Another Asset Forfeiture Outrage

Luther Ricks and his wife worked most of their lives at a steel foundry in Ohio. Not trusting of banks, they say they've lived frugally, and managed to save more than $400,000 over the years, which they kept in a safe in their home.

Last summer, two burglars broke into Ricks' home. He shot and killed one of them. Police determined he acted in self-defense, and cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing. But local police did find a small amount of marijuana in Ricks' home, which Ricks says he uses to manage the pain of his arthritis and a hip replacement surgery. Ricks was never charged for the marijuana. But finding it in his home was enough for city police to confiscate Ricks and his wife's life savings under drug war asset forfeiture laws. Oddly enough, the FBI then stepped in, and claimed the money for itself.

Consistent with asset forfeiture laws, the federal government now says Ricks has to prove he earned the money legitimately in order to get it back. Of course, he doesn't have dated receipts going back thirty-plus years. And he can't hire a lawyer—the government has of his money.

Also, under asset forfeiture laws, even if Ricks were able to prove in court that he earned the money legitimately, he, not the government, would have to absorb the court costs.

Story here and here.

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  • stephen the goldberger||

    thats some bullshit

  • Episiarch||

    Thanks a bunch, Radley--I was having a pretty good day so far. You should talk to a psychologist about your sadistic tendencies.

  • ||

    Come on... how could this guy save up $400,000 legally in 30 years? Throw the book at this bank-fearing un-American! And not keeping receipts? He MUST be a criminal!

  • Fluffy||

    Radley just likes to post these because he's daring us to post sedition.

  • ||

    Fuck. Just fuck.

  • ||

    You are not supposed to have more than $10,000 in cash. Any amount over that and the government has the right to take it unless you fill out the proper currency transfer requests. You break the rules, you lose the money, period, end of discussion.

    Also, what if they don't take the money and he buys pot with it?

  • Big Nanny||

    So, guilty until proven innocent.

  • JMR||

    Still Ricks can pursue it and possibly convince a judge he had the money through a lifetime of savings. Asking the FBI usually doesn't work, he said. "The FBI, before they would give it up, would want dated receipts," he said.

    What receipts? You get a receipt when you buy something, not when you stuff money into a safe in your house.

  • ||

    Damn you Radley! It's Friday for goodness sake. Couldn't this have waited 'til Monday when I was already depressed??

    Good on you though for digging up another one. I would hope that the NAACP would get involved in this, but I am not holding my breath.

  • ||

    Mr. Ricks and family look like prime candidates to join the Ron Paul r3VOLution.

  • ||

    JMR,

    What receipts? You get a receipt when you buy something, not when you stuff money into a safe in your house.

    Yeah, really! The only thing he could have is pay stubs, but that wouldn't prove that he hadn't spent it all away on drugs as far as the government is concerned! Even if they had what they "want", it wouldn't make any difference. It's like having 15-year-old girlfriend.

  • ||

    Where's Rev. Jesse and Rev. Al? Course you don't expect them to show up. So how about getting the local Ron Paul meetup groups to go down to city hall and demand justice for this poor man? Shit like this is exactly why the libertarian movement needs a nationwide network of grassroots activist clubs.

  • ||

    Remember-No one cares. In most people's minds, this guy is a criminal, and even if the punishment is unfair, it's perfectly ok to sacrifice a few individuals on the altar of the greater good. No one is going to help Mr. and Mrs. Ricks. The people who destroyed his life will sleep the sleep of the just, and anyone you tell about this won't spend more than 10 seconds thinking about it.

  • ||

    "Government is theft".

  • JMR||

    See, guys like Mr Ricks are the root cause of bad economic policy. He squirrels the money away in a safe; it's not in a bank so the gov't doesn't know about it. Enough people do this, and economists get worried that Americans aren't saving enough. Government wonks hear this, and implement bad policies to compensate for the lack of savings. On and on...

    Mr Ricks, put that money in a bank or spend it!!!!

  • ||

    Thomas,

    You're not allowed to transport over 10k in cash outside the U.S. or make cash transactions over 10k in cash without reporting it.

    Those are dumb laws anyway, but they don't apply here.

  • ||

    I hope someone take this case up pro bono. The asset forfeiture laws are incredibly overbroad and lead to a lot of prosecutorial and governmental abuse, and they largely remain unchallenged because of the cost and the fact that those with standing to challenge simply can't afford it, like here.

  • ed||

    Radley is getting coal in his stocking for sure now.

  • Untermensch||

    I once got in an argument on H&R about whether the time for revolution had come. I argued it had not. This story, perhaps more than anything I've seen on here, convinces me that I was wrong. Nothing can stop the rapaciousness of those who wield public power and I see now that it is only by the mercy of our "leaders" than any of us has anything since they can use a pretext slim as this to take it all away with no due process.

    Not that I want want revolution entails, but when the government can wreak such grievous crime on the citizens we are past the point that led to the founding of our nation, an experiment I now consider a failure brought on by those who stood the most to benefit. Our founders are rolling in their graves tonight.

  • ||

    I'm glad Mr. Ricks shot the shit out of the burglars. If they end up taking all of his money, he should try to sue the one surviving burglar since he's the one that started this chain of events.

    Of course, he wouldn't have the money for it, but when the laws are this screwed up, can't we make some other screwed up laws to help those victimized by the other idiotic laws?

    Maybe we could eventually hope for one or two stupid laws in response to other stupid laws as a regular process in the future. That way law could multiply like rabbits until no ordinary or extraordinary act is legal anymore! Then we may be free from our sinful nature, at last!

  • ||

    BTW, two steelworkers, living frugally, could realistically sock away that kind of cash over a mere twenty years. The government KNOWS this ain't drug money. There's dates on the bills. They have access to their tax returns. To describe this as anything other than theft is a disingenuous lie. The snark isn't that funny when you consider that two hard working citizens lives have been destroyed by an out of control law enforcement establishment, aided and abetted by the prohibitionist populace.
    [/righteous rant]

  • Big Nanny||

    Untermensch is trying to get a look at the inside of Gitmo.

  • Untermensch||

    Would the Ron Paul Revolution suffice?

  • ||

    Sorry, sometimes my sense of humor gets displaced by indignation.

  • Brandybuck||

    Why is no one sticking up for hard working police? Why is no one condemning this anti-social pothead? Where oh where is Juanita when you need her?

  • ||

    I hope someone take this case up pro bono.



    Like, say, an outraged military lawyer who posts on the blog of a libertarian magazine?

  • ||

    The government KNOWS this ain't drug money. There's dates on the bills. They have access to their tax returns. To describe this as anything other than theft is a disingenuous lie.

    Absolutely right. What I can't begin to comprehend is how these FBI and local law enforcement goons can do that to someone and still sleep at night and then look themselves in the mirror in the morning. Do these people have even the vestigial remains of a conscience? What we need is a War on Thugs.

  • ||

    I would hope that the NAACP would get involved in this, but I am not holding my breath.

    They're too busy trying to get a pardon for six thugs who happened to be at a school where a noose was hung before they beat up a random kid.

  • ||

    "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    "For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.

    ...........

    "When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

  • ||

    You think the feds would be delighted by someone foolish enough to keep their paper money locked up in a safe, where they can chip away at its value via the inflation tax year after year.

    But apparently the opportunity to swipe everything instead of steal bit by bit was too much temptation.

  • ||

    But apparently the opportunity to swipe everything instead of steal bit by bit was too much temptation.

    If I've learned anything in my life, it's this -
    Thieves don't care who they steal from.

  • GILMORE||

    Good post radley.

    How these government hacks sleep at night, i dont know. I guess they rationalize it by feeding the machine. It pays for their jobs to go out and fuck with more people I guess. But there must be people inside the system who know how unjust this shit it. I hope at least

  • GILMORE||

    "shit is"

  • Big Nanny||

    If the founding fathers came back to life today...they would get sent straight to Gitmo.

  • ||

    """ Our founders are rolling in their graves tonight."""

    They gave up rolling around decades ago.

  • Russ 2000||

    How these government hacks sleep at night, i dont know.

    Smack.

  • ||

    I draw some minor comfort from the fact that, if this was going to happen to somebody, at least it turned happened to a Cowboys fan.

  • Elemenope||

    ...That way law could multiply like rabbits until no ordinary or extraordinary act is legal anymore!

    The '90s called...they want their paradigm back.

  • Episiarch||

    Absolutely right. What I can't begin to comprehend is how these FBI and local law enforcement goons can do that to someone and still sleep at night and then look themselves in the mirror in the morning.

    This is really the salient point here. Technically, they can do this. Buy WHY? What kind of inhuman scum are these people? Oh, I forgot--law enforcement.

  • ||

    Sigh. I didn't think I'd be the first to ask, but doesn't the 7th Amendment have something to say about this?

  • ||

    Maybe CNN will spend thirty minutes seconds on this, in their "serious news" segment.

  • Bingo||

    What. the. fuck.

    Argh.

    Note to self: do not check reason near end of workday.

  • ||

    Maybe CNN will spend thirty minutes seconds on this, in their "serious news" segment.

    They had it scheduled, but Brittany's tit flopped out again. Priorities, y'know.

  • gbd||

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Guess we can flush this down the toilet.

  • ||

    What i want to know is this: If he sues and loses, can it be appealed? If so, can it go as far as the supreme court?

    If so I think concerned citizens ought to get started on a legal defense fund.

    These things are so blatantly unconstitutional...I'd like to give the courts a chance to strike it down before the "New revolution, blood in the streets!" talk starts.

    Of course the terrifying thing is I won't be suprised if the SCOTUS has already upheld this garbage...

    Any lawyery types know the score?

  • ||

    Don't think the Supreme Court has taken the issue up yet, but the last year the 8th Circuit upheld this kind of asset forfeiture in USA v. $124,700.

  • ||

    If so I think concerned citizens ought to get started on a legal defense fund.

    There is such a fund: Ron Paul 2008

    I donated $50 today, in response to this Hit&Run article.
    Enough is enough. Take action.

  • ||

    Would this be a good thread to ask if anyone heard anything more about the Liberty Dollar raid?

  • ||

    ...it's perfectly ok to sacrifice a few individuals on the altar of the greater good.

    Well, we did sacrifice one troll, presumably in some godforsaken Mexican hoose-gow. And don't we all feel better for it?

  • keith||

    Actually the $10k cash rule only applies to bank transactions. It's perfectly legal to have any amount of cash in your home or on your person.

    It may provide probable cause, but there's nothing illegal about the amount.

  • Mike||

    So much for living in a "free" country.

  • ||

    I noticed that people are conveniently forgetting that he was breaking the law. The law has been on the books about seizing money in relation to drug possession, so it was his responsibility to ensure he didn't put himself in that situation. The fact is he broke the law and paid for it.

  • ||

    While I feel that this guy definitely is having a bad day, it also seems relatively easy to fix.

    I mean, he should have income tax forms for the last several years which would establish his annual income. Saving $1,100/month for 30 years would equal his $400k. This should be easy to prove, unless of course his living expenses plus savings are MORE than his income. If he doesn't have income tax forms, then he's got bigger problems.

  • Josh K||

    Songkane: he has been convicted of no crime.

    See the Paul Amendment to the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act

  • ||

    Ron Paul 2008!!! lets fix this. get out to your primary's and vote Ron Paul

  • ||

    Fuck the American Govt. They've already disgusted the people of America and this world to the maximum. Just sick.

  • ||

    "READ MY LIPS " with Bush in Office i do not trust the banks either.

    He is an American!.
    He can keep his Money where he wants to keep his money. Dont you keep your money where you want!.

    This just say to me stay the hell out of Ohio, run away as fast as you can.

    As far as the man having pot, oh my God, My Doctor is giving me every known drug under the sun to easy my excruciate back pain. And the only way I can sleep is to take a couple of hits off the joint.

    Taking Ambien CR I am lucky if I sleep 3 hours a night, two hits off a joint I can sleep 6 hours.

    It keeps me sane and it keeps alive without it I would have killed myself long ago. Not because I want too die!. Because the PAIN is so excruciating.

    Instead of talking down to this man, "give him a hand-up!." He is not looking for a hand out!.
    That is what you would want others to do for you, if you where in his situation!.

    God Bless you Sir!. Forgive these people.

  • ||

    Thomas.
    Good God.
    You said "if a man has over $10,000 in cash, then the Government has a RIGHT to take it."
    Who are you shilling for?
    Isn't that EXACTLY why people left Europe?
    By what right, anyhow?
    I'm sure any legal scholar can quote chapter, verse & tort on this.
    IT DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT.
    This is simple, lousy, PIMPY exploitation.
    Once again, another Gov't. Department reveals themselves, yet again, for the low-rent criminals they are.
    "When the GUBMINT no longer represents the PEOPLE, it is the solemn duty of the PEOPLE to replace that GUBMINT."
    -- T.J., spinning very fast in his grave.
    Are ya done, America?
    Come on.

  • ||

    Who really cares if he had a few grams of marijuana. I walk down the street here in Toronto and I usually catch a whiff of someone smoking a joint.
    I find it galling that his monetary assets have been confiscated from his own home. I think the police and the FBI swiped this man's money. Will the police and the FBI seize his home and all his belongings too and then put him in jail because he was taking marijuana to treat his pain? It is a commonly known therapy for chronic pain. For gods sake the man did not have a meth lab or 30,000 pills or a marijuana grow-op, he just had a bit of weed. I find the forfeiture unjust in the same way I find it unjust for the mexican who was going back home with a great deal of cash which the government stole from him because he didn't fill out a 27B-Stroke-6.

  • Dave Child||

    I'm sympathetic but don't see this as an outrage particularly. The guy presumably knew about the "war on drugs". He knew that owning marijuana was and is illegal. He also chose not to bank his money - and to shoot an intruder. This sounds a lot like a very bad time for him, but in a large part it sounds like his own doing.

  • ||

    banks are criminal ; you need to fight recession by buying gold and keeping it at home. so the guy is smart. however the US sucks (for a billion reasons, one of them being that you can buy hard drugs legally on ever corner but a soft drug like pot is forbidden); it has it's positive moments (Slayer and the Shield) but besides that ; move to another country and do it fast. 2008 will be the year of poverty for you all and this guy should sell everything to get his money back; even after lawyer costs he will be better off than most.

  • ||

    If the legal sytem does not work, the police need to have their rights violated in return. The Feds need theirs too, but the retard cops that confiscated the money in the first place are outright bad people. Where's Dexter when you need him. (yeah, I know, Harry's rules might not allow this)

    The police used their bodies to violate this mans rights. Their bodies need to be charged with some crimes in the "people's court".

  • jordon||

    i would be quite upset.

    if that were me, someone else might have been killed

  • Red, Black and Blue||

    If you click my name, it should take you to a page from the Cornell Law site detailing some interesting information about forfeiture laws.


    Here's something to consider. Keep your money AND your drugs locked in the safe next time...
    But seriously, how did the cops even know the money was there? It's not like any part of their investigation would have required them to open a locked safe... And they didn't bother to charge the guy for drug possession, so that wasn't the real issue here. The real issue came from the cops becoming aware of the money and getting greedy. So... simple aolution.. If you have $400,000 locked in a safe.. Don't tell anyone!

  • yarleybrown||

    I can feel a evil wind blowing...Let em keep squeezing our balls, cause it's coming, like a fecking freight train. History has it's moments, when the peasants, rose up, like one organism, every couple thousand years, generations of hardship, for those at the bottom of the stack, brewed hate, and when there's nothing left to lose, they'll be no way to stop us, short of extinction. If the children of the wealthy, want to inherit a graveyard, they're welcome to it. Heaven and hell, both exist here, but soon, they'll be room for only one, and I'm thinking, if the human species is given a choice, heaven for some, or hell for all, we're gonna choose the latter. A final lesson in our intellectual and spiritual evolution. The meek shall inherit the earth? Let us hope it is so. Cause if I gotta take a stroll thru Hell, I'm taking a few of those responsible with me.

  • ||

    Let's get a couple of things straight. Ricks wasn't charged for the pot, and he wasn't charged for shooting the burglar, so where's the crime? Why should Ricks have to prove ANYTHING? I thought that a person in America was innocent until proven guilty! Under that rule of law, shouldn't the cops/feds have to find him guilty of SOMETHING to be able to confiscate his money? Have they proven him guilty of ANY CRIME in connection with the money? What's wrong with this picture? I'm afraid in this case Ricks is guilty until proven innocent, and sorry, this is NOT my America, this is the new "Amerika." The thing is, even if Ricks gets a lawyer pro bono or otherwise, they could hold on to his money for years with NO interest.

  • ||

    P.S. This is the way the elite get wealthy; they steal other people's property, especially poor brown-skinned people who can't defend themselves. Like the Ricks. Like the Native Americans. Like the Iraqis. But maybe not so with the people of Afghanistan; so far they have fought off every invader. Still, opium has to come from somethwere, and that's where it's coming from now. Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan opium production has soared. Coincidence? I think NOT.

  • ||

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww

  • ThF||

    The guys a nutjob, no one in their right mind keeps their entire savings in their house. I bet if his house got burnt down no one would care that he lost the cash, theyd all say he should have kept it in a bank.

  • ||

    Yes comrades, the war against capitalism some drugs continues apace. All kulaks suspected drug dealers must have their ill-gotten grain money confiscated and returned to its rightful owner - the state.

  • ||

    typical half-ass liberal news article. we dont know all the circumstances here.
    i work for an agency that seizes property under these exact circumstances.

    no the us attorney's office, nor my agency, would support a ridiculously unjust seizure like that. i don't know all of the facts of this particular case, but there is ALWAYS more than what is published in a simple news blurb.

    for all you conspiracy theorists and government haters, there has to be a substantial reason to seize that money; the punishment has to fit the crime. it's not as simple as this article makes it seem.

    there is no possible way this seizure would be supported in the manner it is presented in this article.

  • merdahl||

    If the facts are as reported, this is an outrage.

    But being the cynical sort that I am, and knowing how badly garbled most news reports are, my guess is that he's been selling on the side for many years and keeping the cash (a good reason for not putting it in the bank is because it is from illegal activity). Plus, the cops may had heard about his dealings but did not have the evidence, and so this is why they are coming down on him hard now.

    Doesn't make it right to force someone to prove it is his money, but you guys are pretty naive to automatically assume 100% that this guy is telling the truth.

  • B||

    "Not trusting of banks, they say they've lived frugally, and managed to save more than $400,000 over the years, which they kept in a safe in their home."


    If you are so fucking stupid you keep that much money in your home "because you don't trust banks" I frankly have a hard time feeling sorry for you. Stupidity once again has its own unique rewards.

  • B||

    "Mr. Ricks and family look like prime candidates to join the Ron Paul r3VOLution"

    He is black, a fact which the Neo-nazis bankrolling this so-called revolution might not be able to overlook.

  • Edwin||

    Re:"He is black, a fact which the Neo-nazis bankrolling this so-called revolution might not be able to overlook"

    What the hell are you talking about?

  • Hit & Run-euphemism for moron ||

    "If the founding fathers came back to life today...they would get sent straight to Gitmo"

    Indeed, because as we all know, the Founding Fathers were notorious for slaughtering innocent civilians and harboring those that did the same.
    The more I read this site, the more I realize it is chock-full of assholes so stupid, they can't tell their ass from a hole in the ground. No wonder Ron "I am bankrolled by neonazi contributions I refuse to return" Paul is so popular on this site.

  • ||

    Malto Dextrin: I believe your post of December 21, 2007, 4:22pm, constitutes the advocacy of the overthrow of the United States government by force or violence. The Heimatssicherheitsamt, er, Department of Homeland Security, has been notified.

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