing is still pretty straightforward.

Let's just look at the basics as the law applies to searches of your house.

If the police think you're up to no good -- by their standards, anyway -- and want to go fumbling among the dustbunnies under your bed for evidence, they're supposed to get a warrant. The idea is that a judge will have less of a personal interest in the case than a police officer who has decided that busting you will win him the Cop of the Month Award (and what did you do to get that fellow so worked up anyway?).

Well that's simple enough. But to convince the judge to issue a warrant, the police have to meet the standard of "probable cause." That's where things get a bit slippery. As FindLaw puts the matter in its analysis of the Fourth Amendment, "the definition [of probable cause] is entirely a judicial construct." The Supreme Court jumped in to say that probable cause is to be determined according to "the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act."

There, that helps, doesn't it?

Obviously, even the fundamental standards by which the police get to paw through your sock drawer and browse the workshop leave an awful lot of room for interpretation. And that's without adding complications.

Complications? What complications?

Well, an interesting one came up not too long ago when police in Sullivan, Illinois, kept Charles McArthur standing on his own porch for two hours, refusing him permission to re-enter his own home unaccompanied by a police officer. During that time, a fellow officer was off persuading a judge to issue a search warrant for the man's home based on Mrs. McArthur's allegation that her husband kept marijuana stashed beneath the couch.

Warrant secured, the cops found the fabled McArthur stash -- all 2.5 grams.

Sound fishy to you? Perhaps "unreasonable" as the Fourth Amendment puts it? Well, you're out of luck. In Illinois v. McArthur, eight Supreme Court justices ruled that making Mr. McArthur cool his heels with uninvited company while police hunted-up a friendly judge was just dandy.

So the police might not be able to get into your home until they get a warrant -- but neither can you.

Well, mostly. There are times when the police can come after you in your home without getting hold of a warrant at all.

Back in 1974, Philadelphia narcotics officers went after one "Mom" Santana for peddling heroin. When they pulled up outside her house, she was standing outside the door. She spotted the cops and stepped back into her home. The police followed, confronting her in her vestibule and spilling incriminating packets of heroin on the floor.

In United States v. Santana, the Supreme Court took issue with lower court rulings that police need to get a warrant before they charge into a private home to grab evidence and make arrests. Said the justices: "[T]he first question we must decide is whether, when the police first sought to arrest Santana, she was in a public place."

Basically, the court said, because the cops decided to collar "Mom" Santana when they saw her outside, following her into her home was a "hot pursuit" and no warrant was needed.

So remember, if you want to enjoy the full protection of the Fourth Amendment, don't ever leave your home.

All right, that gives us a taste of what's involved in physically entering your home. But tossing your domicile by hand is so crude, so gauche, so old-fashioned. These days, technology lets police do much of their searching of your home from the comfort of their patrol cars. As you might guess, this raises new headaches.

The big development in the realm of immaculate poking and probing came in the case of U.S.A v. Kyllo. In 1992, federal and Oregon law-enforcement authorities in one of those complicated multi-agency anti-drug task forces suspected that one Danny Lee Kyllo was cultivating marijuana in his home.

To get to the bottom of the matter, the cops staked out Kyllo's home. According to the text of the appeals court decision in the case:

At 3:20 in the morning in mid-January from the passenger seat of a car parked on the street, Sergeant Daniel Haas of the Oregon National Guard examined the triplex of homes where Kyllo resided with an Agema Thermovision 210 thermal imaging device.

That Agema widget is a device that essentially "sees" heat, and so isn't terribly inconvenienced by closed windows, drawn curtains -- or walls. From the outside of a home, thermal imaging devices can identify people moving around, dryers losing socks and roomfuls of good dope flourishing under grow lights.

Based on the surveillance, police got a warrant and busted Kyllo along with his crop. In court, Kyllo's attorneys suggested that if police are going to use technology that effectively renders walls invisible, they need warrants just as if they want to physically bypass those walls. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and found "no violation of the Fourth Amendment on these facts."

The matter is currently in the hands of the Supreme Court, which has inherited the fascinating job of applying constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure to an age of Superman-style x-ray vision.

As new a problem as voyeuristic technology may pose for the venerable Fourth Amendment, the solution may lie in old legal standards. Judge Noonan, who dissented in the Court of Appeals decision in the Kyllo case, wrote:

I have no doubt that Kyllo did have an expectation of privacy as to what was going on in the interior of his house and that this expectation was infringed by the government's use of the Agema 210 although the machine itself never penetrated into the interior.

That raises a common logical thread that runs through the rather tangled and tortured jungle of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. As slippery as search and seizure protections can be, what generally ties it all together is the question of whether or not people have an "expectation of privacy." That expectation is the hurdle that police must overcome with a showing of "probable cause" before they go poking and prodding.

The cops keeping Charles McArthur company may have thought they had him dead to rights, but they still had to convince a judge that Mrs. McArthur's say-so was a good enough reason to let them look under the couch, because he had privacy rights in his home. On the other hand, the Supreme Court decided that "Mom" Santana couldn't expect to guard her privacy while she was standing outside, which is why cops could search her for heroin -- even if they had to carry a magic bubble of no-expectation-of-privacy into the vestibule of her home.

Technology doesn't weaken the principle a bit. Danny Lee Kyllo lived within walls for the same reason as the rest of us -- to shield his life from prying eyes. He had no reason to know that neat-o cop gadgets had rendered his walls useless -- his expectation of privacy remained, even if police pulled a high-tech end-run.

As convoluted as search and seizure protections -- and loopholes therein -- have become, there are still good ideas at the core. The Fourth Amendment might not be as simple in application as it looks at first glance, but it still has a pulse, if one just a bit weaker than we might like.

But I'd really be careful about loitering outside if the police drop by for a visit.

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
(Of Counsel)
10-13-04 15:27
No 535666
      Supreme Court decision in Kyllo     

The Supreme Court ruled the thermal imgaging of the home was in fact a search which would require a warrant:

      "[I]n the case of the search of the interior of homes--the prototypical and hence most commonly litigated area of protected privacy--there is a ready criterion, with roots deep in the common law, of the minimal expectation of privacy that exists, and that is acknowledged to be reasonable. To withdraw protection of this minimum expectation would be to permit police technology to erode the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. We think that obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical "intrusion into a constitutionally protected area...constitutes a search--at least where (as here) the technology in question is not in general public use. This assures preservation of that degree of privacy against government that existed when the Fourth Amendment was adopted. On the basis of this criterion, the information obtained by the thermal imager in this case was the product of a search....
     We have said that the Fourth Amendment draws "a firm line at the entrance to the house" ... That line, we think, must be not only firm but also bright--which requires clear specification of those methods of surveillance that require a warrant. While it is certainly possible to conclude from the videotape of the thermal imaging that occurred in this case that no "significant" compromise of the homeowner's privacy has occurred, we must take the long view, from the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment forward. The Fourth Amendment is to be construed in the light of what was deemed an unreasonable search and seizure when it was adopted, and in a manner which will conserve public interests as well as the interests and rights of individual citizens... Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a "search" and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant." [citations omitted, emphasis added)

Kyllo v. US, 533 U.S. 27, 121 S.Ct. 2038, 150 L.Ed.2d 94 (2001).

mostly harmless
(Bone Smuggler)
10-20-04 19:05
No 536841
      Important distinction from that case..     

The thermal imaging device can detect information that has nothing to do with contraband. The imager is an invasion because it allows the user to witness activity that might not be criminal. The court was clear that any device which enhances the ability to survey that makes no distinction between legal activity and illegal activity requires a search warrant to use.

See, with the thermal imaging devices, the officers can watch you walking around the house, use the restroom, and such. The Courts don't want law enforcement to use that sort of invasive investigation without permission.
(Of Counsel)
10-20-04 19:41
No 536851
      I disagree, Artex     

The ruling is highlighted in the passage I quoted from the decsion of the Supreme Court in the Kyllo case itself. It isn't any plainer than that. 

Being able to detect "contraband only" is not part of the equation. The equation is whether the "...Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of the home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion.."  If so, "...the surveillance is a "search" and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant."

It has nothing to do with whether the technology sees only contraband or not. It has to do with the availability of the technology... which affects the reasonableness of the expectation of privacy by the individual... and whether it allows the government to explore the details of the home (including the detail about the presence of contraband)in a way that was not have previously possible without entry into the home.

mostly harmless
(Minister of Propaganda)
10-20-04 20:05
No 536857
User Picture 
      Then from this point on, the expectation of...     

Then from this point on, the expectation of privacy in one's home no longer exists. Police have just been given the greenlight to use thermal imaging whenever they want.

Milk rots your brain.
(Of Counsel)
10-20-04 21:27
No 536870

When the theromography equipment becomes widespread enough in public use that the average person does not expect to secure or private inside his home, the use of the device by the police will not be considered "unreasonable." That time has not yet come. The Kyllo decision still announces the law, and that is that the use of that equipment to see whether there are grow lights in a house amounts to a search, for which a warrant is still required.

mostly harmless
(Comandante A)
10-21-04 04:36
No 536932
User Picture 
      Look, no-ones home
(Of Counsel)
10-21-04 13:58
No 536962
      I wonder     

I wonder if that product is good enough to stymie thermography. I know of a pot grower who built a water reservoir above his underground grow room; it is a hot water storage system for his building; he claims this prevents aerial thermography from spotting the heat of his lamps in the grow rooms. Anyone have an idea whether he is correct?

mostly harmless
(Hive Addict)
10-21-04 20:06
No 536997
      thermal imaging     

Thermal imaging is just like ordinary video, except that the ccd array used is one sensitive to light wavelengths between 2-8 microns ( a red led laser is .640 microns). Water will absorb IR wavelengths in the bands emitted by the point sources.  The water storage will act as a thermal barrier that will turn point sources of heat into a large blob area of lower temperature.  It will still show up somewhat on thermal imaging, depending upon the temp of the water and the material surrounding it. Typically a .1 degree celsius difference can be seen.   It will not appear to be a "normal" grow op to those looking..

Infinite Radiant Light - THKRA
(Stoni's sexual toy)
10-21-04 23:08
No 537036
User Picture 
      IR radiation is heat.     

IR radiation is heat. Every body will emit a certain amount and a certain spectrum of IR radiation due to its temperature. All the cops can see with their thermal imaging device is the outside temperature of a building. They cannot look through the wall and see what you are doing. If part of a building seems to be much warmer than other parts of the same building then that means the room behind that wall is much warmer than the others. Which could be caused by several thousand watts of grow lights.
The answer is efficient outside insulation and means to remove that excess heat. Abolt's example would work, as would many other, more common regular building insulation materials, IF USED CORRECTLY.

Directly from the manufacturer:

BUSH/CHENEY 2004! After all, it ain't my country!
(Of Counsel)
10-22-04 02:09
No 537062
      newer thermography machines     

Newer thermography machines, like the ones that were employed in the Kyllo case, are in fact a good deal more sensitive than you imagine, OS. They can not only allow the user to see persons in the rooms of the house, they allow the viewer a very good general idea of what those people are doing, show their movements, postions, etc. A good part of the decision of the Supreme Court in the Kyllo case turned on how invasive the particular thermal imaging machine actually is.

You added one other factor to the heat signature shielding, which is heat exhaust. The person I referred to had a ducted heat exhaust and combined it with the exhaust from his generator.

mostly harmless
(Chief Bee)
10-22-04 04:50
No 537078
User Picture 
      copper framed, pyramid structure, lead lined krypt     

They are apparently so busy mocking people that they forgot to use rudimentary spelling/grammar... crazy

This equipment is available to the general public but is priced beyond the reach of your avaerage "Pot Head" making it difficult for them to verify weather or not they are exhibiting excessive heat. The general public gets very confused about the technology. They are busy constructing all kinds of copper framed, pyramid structure, lead lined kryptonite enclosures thinking that they can defeat the IR technology.

The Hive - Clandestine Chemists Without Borders
(Comandante A)
10-22-04 05:16
No 537083
User Picture 
      It works     

Growrooms have been insulated with old second hand "cool room" insulation, with excellent results.

Don't forget to insulate the ceilings, and windows, as thermal imaging is utilised from choppers, also.

For exhausting, simply merge insulated ducting using couplers and have only one or two exhaust points: Chimney, range hood etc.(So this appears as standard housing exhaust).

A smart operator would not utlise any rooms facing the street, in order to avoid detection from drive by scanning.wink
(Hive Bee)
10-22-04 11:46
No 537123
User Picture 

Any suggestions for growroom smell?

I'm imagining the insulated room would be 'air tight' - but fitted with a 'cool fresh air in ---> hot stinky air out' exhaust system; with an inline activated carbon filter of some sort...
(Comandante A)
10-25-04 01:57
No 537581
User Picture 

An "inline" Activated carbon filter will work or even better would be an inline ozone generator.

Utilise one of these and you won't smell diddly squat outside the room.wink

"Ozone generators are the most effective odor control devices available. Odor is caused by airborne pathogens which float freely and come in contact with our nasal passages. When generated ozone, or 0³ comes in contact with these pathogens one of the oxygen atoms detaches from the ozone molecule, attaching itself to the odor-causing pollutant.

This process, in essence, deactivates the odor causing particles in the air, leaving clean, fresh smelling air. Growers report that a good ozone generator will completely eliminate airborne odors from the most pungent crops, but will not affect the dried bouquet of the flowers."
10-26-04 04:16
No 537846
      OK! A fitting subject for 1st post     

Well bees, I've meant to post for so long now, but what all to say....
...well that plus the opportunity to stick a hard drive into a 'puter, get it properly protected and have access long enuff to post when homeless broke and wanted...

u c-
SWIM started the year pretty normally...last year's harvest running out, back to some old and perkier habits, but that's been off n on for most of adult life anyway. Then there came Hootie. Hootie had been a rumor called "wild man of the woods" since SWIM had lived in this secluded forest, where most people did what they pleased when they pleased. What SWIM did not know was that Hootie lived by camping through summer, then offering someone a great and bountiful knowledge in exchange for winter residence. In recent times though, this not-so-ancient activity had grown from a rarity to something like every other household in certain places, this forest being one.
 So cut to the that one is ironic...After one crazy summer amongst his rather rapid neighbors...finally with something to talk about with them, SWIM needed more order and sanity in his life and set about cleaning up his act a bit...a properly constructed facility, carefully hidden, and the once-a-week was to double output until it was a once-a-month. Plus he had tapered down his 10g-a-week habit to a single digit as the kids were a little concerned, and he loved those kids and didn't want to worry them. Well...good intentions. First doubled batch yeilded single qty of honey. SWIM studied for answers and found them on a certain site dear to bees...thx RH. 2nd dbl...well it was carefully prepared and hovered over all weekend yeilded...well SWIM wants to tell ya, this was the certified living shit-that-killed-elvis, the best he'd ever seen, smelled, touched, done or looked at...qty: 0.5g. 'WTF is my honey??' he screamed, and searched frantically and chemically day and night for 4 days, skipping the parts about hiding shit, cleaning shit, giving a shit...

...on the 4th night he pulled back from the dead and ever-growing liquids 10.5g. Quality was excellent and SWIM was exhausted. Day 5 he carried a 'g' a piece to 2 supporters and 0.5 for personal use to work. Returning that evening after picking up his youngest from the bus stop he glanced at his driveway as he approached...and kept right on going. DTF field day was in session. Well he got his boy to his mother and set about a more stealthy lifestyle, but at first remained near to his home and in touch with his neighbors, and watched as the police first stood on his porch and took turns firing his collection of guns..then each took a piece and left in their personal vehicles. But they came back for more, and kept this up for a week, also leaving the house unlocked when they weren't there so others could share in the bounty. The chemicals and what-not were left in place and the house was never locked, presumably so the neighborhood kids could play there if they liked. SWIM knows because most of these kids were his friends and they called  him 'Dad', and they cared enough to have gone into his house, against his wishes and fears, to get some things...the reminders of his departed father...his most personal belongings, etc. After 2 weeks, SWIM tearfully hugged 'his' kids goodbye and left the neighborhood forever, and is now bouncing place-to-place living off the thing that was once his hobby.

will watch for responses.. none are needed though.. none are requested. Correspondence will be spotty, SWIM didn't bring his laptop home from work that day and now has only his hard drive from his home computer, which he sometimes gets to stick into a machine and see what the world is doing, the ones who still think they are free.

                    (  L 0 5 4  )
(Hive Bee)
10-26-04 14:25
No 537921
User Picture 
      Sorry to hear...     

Sorry to hear about that man.  That is some horrible shit to have to deal with.

Little_fat_boy is bad for your health
10-29-04 09:08
No 538494
      seizure of my computer     

I have never been involved in any type of crime whatsoever. However, in mid-June, my daughter's boyfriend was arrested in New York State for alleged major drug manufacturing. My daughter having no knowledge of this whatsoever, who resided with him for 9 months, had in their residence my very expensive laptop computer. I have called the DEA all the way to the top and still haven't had it returned. Meantime, the alleged person arrested has received his car,etc...back. They say it has to be reviewed to make sure nothing criminal took place on my what??? I am furious. It seems like the DEA can do anything they want..Don't they have to return my computer in a reasonable amount of time? It has been 5 months and in October, no one had even looked at it. It is sitting in a room at the DEA office in Buffalo,NY. Any suggestions for getting my computer back would be appreciated. I am not even in NY...I have lived in a southern state for 8 years and have done NOTHING WRONG!!! I was also told that they were trying to help me get the computer back..I assumed by that statement that they did not have to help get it back at all.

(Balanced Ego)
10-29-04 09:13
No 538496
      stop complaining!     

be proud that you live in the land of the FREE! in other countries you
wouldn't be able to voice your opinion like that!!

(Minister of Propaganda)
10-29-04 09:16
No 538497
User Picture 
      consider yourself fucked     

If you get it back, you should play the lottery that night because you're on a roll.

The odds of you ever seeing your laptop again are pretty slim. Going to court over it won't get it back for you. You're best option is to call your congressman every day and have them put pressure on the DEA for an answer. The courts will be zero help you you in this situation. Your congressman probably won't help much either. But at least you have someone to bitch at on the phone everyday, and he will at least get a definative answer that they have no intention of returning it, so you can move on with your life.

Milk rots your brain.
(Of Counsel)
10-29-04 14:37
No 538541
      Ask your lawyer     

Ask your lawyer. It is one thing if the machine is being held as evidence. It is another if they intend to forfeit it. You do not say which situation your computer is in. And you do not mention the status of the daughter's boyfriend's criminal case. Have indictments been issued in the matter?

As far as the DEA helping you get the computer back... they will look at the information on the hard drive as time allows. You may have a legal right to the return of the property when it is no longer subject to be needed for evidence purposes.

mostly harmless
(soccer mom)
10-29-04 15:02
No 538549
User Picture 
      fight back (if innocent)     

Make sure your daughter is completely innocent in this and isn't hiding anything from you.  Then and only then, fight back if possible.  The following is several years old but should give you an outline of ideas and procedures.  Good luck.


Asset forfeiture is simple: If a police officer believes (or simply claims) you're a drug dealer, he will take nearly anything you own. Even after determining they can prove nothing against you in a court of law, authorities have a nasty habit of keeping what they have confiscated when you follow the regular procedure for getting back your property. No crime is required. By current wisdom, no evidence (drugs) need be found, no arrest is necessary to allow permanent confiscation of your property. The State presumes that if you have cash at your house over whatever figure the police think is appropriate, then it must be drug money. Every day the State confiscates harmless property and gives hapless seizure victims "due process" by letting them plead with a tight-fisted district attorney for its return. If you have an unconvincing or undocumented explanation of where you got it, it's gone; the government rationale is "you have to prove you didn't get the money from dealing drugs."

Police have powerful incentive to seize your property. When your assets are confiscated the district attorney gets 13.5%, the police get 76.5%, and the state gets 10%. Official abuse of this law is documented in the media regularly. Defense attorneys report seeing an unusual number of clients who have lost cash and property but have not been charged with a crime.

Anyone with a grudge can phone a false tip that can change your life. Suspicion, hearsay, a police vendetta can cost you your car, your cash, your house, your toys, and the clothes in your closet - even though you are guilty of no crime. Such incidents are accelerating throughout the state right now under the "Asset Forfeiture Laws" written by the State Legislature that are enthusiastically endorsed by numerous police agencies. You are now seen as a wonderful source of windfall revenue.

It's time to turn the tables. You have a powerful remedy. Government officials' seizing your property in this manner is itself a cause of action against them. You have a right to the possession of your property. These so-called "Asset Forfeiture Laws" violate the fundamental rules of due process under our State Constitution and you can take advantage of this. In California, no combination of government officials can deprive you of life, liberty, or property prior to the approval of a jury. [Procedures for states other than California are also included, as is information covering "Federal."]

These instructions are written so you can: take advantage of this "Asset Forfeiture Relief" packet; get relief for yourself; obtain the return of your lawful property; put the screws to the acquisitive authorities; and bring an end to this travesty of justice. This remedy is powerful - constitutionally protected under the Common Law. Read all the material in this packet before you consider proceeding.

1.  Send a copy of the notarized FINAL NOTICE AND REQUEST TO RETURN CONFISCATED PROPERTY to each of the following: the confiscating officer, all officers in the chain of command above him, and the local District Attorney. Send the copies by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep the original for your records. Give them two weeks (more time than they deserve) to return all of your confiscated property. Under the Common Law you must pursue and complete this step before you can proceed to step two.

2.  After the time limit has passed without response by the government looters, file the COMPLAINT AT LAW with a Summons (see the clerk of the court for the Summons form) and a NOTICE OF LIEN served on each defendant. File the NOTICE OF LIEN (case number stamped by the court clerk) at the County Recorder's Office. You've dropped a very heavy ball on your official harassers' laps. Be sure that you have documented service on each defendant; this is important to fighting any motion to void a default.

3.  Two weeks after the COMPLAINT AT LAW has been served on the defendants, serve a copy of the request for interrogatories on each of the defendants.

4.  Any Defendant who has not answered the complaint within 30 days after he has been served (35 days if served by mail, return receipt requested) in his individual capacity (Attorneys for the agency which employs him cannot answer for him) is in a state of default. See the clerk of the court for the procedure to obtain a default upon a nonresponding defendant. Defaulting defendants become liable for the amount demanded in the suit.

5.  File a motion for default against any defendant who does not respond to your interrogatories within 45 days after service of the Complaint and summons upon him.

The pdf file here has all the documents, info, etc. for this.  It can also be found at 


There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
(soccer mom)
10-29-04 15:14
No 538551
User Picture 
      forfeiture statues     

This pdf file contains a chart of so-called crimes and what can be forfeited.

There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
11-06-04 01:36
No 539943
      They take what they want.     

Swims bro was one of the first in his state to have his property siezed.They took his bar,houses(2 of them),cars(3 of them),froze his bank accounts and thats just the stuff I remember.When he walked out of federal prison after serving a 5 year sentence for money laundering(Yankton South Dakota).He was rubbing his last 2 nickles together.Moral of the story.They do what they want when they want and youll just have to take it!

                  Keep comin back it works!
(Bone Smuggler)
11-08-04 21:56
No 540490

I re-read the opinion and I think you are correct. Both parts of the opinion will be critical in the re-application of this technology should either A) the ability only to detect contraband is designed or B) the technology becomes commonplace such that average joe knows other citizens can have a peek using readily available radio-shack equipment.
(Of Counsel)
11-09-04 04:35
No 540572
      the second is certain     

As the reasonable expectation of privacy devolves with the technologically invasive, but commonplace, instruments, the reasonableness of the expectation of privacy changes. What is prohibited are unreasonable searches, and reasonableness is dependent on society's expectations of privacy.

A technology that could see contraband, but which violated societal concepts of the degree of privacy that reasonably can be expected by the average citizen in the situation would remain an instrument for an  unreasonable search.

mostly harmless

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