Brickbat: Never to Blame



A federal judge has ruled the Drug Enforcement Administration isn't liable for damages to a truck the agency used without the owner's knowledge or permission in a drug sting. The sting left the truck's driver dead, the truck wrecked and riddled with bullets and the cab covered with blood. Craig Patty, the truck's owner, says he he and his family also live with fear that they will be the target of retaliation from the Mexican drug cartel that killed the driver, even though he did not know the man was an informant for the DEA or that he was using his truck in a sting.

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  1. Fred Shepherd, who worked with Vickery on the case said his client is astonished that he has no recourse.

    “It is not just that you can’t sue the federal government., but that fed law enforcement agencies under this ruling can use anybody’s property to do anything they want to further their law enforcement mission and not have to go get the permission from the owner of the property to do it.”

    Anybody’s property? All property belongs to the government, dumbass. You’re lucky they let you pretend it’s yours most of the time.

  2. “…a plainclothes Houston police officer shot and wounded a plainclothes Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was mistaken for a gangster.”

    It’s stings all the way down.

    1. There’s the problem. Dressing as a plainclothes officer will not pass you off as a gangster, you need to wear outlandish, flamboyant attire.

      And drive a pimped out Lincoln continental with air horns and shit.

      Jesus, didn’t anybody in law enforcement pay attention to,the 70s?

  3. The comments in the article show several people skeptical over the government’s claims that the attackers were Zetas. The basic concept being, why would Mexican cartel gangsters come to Houston to steal a drug shipment when they have all the pot they can carry in Mexico?

    1. Someone copslain this to me – how is this not a taking re the 5th amendment? Operating at the instruction of law enforcement, the driver was an agent of the government as per 4th amendment caselaw regarding searches. And absent the law enforcement angle, taking the truck on runs not approved by the owner is in of itself illegal, even if the driver had the keys as a part of his employment.

      1. This was not meant to be a reply to cyto. I don’t know how that happened.

        1. Apparently this dates back to english common law. If the agents of the government are involved in law enforcement activities, the government cannot be held liable unless there is a specific provision of federal law that allows you to collect damages.

          1. Yes, and most insurance policies won’t cover losses caused by government agents during their duties so you get double screwed.

          2. Apparently this dates back to english common law. If the agents of the government are involved in law enforcement activities, the government cannot be held liable unless there is a specific provision of federal law that allows you to collect damages.

            Not the case. Common law didn’t protect government actors. Searches and seizures as we have them have their origin in ‘admiralty law’, or otherwise the laws of warfare between belligerent state entities. These types of actions and their reuisate immunities from prosecution and lawsuits are the innovations of kings and warlords, and later, legislators codified the practice in statutory law.

  4. Update on a previous brickbat:

    “A police officer suing Starbucks after being burned by a free cup of coffee has testified that he drove home to have the injury photographed before he sought medical care.”…..7-12-31-21

    1. So it went *spill* “I can make some money off of this”?

    2. Well, duh, once the injury heals, what’s supposed to remind him how much mental anguish/PTSD to have in the morning?

    3. Who told you to put the balm on?

      1. The weird guy with the puppy and the bucket.

      2. +1 Kramer. I found it humorous that the cop is asking for the same amount ($10,000) as Kramer would have gotten if he hadn’t jumped at the free coffee. The cop already *got* his free coffee, so perhaps his lawyer will keep him seated if an out-of-court settlement involves “free coffee for life.”

        1. The Maestro!!!!?

          1. “Shh… the Maestro is decomposing” – The Far Side

  5. How much more evidence will anyone need to realize that the “serfdomization” of ordinary citizens is nearly complete?

    1. You sound like one of those paranoid conspiracy guys. Pretty soon you’ll be telling us that cops are taking cash out of our cars without charging us for crimes.

      1. I know, right? It’s like Charles thinks 1984 is actually coming to fruition right before our eyes or something! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

      2. Yeah. He’s definitely a conspiracy guy. Next he’s gonna say something totally crazy, like the Constitution means what it actually says or something completely nuts like that.

        1. Woah, dude. Too far. Don’t even joke about stuff like that.

          In fact I am so offended by what you just said that I consider it hate speech. You deserve to be shot, you vile rustic. We don’t have room in our society for backwards thinking bumpkins like yourself anymore.

  6. I see that we now need a rider in our insurance policies for law enforcement actions

    1. What you will find is an exclusion for governmental action – about the only thing routinely covered is “property destroyed by authorities to prevent the spread of fire” a boon left over from days of yore.

    2. I see that we now need a rider in our insurance policies for law enforcement actions

      Believe it or not, in many states insurance carriers will offer “ordinance or law” coverage to insure against certain whims of (mostly) local governments.

  7. Hmm, this one is tricky. The feds didn’t actually take the truck themselves, they just paid off the driver (who had the owner’s permission to use the truck, albeit for different purposes) so there’s no cut and dry 5th amendment issue. I guess it comes down to whether the govt paying someone to steal/embezzle your property counts as a taking.

  8. It seems the court’s decision was based on sovereign immunity – that is, the general rule is that you can’t sue the U.S., except to the extent Congress graciously allows you to do so, and Congress did not authorize suits against the U.S. in these circumstances, at least according to the judge.

    1. And it looks like the suit was not authorized in this circumstance because DEA deliberately undertook this action. A most striking appl’n of the FYTW doctrine as I’ve seen.

  9. So the 3rd Amendment has been dragged out back and shot. Or this a national security emergency exception over and above the generic BFYTW exception always in force?

    The reasoning of the judge in the citations leads me to the BFYTW conclusion. Occam’s Razor and all that.

    I guess we can all be thankful that they didn’t arrest the owner or seize his assets because his truck was used in a drug crime…

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  11. For another kick in the nuts by Border Patrol Thugs

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