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You: The city is stealing my car without probable cause in an attempt to extort money from me.

City DA: No they're not.

What's your recourse here? Call the FBI or federal prosecutor and report an organized crime syndicate being run by corrupt law enforcement professionals? Because... isn't that what this is?

Is there any onus, or even incentive, for them to listen and investigate? Is the only way to redress the problems a civil lawsuit against the City citing Bivens and various appellate court principles like malicious prosecution? Because grand theft auto, extortion, racketeering, and fabrication of evidence / perjury are not civil offenses, and conservative readings of the concept of 'standing', as I understand it, make it rather difficult to challenge the authors of a failed / withdrawn prosecution in order to get at the legal principles which triggered it.

Concepts like this one, as well as things like civil asset forfeiture, are so clearly in direct violation of the Constitution that at some point, it's not legitimate to shelter enforcers under cover of "just following orders". We still have laws (Constitutional and common), and Peabody, Minnesota doesn't have the right to do things like put all the gay residents to death by legislative fiat & judicial compliance; If you found this occurring, you wouldn't need to file a lawsuit alleging that a constitutional overreach has been committed and demanding merely that the policy cease to be in effect. Instead, you would get some overriding authority, like the state police or the FBI, to run in with SWAT teams and arrest and prosecute every last person peripherally attached to the Peabody legislature or judiciary or law enforcement. For murder.

No amount of 'adopting selective prosecution based on what we can win, since the courts recognized a valid affirmative defence' or 'changing training programs to be more in line with civil rights' or 'firing/reprimanding the officers involved and settling a civil suit' makes killing the gay population of Peabody less of a crime, and no amount of lawsuit would be required to get that recognized.




Wish more people would simply call it what it is. If we can't even do that, certainly we'll never see an actual prosecution.

The name of a thing is important, and calling it exactly 'grand theft auto, extortion, racketeering, and fabrication of evidence / perjury' versus something like 'civil asset forfeiture' or in this case, not even that, it's a glorified falsified parking ticket!

I mean, how did this actually play out in court? "So, Your Honor, you're not going to believe what happened. I was going to drop my niece at the airport and these thugs pulled me out of the car, showed me a badge, impounded my car, and now want me to sign a document and pay them a stack of cash to get it back." Prosecutor, "Actually, we employ 170 people to do this, and we've done it 21,000 times".

The article they quote saying it's a corrupt money-making scheme for the city was an interesting read: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140724/long-island-city/ta...


"“They’re stopping cars without legal justification all the time,” said Kaeckmeister, who in the past year has gone to two tribunal hearings to testify before a judge that his superiors forced him to seize a car when he didn’t have the evidence to do so."

His superiors pressured him to steal a car by threatening to fire him, and to fabricate evidence, perjure himself, and file false police reports in order to hold it for ransom without legal basis. It shouldn't make a difference whether he's in the traffic enforcement business or the puppy breeding business, the same actions are a clear crime regardless of his background; He wasn't even under duress by the definition of that word used in the courts, though perhaps whistleblower protections apply (if they still exist).

Dude's just confessed, before a judge, to a massive profit-seeking criminal conspiracy over and above what was authorized by local legislature. Arrest somebody.


The problem is it grants legitimacy for a parallel network of justice enforcement. When there are so many stories about constitution being violated with FISA, SWAT teams, police stations using military gear, TSA, systematic torture, drone strikes without fair trials, civil asset forfeiture and now systematic seizure of cars, who could we blame if, say, Anonymous decided to take it to the street and burn houses of every single TLD agent? Is US justice still acting on the name of the lowly, or is the constituion so blatantly violated that the people will fund and sponsor an "alternative network"?


> You: The city is stealing my car without probable cause in an attempt to extort money from me.

> City DA: No they're not.

> What's your recourse here?

File a civil lawsuit for the violation of Constitutional rights, to wit, the right against being deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process.

Report to the State and federal government for potential public civil and criminal action by those governments against the local government/officials involved.

Work to organize members of the public for political action against the responsible local government/officials.

Etc.

> Concepts like this one, as well as things like civil asset forfeiture, are so clearly in direct violation of the Constitution

Civil asset forfeiture in general is not in direct violation of the Constitution. There may be a valid argument that some of the ways it is currently employed are in violation of the Constitution, though even that is a weaker case than that some of the ways it is employed are just bad policy.

> We still have laws (Constitutional and common), and Peabody, Minnesota doesn't have the right to do things like put all the gay residents to death by legislative fiat & judicial compliance; If you found this occurring, you wouldn't need to file a lawsuit alleging that a constitutional overreach has been committed and demanding merely that the policy cease to be in effect. Instead, you would get some overriding authority, like the state police or the FBI, to run in with SWAT teams and arrest and prosecute every last person peripherally attached to the Peabody legislature or judiciary or law enforcement. For murder.

Or, not. Law enforcement agencies have the power to enforce the laws, but they generally have no obligation to enforce them, and quite often real and significant violations are fought with civil lawsuits by those affected rather than direct intervention and criminal prosecution by enforcement agencies. Even in cases where the general problem is one that enforcement agencies are interested in -- the civil rights movement provides numerous examples, where all kinds of serious violations by local and state officials were addressed, some by higher (particularly federal) law enforcement action, some by private civil lawsuits, some by political mobilizing and action, and many by combinations of those methods.


Can you explain how civil asset forfeiture is not unconstitutional? Your property is taken without due process. You can get it back, if you go to court. The due process happens after it is taken.




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