Friday, April 07, 2006

Feds hit new low

Taking forfeiture to the next level.
A defense expert and the attorneys for two men facing federal drug charges in Tacoma are crying foul over efforts by federal prosecutors and officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to have the gold-capped teeth — commonly called "grills" or "grillz" — removed from their clients' mouths.

"I've been doing this for over 30 years and I have never heard of anything like this," said Richard Troberman, past president of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and an expert on forfeiture law. "It sounds like Nazi Germany when they were removing the gold teeth from the bodies, but at least then they waited until they were dead."
Amen to that. These guys weren't even convicted yet and the government issues orders to remove their fillings? The cops claim they didn't know the grillz were permanently bonded or they wouldn't have tried to take them. These grillz are apparently worth from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Even if they were worth a few thou, are they saying they think it's okay to seize body parts under forfeiture?

The experts, along with myself, are awaiting with interest the unsealing of the records to see "what legal or evidentiary argument led the judge to sign the warrant."
"This is especially egregious because these two had not been convicted and are presumed to be innocent," added forfeiture expert Troberman, who is not involved in the case. "What are they going to do next? Start taking artificial limbs from amputees?"
Not to mention they attempted this seizure under secret order. The defendants were thrown in a van and told they were on their way to dentist to have the grillz removed. If they hadn't reached their lawyers, these two would have been living with some serious dental damage.

The almost happened because the defendants were charged with a drug violation. They're not allowed to treat murderers and rapists like that.

[hat tip Mad Maxx]


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