Taking Property On Suspicion Alone Is Bad Precedent

By rodent · Sep 14, 2006 · ·
  1. rodent
    [FONT=&quot]Don't get caught with too much cash" might be the warning that comes [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]from a recent circuit court of appeals case.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]In essence, the 8th Circuit (in the [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Midwest[/FONT][FONT=&quot]) ruled last month that [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]anyone driving with large quantities of cash must be assumed to be [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]guilty of something, and that the government can take that cash from [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]its owner.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]No evidence of wrongdoing need be found for the police to take the [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]money and run. And you thought the weird rulings only came out of [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]California[/FONT][FONT=&quot]. In 2003, Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez was pulled over by a [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]state trooper in his rental car for speeding along a [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Nebraska[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]interstate highway.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The driver handed the trooper a [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Nevada[/FONT][FONT=&quot] license, and the cars rental [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]However, a different mans name was on the contract.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]After Gonzolez told the officer that he had never been arrested, the [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]officer checked with his dispatcher and found that Gonzolez had [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]indeed been arrested for a DUI earlier that same year. Those [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]suspicions led to a search of the car, which led to the discovery of [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]$124,700 in cash in a cooler.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Later, as the court explained, a drug-sniffing dog named Rico got a [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]scent of drugs on some of the cash and in the rental car, but no [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]drugs, drug residue or drug paraphernalia were found. The government [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]claimed that "the dogs alert, along with the large amount of cash [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]that was seized, the circumstances of Gonzolezs travel, and Gonzolezs [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]initial false denials that he was carrying cash or that he had a [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]criminal history, showed that the currency was substantially [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]connected to a drug transaction," according to the court analysis.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Friends and relatives of Gonzolez testified that they had given him [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]money from their savings so that he could buy a refrigerated truck [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]for their produce business, and Gonzolez said he didnt mention the [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]cash to officers because he was "scared" and he said he had no arrest [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]record because he didnt think a DUI was considered a crime. A [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]district court ruled in Gonzolezs favor, stating that his explanation [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]was plausible and that the government did not provide any proof that [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]he was involved in the drug trade.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]That seems obvious to us. Just because someone is involved in [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]suspicious activity doesnt mean he has done anything wrong.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]In this country, the government is supposed to have proof before [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]denying a person his liberty or his property.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The government could not prosecute Gonzolez on drug charges, given [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]the lack of evidence, yet it claimed authority to keep his money, [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]anyway. The 8th Circuit has now reversed the district court.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]It argued that "possession of a large sum of cash is strong evidence [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]of a connection to drug activity." The court called it a common-sense [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]view that concealing large amounts of money is more likely to be the [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]result of drug activity than of Gonzolezs stated reason of hiding [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]money from would-be thieves.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]The court found a number of Gonzolezs traveling arrangements to be [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]suspicious. And that was enough for the court.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]But this is absurd.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]We thought that in this country the government needed evidence, not [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]just suspicions. Where is the proof that a crime was commited? This [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]is one of the more foolish, unjust decisions weve seen in a while.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Lets hope the case goes on to the Supreme Court.[/FONT][FONT=&quot]

    Newshawk: chip[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Pubdate: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Wed, 13 Sep 2006[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Source: [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Burlington[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Times-News (NC)[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Copyright: 2006 The Times-News Publishing Company[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]MAP posted-by: Jackl

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  1. Riconoen {UGC}
    Jesus H. Christ we're on the road to a police state of this shit doesnt get struck down by the supreme court which I have no doubt in my mind it will.
  2. ryanstein
    in this case, i think the police did the right thing. his name wasnt on the contract, he was in a different state, and he gave false information. thats enough probable cause to search the car but i dont agree with the court decision. remember, US courts r full of loop holes and wat not, so legally they can probably find a way to put him on a drug trafficing charges without significant evidence but i think it should b overruled in appeals or if its ever taken to a jury then the rulling will b overturned.

    this case is a seriously unjust but come on, it does look very suspicious. if the family gave him that much money to buy a truck it wouldnt b in cash, esp in a cooler.

  3. Forthesevenlakes
    actually, in some communities, particularly of recent immigrants, there is an inherent distrust of american banks. this will lead to families often keeping money in odd places, since it will all be in cash and they want to make the hiding places unusual so as to avoid the threat of robbery.
  4. ryanstein
    wat about travel checks...?? most likely way if not by banking. i agree that they dont have any evidence against him but i do agree the police had enough probably cause to search...

    im just sayin its very suspicious not pure evidence.
  5. grandbaby
    edit: aw, never mind.
  6. Nagognog2
    So I can do roll some 3-piece-suit people because they look suspicious to ME. Good! I hope my excuse holds up in court.

    Under the laws persuant to the Federal-Forfeiture Act, the following incident occured: A florist was flying from Kentucky to Texas to buy his yearly stock of plants/flowers for his business. As per usual, he was carrying cash - about $10,000. He matched the "profile" at the airport and was taken to a small room and searched. His money was seized. No evidence of any crime was presented and no charges were filed. But he matched the profile: He is an African-American. He had a large amount of money.

    The US TV news program 60 Minutes interviewed all parties in this particular case. But the money would not be returned until this "suspicious" black man could prove that he was not a drug-dealer.

    Could anyone prove they are not something (aside from proving you are not white or black or Chinese or...)? No, you cannot. His business went out of business. Justice was served! Huraah!
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