Skip to comments.On Your Side: Law enforcement seizes money without arrest
Posted on 02/06/2014 10:34:43 AM PST by Altariel
WINNEMUCCA, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Imagine getting pulled over for a traffic stop, and instead of getting a ticket, the officer takes your money. All of it.
It happened to one man recently, who was driving on Interstate 80 through Northern Nevada. Now, he is fighting back.
It's a case that focuses on our rights: Can law enforcement take your money or property, even if you are not charged with a crime?
The driver was Tan Nguyen of California. He has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney. His attorney, John Ohlson said, "The basis of the stop was he was going 78 in a 75. The stop ended in a search, and the deputy took $50,000 from my client that belonged to him."
Nguyen was not arrested. He was not charged with any crime. But Humboldt County Sergeant Lee Dove decided to confiscate a bundle of cash Nguyen happened to be carrying: $50,000 worth. Sergeant Dove even posed for a photo after seizing the cash.
In this incident report, Sergeant Dove observed that Nguyen seemed "nervous", was "argumentative", and that the car smelled of marijuana. No drugs were found during the stop.
Nguyen was not cited for doing anything illegal, although Sergeant Dove wrote in his report, "I felt he was not part of the legal traveling public," which he cited as justification for taking Nguyen's money.
When asked why Nguyen had so much cash, Ohlson responded, "I think it doesn't matter. I think the point is as long as there is U.S. currency in circulation, and we're allowed to have it, you can carry it."
This case seems to raise a lot of questions about all of our rights as citizens. The Humboldt County Sheriff Ed Kilgore was asked if he had any concerns about how the money was seized during this stop.
"At this point, I can't comment, since its an active litigation," Kilgore said.
But Humboldt County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pasquale responded by saying, "If we think the money was obtained illegally, we have a right to seize it."
Does law enforcement have that kind of power? That's the question. This case is now headed to federal court, where a judge will decide whether authorities had a right to take Nguyen's money.
"You can have $50 and decide to buy drugs with it," Ohlson concluded. "But until you by the drugs, there's no crime."
Ohlson says he has heard of several other similar cases, where people had their money seized even though they were not charged with a crime. So far, only one known lawsuit has been filed.
“But Humboldt County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pasquale responded by saying, “If we think the money was obtained illegally, we have a right to seize it.”
Not if they prove it. Just if they think it. This guy needs to be fired.
They are taking their lead from mac daddy, mac daddy disregards laws so why not them.
Policing for profit, when Rule of Law has died in your local Socialist police state tyranny.
Yes, and they do so at least every April 15th.
Fourth Amendment - 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.
They can't write a law that allows seizure without court oversight. This needs to be challenged properly.
If I was ever carrying 50 grand in cash at one time, then yeah, I’d be nervous.
I read somewhere all paper money has traces of drugs on it.
Police:”all your cash are belong to us!”
I think Mr. Pasquale and the officer involved should have all their personal Possessions seized including ALL their finances because It appears they both Committed Fraud on the public by possing as LEO when in fact they are nothing but a couple of NAZIS.
Government has no “rights”, only duties, protecting and defending The Constitution is first and foremost!
Cops seize money all the time. They get to keep a portion of it. They do it for their budgets. It’s blatantly unconstitutional, but our horrid courts let them get away with it.
>>> But Humboldt County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pasquale responded by saying, “If we think the money was obtained illegally, we have a right to seize it.”
The Assistant DA doesn’t need laws or any proof, just as long THE THINK it is illegal?
I am thinking of a huge settlement.
When I hear of stories like this I always wonder how the cash was found. Are these vehicles being searched without cause as well?
“In this incident report, Sergeant Dove observed that Nguyen seemed “nervous”, was “argumentative”, and that the car smelled of marijuana. No drugs were found during the stop.”
Uh huh. /spit
Used to be the cops needed "probably cause." A bunch of courts have said just having that much money on you IS "probable cause," so yeah, the cops can just seize it.
Now, can they keep it? Some courts have basically said you basically have to PROVE that you did not acquire the money illegally, or the cops can keep it!
Yeah, War on Drugs...
Where have these people been....Asset Forfeiture goes back almost 30 years now, part and parcel of The Drug War. Currency and property are deemed “guilty”, and seized from the citizenry. The person then has to prove it was not gained through illegal activity to get it back.
Old news is so exciting.
Cops are required to REQUEST to search the vehicle... so what happens if the driver had said “no?” They just tase him and start rifling through his stuff anyway?
Sounds to me like a the cops have quite the racket going.
“car smelled of marijuana”
The smell triggers the search.
The presumption of innocence does not apply to property. The citizen has to prove the money and/or propery was acquired legally to get it back. Seriously, this horse left the barn a long time ago.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.