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Posted: 8/21/2006 8:29:06 AM EDT
www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/news.asp?ID=1296&m=print

Federal Appeals Court: Driving With Money is a Crime

Eighth Circuit Appeals Court ruling says police may seize cash from motorists even in the absence of any evidence that a crime has been committed.

US Court of Appeals, Eighth CircuitA federal appeals court ruled yesterday that if a motorist is carrying large sums of money, it is automatically subject to confiscation. In the case entitled, "United States of America v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took that amount of cash away from Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez, a man with a "lack of significant criminal history" neither accused nor convicted of any crime.

On May 28, 2003, a Nebraska state trooper signaled Gonzolez to pull over his rented Ford Taurus on Interstate 80. The trooper intended to issue a speeding ticket, but noticed the Gonzolez's name was not on the rental contract. The trooper then proceeded to question Gonzolez -- who did not speak English well -- and search the car. The trooper found a cooler containing $124,700 in cash, which he confiscated. A trained drug sniffing dog barked at the rental car and the cash. For the police, this was all the evidence needed to establish a drug crime that allows the force to keep the seized money.

Associates of Gonzolez testified in court that they had pooled their life savings to purchase a refrigerated truck to start a produce business. Gonzolez flew on a one-way ticket to Chicago to buy a truck, but it had sold by the time he had arrived. Without a credit card of his own, he had a third-party rent one for him. Gonzolez hid the money in a cooler to keep it from being noticed and stolen. He was scared when the troopers began questioning him about it. There was no evidence disputing Gonzolez's story.

Yesterday the Eighth Circuit summarily dismissed Gonzolez's story. It overturned a lower court ruling that had found no evidence of drug activity, stating, "We respectfully disagree and reach a different conclusion... Possession of a large sum of cash is 'strong evidence' of a connection to drug activity."

Judge Donald Lay found the majority's reasoning faulty and issued a strong dissent.

"Notwithstanding the fact that claimants seemingly suspicious activities were reasoned away with plausible, and thus presumptively trustworthy, explanations which the government failed to contradict or rebut, I note that no drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug records were recovered in connection with the seized money," Judge Lay wrote. "There is no evidence claimants were ever convicted of any drug-related crime, nor is there any indication the manner in which the currency was bundled was indicative of drug use or distribution."

"Finally, the mere fact that the canine alerted officers to the presence of drug residue in a rental car, no doubt driven by dozens, perhaps scores, of patrons during the course of a given year, coupled with the fact that the alert came from the same location where the currency was discovered, does little to connect the money to a controlled substance offense," Judge Lay Concluded.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:31:41 AM EDT

Ridiculous.

The article doesn't say that he was arrested, so was he released once the State Troopers had the money?

Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:33:07 AM EDT
Cops and the government have been stealing people's money for years, using much the same method.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:33:38 AM EDT
SCOTUS needs to step in and rectify this immediately.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:34:03 AM EDT
I would say DUPE, but it looks like the original post from yesterday was locked.

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=492769

I'll post my same comment: Good thing they didn't find him with 1,000 cell phones.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:34:25 AM EDT
The money is being put to much better use by the local cops.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:34:42 AM EDT
Well sure, since we're killing off the Founding Fathers' ideal America we might as well do it full steam ahead.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:36:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2006 8:37:53 AM EDT by dolanp]
Land of the free...



Originally Posted By Q3131A:
I'll post my same comment: Good thing they didn't find him with 1,000 cell phones.

I was thinking the same, everyone would be defending this if he was a scary looking A-rab. Sad.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:38:42 AM EDT
Thanks to the 'war on drugs'.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:39:20 AM EDT
He should of used Traveler's Checks
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:41:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LARRYG:
Thanks to the 'war SOME on drugs'.


Not all, just some. The ones that they chose to fight.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:44:01 AM EDT
This gross generaliztion, from page 6 of the official court document, seems to be at the heart of the finding:



Possession of a large sum of cash is “strong evidence” of a connection to drug activity


This is such a stretch that it's almost laughable. Almost.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:46:38 AM EDT
It was a popular way for poor departments to steal money and nice cars for a long time in Louisiana. At one point it got so bad that business people drove around the state to avoid the threat of legal theft by Louisiana LEOs. It obviously still happens in many areas of the country. But it's all in the name of the heroic war on drugs, or drugs and terrorism these days... do it for the children, etc.

It is common sense that departments shouldn't benefit in any way from the proceeds of things they confiscate from suspects. But the sacred cow of prohibition- an institution alien and hostile to democratic liberty- dictates that we ignore this.

Galland
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:52:22 AM EDT
It really is a sad time in our nation when one is automatically presumed guilty...

Yet it has been this way for many years...
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:52:38 AM EDT
Someone hold my coffee while i go bang my head against the wall.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:54:20 AM EDT
He was just transporting money that Americans didn't want to transport.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:55:29 AM EDT
Welcome to the new Amerika..... but a police state could never take hold here but.......


burden of proof on the accused!

Fucking horseshit!


I am waiting for someone to justify this one
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:57:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By purplecheese:
It really is a sad time in our nation when one is automatically presumed guilty...

Yet it has been this way for many years...


The thing about this is that they can seize your money/car/property and never charge you with a crime. They charge the inanimate object with a crime.

All thanks to the 'war on drugs' that many members here support.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:58:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vrwc0915:
Welcome to the new Amerika..... but a police state could never take hold here but.......


burden of proof on the accused!

Fucking horseshit!


I am waiting for someone to justify this one


Just wait. The supporters of the 'war on drugs' weill be along shortly to tell you how this is working and is the right thing to do.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 8:59:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:05:32 AM EDT
I remember reading somewhere that travelling with over $15K in cash on your person is somehow illegal? I always wondered if that is BS or not.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:07:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HBruns:
The money is being put to much better use by the local cops.




A lifetime supply!
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:12:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2006 9:12:32 AM EDT by texas1138]

Originally Posted By Q3131A:
I would say DUPE, but it looks like the original post from yesterday was locked.

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=492769

I'll post my same comment: Good thing they didn't find him with 1,000 cell phonesIED Detonators.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:15:21 AM EDT
I think I recall a black man that paid cash for an airline ticket had to go through a similar situation. The ACLU had to sue on his behalf and it took like 2 years to get his money back. Sad state of affairs that the burden of proof is virtually nonexistent in the 'war on drugs'. That's what worries me about the domestic 'war on terrorism'.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:17:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dolanp:
I think I recall a black man that paid cash for an airline ticket had to go through a similar situation. The ACLU had to sue on his behalf and it took like 2 years to get his money back. Sad state of affairs that the burden of proof is virtually nonexistent in the 'war on drugs'. That's what worries me about the domestic 'war on terrorism'.


What, the more license you allow them the more they will take?
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:17:20 AM EDT
People have been shot for a whole lot less.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:17:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By HBruns:
The money is being put to much better use by the local cops.


I wonder if they will destroy the evidence as drug paraphernalia. It is obviously too dangerous to put back on the streets.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:18:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:23:58 AM EDT
mark my words cash will be dead in 10 years...
soon to be replaced by the amero (common electronic currency of the NAC)

big sister must be ale to trace and track and control all purchases
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:26:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Specop_007:
People have been shot for a whole lot less.


I can't say I'd agree with it. But I'd understand.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:29:28 AM EDT
Am I reading this right? The guy is still free, but is out $124K?! Please tell me I missed something.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:30:50 AM EDT
If someone tried to rob the person in question, would the police be there to protect him?

I guess one has to be prepared to protect one's property from highwaymen.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:31:31 AM EDT
sure sure, because i know i often transport over $100,000 dollars in cash, and i have no connection to drugs.

Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:35:42 AM EDT
Sounds like he was legitimately trying to buy a grocery truck with cash.

Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:36:53 AM EDT
It makes me want to vomit.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:39:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SFR:
sure sure, because i know i often transport over $100,000 dollars in cash, and i have no connection to drugs.



Just because you don't then everyone else is automaticly guilty?


I once bought property and the sellers terms were CASH guess I am a criminal by your standards. Thank God that the JBT's have not taken over in my area and the lawmen are decent hardworking folks who are not out looking to fuck over the populace
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:46:25 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:47:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SFR:
sure sure, because i know i often transport over $100,000 dollars in cash, and i have no connection to drugs.


So in your utopia, how much cash should a person be allowed to have on them at any one time? Should it be a felony to have more then x amount of dollars? Is it envy or a real reason?

Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:50:34 AM EDT
For all of the thug cops that will read this, this is reason #1243 why people hate your fithy guts. You have and will continue to do such vile things as this.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 9:58:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/21/2006 10:00:31 AM EDT by gopeterson]

Originally Posted By Hebrew_Battle_Rifle:
For all of the thug cops that will read this, this is reason #1243 why people hate your fithy guts. You have and will continue to do such vile things as this.


You're better off blaming the state and federal legislatures for enacting civil asset forfeiture laws. The laws essentially allow LEO to seize assets (including cash) if they suspect they are being used in the drug trade. No warrant required. Just the discretion of LEO. The sick part is that the burden is on the citizen to prove they were not involved in the drug trade.

We can all agree that taking assets from a drug dealer is a good thing, but it is being done at the expense of many innocent citizens.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:01:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brians_45:
Am I reading this right?


Yes


The guy is still free, but is out $124K?!


That about sums it up nicely.


Please tell me I missed something.


Nope.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:03:24 AM EDT
I'd be pissed if that happened to me.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:05:09 AM EDT
My elderly aunt used to own a large supermarket. She would routinely carry over $200K on her way to the bank to deposit it.

I guess she would be considered "laundering drug money".

Holding back what I really want to say . . .
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:05:18 AM EDT
This is not the "Free" country I was in the Air Force for and grew up with.

It sure is dangerous to be right when the Government is wrong.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:09:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By gopeterson:
We can all agree that taking assets from a drug dealer is a good thing, but it is being done at the expense of many innocent citizens.


Sorry, dont agree with that one either.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:09:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hebrew_Battle_Rifle:
For all of the thug cops that will read this, this is reason #1243 why people hate your fithy guts. You have and will continue to do such vile things as this.

Back to the compound you!
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:10:43 AM EDT
The only part that sounds fishy about his story (other than having that much cash) is why didn't he just fly back home; what reason is there for him to rent a car & drive?

Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:14:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By J_L:
The only part that sounds fishy about his story (other than having that much cash) is why didn't he just fly back home; what reason is there for him to rent a car & drive?



Because someone in Chicago told him that it might be illegal to travel with that much cash. Given airport security, he thought it would be safer to drive.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:14:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By J_L:
The only part that sounds fishy about his story (other than having that much cash) is why didn't he just fly back home; what reason is there for him to rent a car & drive?



Perhaps the way he was able to get such a sum was by being frugal....... and not using the "tools" of modern personal banking such as credit cards, loans,ect
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:16:47 AM EDT
In a way, I think this may be a play to prevent us from living on a cash only basis, force us to keep our money in a bank where our finances can be tracked.

If there was evidence of drug dealing, then I have no problem with the confiscation. But since there appears to be absolutly no evidence of that, this seems to be completely outlandish.
Link Posted: 8/21/2006 10:18:05 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:
A fellow is likely to take that sort of thing personally.


real personally!!
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