GUN Stay the fuck out of Tenaha, TX

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Crossett, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Crossett

    Crossett New Member

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    TENAHA — A two-decade-old state law that grants authorities the power to seize property used in a crime is wielded by some agencies against people who are never charged with, much less convicted, of a crime.

    Law enforcement authorities in this East Texas town of 1,000 people seized property from at least 140 motorists between 2006 and 2008, and, to date, filed criminal charges against fewer than half, according to a San Antonio Express-News review of court documents.

    Virtually anything of value was up for grabs: cash, cell phones, personal jewelry, a pair of sneakers, and often, the very car that was being driven through town. Some affidavits filed by officers relied on the presence of seemingly innocuous property as the only evidence that a crime had occurred.

    Linda Dorman, a great-grandmother from Akron, Ohio, had $4,000 in cash taken from her by local authorities when she was stopped while driving through town after visiting Houston in April 2007. Court records make no mention that anything illegal was found in her van and show no criminal charges filed in the case. She is still waiting for the return of what she calls “her life savings.”

    Dorman’s attorney, David Guillory, calls the roadside stops and seizures in Tenaha “highway piracy,” undertaken by a couple of law enforcement officers whose agencies get to keep most of what is seized.
    Guillory is suing officials in Tenaha and Shelby County on behalf of Dorman and nine other clients who were stripped of their property. All were African-Americans driving either rentals or vehicles with out-of-state plates.

    Lawsuit filed

    Guillory alleges in the lawsuit that while his clients were detained, they were presented with an ultimatum: waive your rights to your property in exchange for a promise to be released and not be criminally charged. Guillory said most did as Dorman did, signing the waiver to avoid jail.

    The state’s asset seizure law doesn’t require that law enforcement agencies file criminal charges in civil forfeiture cases.

    It requires only a preponderance of evidence that the property was used in the commission of certain crimes, such as drug crimes, or bought with proceeds of those crimes. That’s a lesser burden than that required in a criminal case.

    But Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said the state’s asset forfeiture law is being abused by enough jurisdictions across the state that he wants to rewrite major sections of it this year.

    “The idea that people lose their property but are never charged and never get it back, that’s theft as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

    Supporters tout the state’s forfeiture law, when used right, as an essential law enforcement tool, allowing state and local departments the ability to go after criminals using the criminals’ money. Law enforcement agencies last year captured tens of millions of dollars from such seizures statewide, according to records from Whitmire’s office.

    But in Tenaha, a town of chicken farms that hugs the Louisiana border, critics say being a black out-of-towner passing through with anything of value is almost evidence of a crime.

    Town needs revenue

    Tenaha Mayor George Bowers, 80, defended the seizures, saying they allowed a cash-poor city the means to add a second police car in a two-policeman town and help pay for a new police station. “It’s always helpful to have any kind of income to expand your police force,” Bowers said.

    Local police, he said, must take aggressive action to stem the drug trade that flows through town via U.S. 59. “No doubt about it. (Highway 59) is a thoroughfare that a lot of no-good people travel on. They take the drugs and sell it and take the money and go right back into Mexico,” said Bowers, who has been Tenaha’s mayor for 54 years.

    Bowers said he would defer questions about whether innocent people were being stripped of their property to Shelby County District Attorney Lynda Russell.

    Russell could not be reached for comment, and her attorney declined comment. Randy Whatley, a local constable who himself deposited $115,000 into the county’s seizure account for fiscal year 2007 — state records show $45,000 was eventually returned to their owners — also could not be reached for comment. Russell, Whatley and Bowers are named in Guillory’s lawsuit.

    Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos said the state’s forfeiture law, which last year put millions in the coffers of local law enforcement agencies, including hers, takes some of the profit out of crime. “These ill-gotten gains are used to further the aims of law enforcement and public safety,” she said. “It’s kind of poetic justice, isn’t it?”

    Lykos praises law

    Lykos believes the law, if followed, provides citizens with adequate safeguards. Local police and attorneys in her office, she said, are well-versed in what constitutes adequate evidence for seizures. Rarely, she said, do seizures take place locally without the filing of criminal charges.

    In Shelby County, the district attorney made legal agreements with some individuals that her office would not file criminal charges so long as the property owner waived all rights to the valuables.

    “In exchange for (respondent) signing the agreed order of forfeiture, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office agrees to reject charges of money laundering pending at this time,” read one waiver, dated April 10, 2007.

    The property owners named in the waiver had just signed over $7,342 in cash, their 1994 Chevrolet Suburban, a cell phone, a BlackBerry and a stone necklace.

    The law, forbids a peace officer at the time of seizure to “request, require or in any manner induce any person . . . to execute a document purporting to waive the person’s interest in or rights to the property.”

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6252365.html
     
  2. spankaveli

    spankaveli OT Supporter

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    :mamoru:

    :o
     
  3. spankaveli

    spankaveli OT Supporter

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    Hey, you said it. :o
     
  4. LancerV

    LancerV Something Happened OT Supporter

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    This is why you need to carry a gun.
     
  5. Crossett

    Crossett New Member

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    what, so they can take that too?

    you going to pull your gun on a cop at a traffic stop?
     
  6. LancerV

    LancerV Something Happened OT Supporter

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    If they tried showing deadly force with out justification yes.

    And its legal in Texas :coold:
     
  7. Crossett

    Crossett New Member

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    Justified or not, I see that as a great way to get shot, and I really doubt any repercussions would happen to the cop.
     
  8. LancerV

    LancerV Something Happened OT Supporter

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    Well you would shoot him you wouldnt just pull it out and start waving it around. Lets say you tell him no and than he pulls a gun out drawn, thats when you can legally shoot him.

    Its legal in Texas to use deadly force against a cop if you even feel you life is in danger. Not saying it wouldn't go to trial.

    (a) Except as provided in Subsection (b), a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful force.

    (b) The use of force against another is not justified:

    (1) in response to verbal provocation alone;

    (2) to resist an arrest or search that the actor knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer's presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful, unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c);

    (3) if the actor consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other;

    (4) if the actor provoked the other's use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless

    (A) the actor abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely abandon the encounter; and

    (B) the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the actor; or

    (5) if the actor sought an explanation from or discussion with the other person concerning the actor's differences with the other person while the actor was:

    (A) carrying a weapon in violation of Section 46.02; or

    (B) possessing or transporting a weapon in violation of Section 46.05.

    (c) The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified:

    (1) if, before the actor offers any resistance, the peace officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and

    (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the peace officer's (or other person's) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary.

    (d) The use of deadly force is not justified under this subchapter except as provided in Sections 9.32, 9.33, and 9.34.

    ec. 9.32. DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON. (a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another:

    (1) if the actor would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31; and

    (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

    (A) to protect the actor against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or

    (B) to prevent the other's imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

    (b) The actor's belief under Subsection (a)(2) that the deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:

    (1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used:

    (A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor's occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;

    (B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor's habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or

    (C) was committing or attempting to commit an offense described by Subsection (a)(2)(B);

    (2) did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and

    (3) was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

    (c) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this section.

    (d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.

    Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 5316, ch. 977, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 235, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1, Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2007.


    Sec. 9.33. DEFENSE OF THIRD PERSON. A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect a third person if:

    (1) under the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.31 or 9.32 in using force or deadly force to protect himself against the unlawful force or unlawful deadly force he reasonably believes to be threatening the third person he seeks to protect; and

    (2) the actor reasonably believes that his intervention is immediately necessary to protect the third person.

    Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.


    Sec. 9.34. PROTECTION OF LIFE OR HEALTH. (a) A person is justified in using force, but not deadly force, against another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent the other from committing suicide or inflicting serious bodily injury to himself.

    (b) A person is justified in using both force and deadly force against another when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force or deadly force is immediately necessary to preserve the other's life in an emergency.

    Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994.
     
  9. Fire Sauce

    Fire Sauce New Member

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    That legal argument worked out pretty well for these guys, too.

    [y]XmYe_lW7kRA[/y]
     
  10. smartypants

    smartypants New Member

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    Good luck with that shit lancer.
     
  11. 7

    7 First comes smiles, then lies. Last is gunfire.

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    Lets pull guns on cops that have already drawn on us!
     
  12. 98dirtybird

    98dirtybird OT Supporter

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    "i am the law!"
     
  13. smartypants

    smartypants New Member

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    Let him know the law:rofl:
     
  14. nozoki

    nozoki Hail to the king, baby.

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    I love the justification that the extra income helped the city buy a new police car and build a new police station. That's like Hitler saying seizing all the Jew's property was justified because the extra cash came in handy when building those new concentration camps.
     
  15. TXTurbo930

    TXTurbo930 As a matter O' fact I do have Booooost! OT Supporter

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    Could this be brought up as a federal issue and should it be investigated by the FBI?.... or perhaps send in the Texas Rangers to go get medieval on there asses. :rl::x:
     
  16. 4W4K3

    4W4K3 New Member

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    I wouldn't bring a gun...I'd bring a video camera.

    A hidden video camera that is.
     
  17. Crossett

    Crossett New Member

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    where asses? :noes:
     
  18. Bobalu

    Bobalu New Member

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    "they're the police you have do what they say!"

    but i'll make sure to avoid that town if ever in texas
     
  19. Cannondale

    Cannondale OT Supporter

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    Luckily it's really easy to avoid that town, it's small and very much out of the way for any interstate driving.
     
  20. john in jax

    john in jax New Member

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    Last night PBS had an hour long show on Tulia, TX and how the police allegedly trumped up charges on lots of black people in the town in order to get federal drug task force money/grants.

    Sounds like TX has it's share of LEO issues
     

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