Obama Administration Told It Should Return The Crystal-Covered Michael Jackson Glove It Illegally Seized

from the seriously? dept

We've talked repeatedly about the federal governments' overly-aggressive nature in seizing and forfeiting things like domain names, but the government's abuse of forfeiture and seizure laws goes way beyond just seizing digital assets. Basically, law enforcement often sees seizure and forfeiture laws as an excuse to steal from the public with little to no recrimination.

Thankfully, it looks like the courts may be starting to push back a bit. The Obama administration appears to be losing its case in which it seized millions of dollars worth of assets from the son of the president/dictator of Equatorial Guinea. Included in the haul is an original Michael Jackson crystal covered "glove" from the Bad tour. The feds are claiming that these were ill-gotten gains from corruption. That may be true, but the guy, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, hasn't been convicted of any crimes either at home or in the US, so the courts are wondering why it should let the US just take his stuff. The feds have a chance to amend their argument, but it's good to see that the judge is quite skeptical that such seizures are legal.

This kind of thing seems all too common with such in cases, where law enforcement goes after the stuff, but never goes after the actual people involved. And, of course, sometimes they make big mistakes. Either way, hopefully cases like this lead to fixing (or getting rid) of the ridiculous process of asset seizures without due process or without any charges being filed. It's not just that it's open to abuse, but that it is, clearly, regularly abused to either enrich law enforcement or just to hassle people the government doesn't like. That shouldn't be allowed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:12am

    Don't rock the boat!

    If we take away the State's authority to steal things on a whim, they might get over-stressed and begin tasering/shooting/arresting people for no reason!

    Seriously, your TV or your life?

    Yes, it's unjust, but maybe we should just let this one go for now...

     

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  2.  
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    Chris ODonnell (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:27am

    I don't think we'll asset seizures going away anytime soon. It's basically a budget item for a police departments now. They count on that income every year. If we take money away from law enforcement the terrorists win.

     

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  3.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re: :'(

    It's a sad day when those who "protect and serve" regularly account in their budget for how much property they can 'legally' steal.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    the US government doesn't have the right to do a lot of things, regardless of what it is, regardless of what/who it involves or where it is, but it still goes ahead and does them. it's called arrogance and self-importance!

     

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  5.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:47am

    I used to work at a record store/headshop (we sold pipes and bongs) back in the late 80s and early 90s. The police shut us down and took everything under forfeiture laws.

    Forfeiture actions are not actions against individuals. They're civil actions against property. Property has no rights.

    It sort of makes sense if the property is heroin. Heroin is illegal, so if the government finds it, it can take it.

    However, it turns grey very quickly when the government determines, "Well, this house might have been paid for by the sales of heroin. So let's take the house too."

    All the "claimant" can do is file a claim in the civil proceeding against the property and hope he can get some of it back.

     

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  6.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re:

    I should have said this before, it's the claimant's burden to prove that the property was not obtained through illegal means.

     

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  7.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re: !

    "Property has no rights" That's right up there with "I wasn't shooting at the enemy soldier, I was firing at his weapon and uniform. Sadly the enemy soldier was unintentionally injured/killed in the process".

    Utter cocknbull nonsense. Of course property doesn't have rights, but the owner of said property allegedly has rights! *Grrr*


    _sigh_

     

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  8.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re:

    Or: guilty until proven innocent.

     

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  9.  
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    Digitari, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Re: the new Meme

    "Protect and Serve" is just code for "pillage and Taser"

    this is the 21st Century after all

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Governments steal from the public, news at 11. Look at this whole GSA scandal.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    Re:

    and 'holding all the cards', and 'monopoly on truth' and Rule#34 ABORT

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:35am

    He's guilty of something, were just making sure we get our cut.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    I have a problem with tagging this as "Obama Administration" - you are making it sound like Obama himself said "wow, I really want a Michael Jackson glove... seize it!".

    It's a common error made by most people trying to defame the President. WTG Mike, your Tea bagger buddies will be proud!

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    "I have a problem with tagging this as "Obama Administration" - you are making it sound like Obama himself said "wow, I really want a Michael Jackson glove... seize it!"."

    That's only because you have a reading comprehension problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    I have a problem with tagging this as "Obama Administration" - you are making it sound like Obama himself said "wow, I really want a Michael Jackson glove... seize it!".

    It's a common error made by most people trying to defame the President. WTG Mike, your Tea bagger buddies will be proud!


    Hmmm. Let check out what Wikipedia has to say about the DOJ:

    The United States Department of Justice (often referred to as the Justice Department or DOJ), is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.

    The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and is a member of the Cabinet. The current Attorney General is Eric Holder.


    Let's recap: Part of the Executive Branch, AG nominated by President and member of President's Cabinet.

    Looks to me like the buck stops with the President, so using the phrase "Obama Administration" would be correct.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    I wonder how many govt employees have pictures of themselves with the white glove. United-statesians sure love to take pictures of the atrocities they commit... can't wait for these to pop up.

     

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  17.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Don't rock the boat!

    Yeah, the only victims right now are law breakers. So everyone just say f'ck them and let the world go on as it does.

     

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  18.  
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    DOlz, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 11:51am

    When did it happen?

    When did it happen that the major difference between the police and criminals is that the police have badges and get a pension?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Unless he's suggesting that someone not accountable to an elected official is doing this ... but where would the fun be in that? That would seem to go against democratic principles.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Don't rock the boat!

    First they started stealing from criminals, and I didn't speak out because they obviously deserved it.

    Then they started stealing from people that they merely claimed were criminals, and I didn't speak out because the government and law enforcement would never make a mistake about guilt.

    Then they started stealing from me, and yet no one would listen when I proclaimed my innocence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Chargone (profile), Apr 20th, 2012 @ 7:14am

    Re: When did it happen?

    who knows? it's a state of affairs that seems to come about eventually in any nation which does not either undergo a revolution which actually changes the system in search of a better way of doing things or find itself embroiled in a war of survival where the enemy's ideology promotes such things, thus making opposing them imperative to the nation's continued ability to fight. either of these things seem to reset the count.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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