Civil injustice strikes Ohio

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Thu, 27 Mar 2008 08:12:37 GMT  <== Drugs ==> 

Bob Ewing at The Cleveland Plain Dealer - asset forfeiture isn't in the news much these days. But it's still big business for the crooks who run local, state, and federal government theft rings. They stole Meredith and Luther Ricks' life savings, $400,000, when they found the cannabis Mr. Ricks' used to ease his painful arthritis, hip replacement and shingles, while investigating his self-defense shooting of a home intruder. That ain't right. Every cop and prosecutor involved should go to prison for a long time, and never again be allowed to darken the doors of any public office. Asset forfeiture is theft, plain and simple. But then, so is taxation.

Shortly afterward, the FBI got involved - not to help the stricken family, but to claim the money for the federal government.

Such is the result of civil forfeiture laws, which represent one of the most profound assaults on our rights today.

Civil forfeiture can apply to virtually any property: cars, houses, boats and, as the Rickses' case demonstrates, even money. The property can be seized merely on suspicion that it was used in connection with a crime or resulted from criminal activity.

The police did not charge Luther for the shooting - he acted in self-defense - or for the small quantity of marijuana he used as medicine. Under civil forfeiture, the government can confiscate money or property without proving that a person is guilty of criminal misconduct.

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