Law enforcement authorities in the United States of America can be downright evil at times. They violate constitutional rights. They’re often trigger-happy and overly aggressive. Some think they have a government license to commit highway robbery.
Nowhere is this unnecessary evil more apparent than with law enforcement taking advantage of asset forfeiture laws. A cop stops a motorist on the highway, for example. He notices a wad of cash in the suspect’s wallet. He asks the suspect where he got it. Regardless of the answer, he confiscates it based upon mere suspicion that it is drug money. The suspect is never charged with a crime. His money is never returned.
A Nevada state trooper pulled over citizen Gorman’s motor home for allegedly going too slow along Interstate 80. You, see, if they can’t get you for going too fast they get you for going too slow. Gorman was wasn’t given a citation but for some unfathomable reason the trooper suspected that he was hiding cash. So he concocted an evil scheme to find a pretext for a search.
The cop couldn’t inspect the vehicle then and there because that would have required a canine unit -- a dog to sniff for and detect drugs, which would have created enough probable cause to get a search warrant. Never-mind that though; he radioed ahead for a county sheriff’s deputy to stop Gorman again -- this time with a drug-sniffing dog.
Despite the fact that no drugs were found during the second stop, the cop goons found $167,000 in cash. So they seized his vehicle, computer, cell phone and all the cash. Of course, they never charged Gorman with a crime. How could they? There was no evidence of any crime.
That was two years ago and the highway robbers with badges still have Gorman’s motor-home, computer, cell phone and $167,000 in cash. He’s innocent of any crime but they still have his property.
Gorman sued the goons in federal court. Last June, federal District Judge Larry Hicks, ordered that his property be returned, citing the “prolonged detention” for the alleged traffic violations and the failure to disclose that the first officer had requested the second stop.
“The second stop was not based on independent, reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify the prolonged investigation,” said the court. “The two stops were for minor traffic violations, and they both were extended beyond the legitimate purposes for such traffic stops.”
The second stop never would have happened if the first officer had not relayed information about the first stop, which included a vehicle description, suspicion about concealed cash and that a “canine sniff” would likely be needed to get probable cause for a search, the judge concluded.
Is it any wonder why law enforcement officials seem to have targets on their backs lately? It’s a predictable response to the perception by some aggrieved individuals that the government authorities get away to often with unnecessary evil.