Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

“Heap no abuse upon judges”

Ira Stoll recalls a verse from Exodus — translated in the New Berkeley Version of the Christian Bible as “Heap no abuse upon judges” — and notes that the temptation to excoriate judges over unwelcome rulings knows no place or era. Ken White at Popehat pens an explainer, “Is there anything unusual about Judge Curiel’s orders in the Trump University case?” Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales kinda-sorta defends the propriety of litigants’ blasting judges, though in a left-handed way (“if I were a litigant who was concerned about the judge’s impartiality, I certainly would not deal with it in a public manner as Trump has, because it demeans the integrity of the judicial office and thus potentially undermines the independence of the judiciary, especially coming from a man who could be president by this time next year.”), drawing a response from Cassandra Robertson via Jonathan Adler. Eugene Volokh examines the no-not-even-close-on-current-evidence case for Curiel’s recusal. Earlier on the controversy here.

Meanwhile, journalists in Detroit have been recalling the story of the flamboyant, litigious, floppy-haired millionaire populist known for his willingness to insult judges and everyone else, who shoved aside the conventional pols to capture a major party nomination. Of course I’m referring to the 1998 run for governor of Michigan of attorney Geoffrey Fieger, a longtime Overlawyered favorite [Deadline Detroit, Zachary Gorchow/Gongwer]

And also relating to this year’s presidential race, I discussed the Libertarians’ ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld and its attractions in an interview with Mona Charen for her Ricochet podcast “Need to Know” with Jay Nordlinger. More here.

P.S.: Where might a candidate have learned to rant against federal judges who don’t rule his way as “corrupt”? Maybe from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Environment roundup

  • Remembering William Tucker, author of books on many subjects including the 1982 classic on environmentalism, Progress and Privilege, and a valued friend of long standing [RealClearEnergy, where he was founding editor]
  • Scalia took lead in defending property rights vs. regulatory takings, but mostly not by deploying originalist analysis. A missed opportunity, thinks Ilya Somin;
  • What? Children in parts of Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, etc. have higher blood lead levels than in Flint [Detroit News] Flint water department didn’t use standard $150/day neutralizing treatment. Why not? [Nolan Finley, Detroit News] Children in Michigan generally ten years ago had higher prevalence of lead in blood at concern thresholds than children in Flint today [David Mastio, USA Today] Earlier here and here;
  • On eminent domain, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz seem to be “talking past each other, about two different things” [Gideon Kanner]
  • Saboteurs going after Canadian pipelines [CBC]
  • “Mission or Craftsman style” was insisted on, but the resulting vacant lot doesn’t seem to be either: south L.A. grocery scheme dies after decade-long urban-planning fight [Los Angeles Times]
  • As prices plunge: “Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone?” [Ronald Bailey, Reason]

Environment roundup

Forfeiture roundup

  • “Justice Department suspends abusive asset forfeiture program – for now” [Ilya Somin]
  • Tulsa sheriff steers seizures to judge it once employed, invokes unclaimed property law which dodges burden of proof [The Frontier]
  • Op-ed claims that if Maryland cops grab your stuff you must be a “drug dealer,” trial or no [Joseph Cassilly, Baltimore Sun]
  • Quest for revenue-self-sufficient law enforcement can end in “independent, self-funding armed gangs” [Noah Smith, Bloomberg View]
  • “Get rid of policing for profit in Michigan” [Angela Erickson, Detroit News]
  • Congress has twice tried to make it easier for prevailing claimants to recover attorneys’ fees when recovering seized property, but the government finds ways to slip around [Scott Greenfield]
  • Value of assets seized by law enforcement in U.S. in 2014 exceeds value taken by burglars [Armstrong Economics]

December 23 roundup

“Snyder signs forfeiture reform laws”

Congratulations to my home state of Michigan, which recently enacted reforms to its civil asset forfeiture laws. “The bipartisan legislation is supported by groups as diverse as the ACLU of Michigan and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Both say the bills Snyder signed today are a significant improvement but don’t go far enough.” Elements of the reform include a move from preponderance-of-the-evidence to clear-and-convincing-evidence and greater transparency and disclosure about the uses of forfeiture. Michigan has been the scene of a number of episodes of aggressive use of forfeiture law in recent years, including a raid on a monthly party at the Museum of Contemporary Art for which the museum had failed to get a proper alcohol license; police confiscated patrons’ cars as well as ticketing them for “loitering in a place of illegal occupation.” [Detroit Free Press]

Forfeiture roundup

  • How does your state rank on asset forfeiture laws? [Michael Greibok, FreedomWorks via Scott Shackford] Maryland delegate alleges that vetoed bill “would have made it easier for criminals to get their forfeited property back,” seemingly unaware that it focused on rights of owners *not* found guilty of anything [Haven Shoemaker, Carroll County Times] Arizona counties said to have nearly free rein in spending money [Arizona Republic via Coyote]
  • I took part last week in a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on civil asset forfeiture, sponsored by Right on Crime, and it went very well I thought [Sarah Gompper, FreedomWorks]
  • “Nail Salon Owner Sues For Return Of Life Savings Seized By DEA Agents At Airport” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt] And: “A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California.” [Cushing]
  • “How Philadelphia seizes millions in ‘pocket change’ from some of the city’s poorest residents” [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “Wonkblog”]
  • IRS drops structuring forfeiture case against N.C. convenience store owner Lyndon McLellan, will return more than $107,000 it seized [Institute for Justice]
  • Canada, too, has civil forfeiture when there has been no criminal conviction [British Columbia Civil Liberties Association]
  • Michigan testimony: “After they breached the door at gunpoint with masks, they proceeded to take every belonging in my house” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Town of Richland, Mississippi, population 7,000, builds $4.1 million police headquarters with forfeiture money. Thanks, passing motorists! [Steve Wilson, Mississippi Watchdog via Radley Balko]

A Michigan forfeiture pattern

After crooks sell bogus insurance coverage to credulous Michigan auto owners, cops swoop down and seize/forfeit victims’ cars for having been operated without insurance. Crooks and cops, stronger together! [Juan Thompson, The Intercept]

Also on forfeiture: if you’re in the D.C. area mark your calendar for June 26 when I will be appearing at a Right on Crime panel discussion of the subject in downtown D.C. along with Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and Jason Pye of FreedomWorks, with John Malcolm of Heritage moderating. You can register and see more details here.

Update February 2016: Note added correction from The Intercept observing that the work of reporter Williams on other stories has come under question; they indicate, however, that the essentials of this story do check out.