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Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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George F. Will: Lucrative law enforcement will become lawless

Tyson Timbs made a mistake, but not one as important as Indiana’s Supreme Court made in allowing to stand the punishment the state inflicted on him. He was a drug addict – first with opioids prescribed for a work-related injury, then heroin – when his father died. He blew the $73,000 insurance payout on drugs and a $41,558 Land Rover, which he drove when selling $225 worth of drugs – 2 grams of heroin – to undercover police officers. Timbs’ vehicle was seized and kept, which amounted to a fine more than 184 times larger than the sum involved in his offense. Come Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments concerning whether this violated the Eighth Amendment, which says: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” (Emphasis added.)

Bipartisan civil forfeiture bill clears House on unanimous vote

Idaho's House has cleared a proposal designed to rein in when police can take a citizen's property. House members on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation forbidding police officers from seizing cash or property simply because it was in close proximity to an illegal substance...

Don’t revive civil asset seizures

It’s the kind of governmental overreach that should generate outrage in every American, no matter one’s political preferences. It doesn’t honor the U.S. Constitution; it perverts it.

Civil asset forfeiture reform bill clears Idaho House

An Idaho proposal to limit when police can take a citizen's property cleared its latest hurdle Thursday despite warnings from critics that doing so will mean the Legislature is softening its stance on crime, the AP reports. House members voted 58-10 to advance legislation that would forbid police from seizing cash or property simply because...

Shawn Vestal: When cops seize property, due process is lacking

When the president met with law enforcement officials this week, what made news was his flip comment that he might “destroy” a state senator’s career. What got less attention was the nature of the proposal being discussed: A sheriff was complaining about a bill to limit the government’s ability to seize and keep the cars, homes and other property of criminal suspects who have not been convicted of a crime.

Idaho lawmakers consider changing asset forfeiture laws

Two state lawmakers are working on a bill to change laws police use to seize property during drug seizure cases. Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, is working on the bill with Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, in hopes of ensuring property is only seized if it is directly connected to drug crimes, The Times-News reports...

U.S. court reverses record forfeiture order over Iran assets

A record terrorism-related forfeiture order benefiting families of some Sept. 11 victims and others was reversed on appeal Wednesday, leaving in doubt what will happen to a $1 billion Manhattan office building at the center of the legal case.

Spokane police force hires fraud investigator

A fraud investigator from the federal public defender’s office has joined the Spokane Police Department to focus on improving the city’s seizures of drug assets, implementing new laws legalizing marijuana and updating records management. Tim Schwering, 40, will serve as deputy director of tactical and strategic initiatives, a new position that will be a point of contact between the department and the city attorney’s office.

Drug case financial boon for state, CdA police

BOISE – Former Coeur d’Alene gold and coin dealer Robert Leon Mertens has been behind bars since 2004, serving a 37-year term in federal prison for drug trafficking, firearms violations and money laundering. But his case brought good news to law enforcement agencies in Idaho on Wednesday. After seven years, all appeals and asset forfeiture proceedings in the case have been completed. As a result, the Idaho State Police got a check for $456,446; the Coeur d’Alene Police Department’s share was $18,630.