Police highway stop forfeiture shenanigans continue in the Volunteer State, assisted by dog alerts. [Nashville News Channel 5]
Hilarious: Steven Pearlstein column gloats re: unstoppable UAW-at-Volkswagen tide of history, reaches print after vote [WaPo; “claque,” “rabid,” “Babbitts,” etc.] “We also looked at the track record of the UAW. Why buy a ticket on the Titanic?” [Reuters] “No wonder they wanted card check.” [Mickey Kaus; more, Kevin Williamson]
A Tennessee defense counsel’s funny response to an opposing prosecutor’s ill-considered in limine motion asking not to be referred to as “The Government.” [Lowering the Bar]
- Stop and bleed: Tennessee rolls out “no refusal” blood-draw DUI driver checkpoints, which already go on in Texas [WTVF, Reddit, Tom Hunter/Liberal America, Charles “Brad” Frye (Texas practice)]
- Issues raised by growing practice of placing government “monitors” inside businesses to police compliance [Veronica Root, Prawfs]
- “Faulty Justice: Italian Earthquake Scientist Speaks Out against His Conviction” [Scientific American]
- California: suit could probe patterns of harassment against Orange County officials who’ve resisted police union demands [Krayewski, earlier]
- Illinois “[makes] it a felony to flick cigarette butts onto streets for the third time” [Gideon’s Trumpet]
- Before making laws intended to benefit sex workers, take time to listen to them [Popehat via Maggie McNeill]
- Report: state of Florida investigating Zimmerman prosecutor Angela Corey over sacking of alleged whistleblower [Washington Times, earlier] “A Visitor’s Guide to Florida’s Most Notorious Law Enforcement Agencies” [Mike Riggs, Atlantic Cities]
Half a century ago, selling the Tennessee Valley Authority was regarded as a free-marketeers’ politically impossible dream. Now guess who’s for it — and who’s against. (Hint on the latter: R-Tenn.) [Knoxville News via Future of Capitalism]
P.S. More on this welcome Obama initiative from Chris Edwards: “former Cato chairman Bill Niskanen was barred by Congress for even looking into TVA reform when he was on President Reagan’s CEA.” So progress marches on. And: Fortune 1933 article on TVA.
- Abuse of out-of-state motorists an issue: “The Perils of Policing for Profit: Why Tennessee should reform its civil asset forfeiture laws” [Beacon Center, earlier]
- Manhattan: “Lawyer takes plea in $279M no-fault auto insurance fraud case” [ABA Journal]
- “AAA Warns of ‘Dangerous’ Free Market in Parking Spaces” [Matt Yglesias, Slate via Tim Carney]
- Negotiated rates on auto loans at dealerships might violate Obama administration’s disparate-impact guidelines [Roger Clegg]
- Not great for Law dot com’s credibility: Corp Counsel mag throws in with “sudden acceleration” goofery; and here’s an effort to gear up acceleration claims against Ford too.
- Ethanol group menaces Phillips with antitrust charge unless it alters franchiser rule [Alexander Cohen, Atlas]
- “Two researchers call for installing technology to disable cellphones in moving cars” [L.A.Times via Fair Warning]
- Press accounts have exposed a pattern of police stops of out of state motorists in rural Tennessee, in which police search motorists’ cars and then confiscate large sums of money they find on the presumption that it is criminal-related. Now, in Henry, Tennessee — named after Patrick Henry, of “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” fame — the police chief has told the town he needs a police dog because “the city is missing out on possible revenues” [dog testimonials; more Tennessee, via Eapen Thampy of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, guestblogging last month at Radley Balko’s Agitator site]
- Also via Thampy, economically hard-hit Butte County, California, north of Sacramento, has been filling its budget hole through pot-grower busts accompanied by aggressive forfeitures; in a perhaps not unrelated phenomenon, the county snatches kids from parents at an exceedingly high rate. More on child protective services in Butte County at the Chico News & Review (& more: Angela Bacca, SKUNK).
- Via Ilya Somin, this from a Steven Greenhut column:
Few groups of “sinners” were singled out in biblical accounts more than “tax collectors,” who were not merely state agents collecting revenues that taxpayers rightfully owed to the government. They were the source of particular loathing because they were extortionists, who profited personally by shaking down as much money from citizens as possible…
The Gospel accounts provide an early lesson in the danger of marrying the profit motive with governmental power. The possibility for abuse is great. Yet throughout the United States, government agencies increasingly rely on “civil forfeiture” to bolster their strained budgets. The more assets these modern-day tax collectors seize, the more money they have for new equipment and other things….
- From reader John Brewer, on an Ohio gardening-equipment seizure: “Structurally, it seems even worse to have the judge who originally signed the search warrant have a say in what gets done with the confiscated stuff than it does for the cops/DA to get it, despite the cute-and-cuddly outcome here.”
- Tomorrow’s abuses today: the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms [BATF] has just been given a major enhancement to its forfeiture powers. [David Kopel/Volokh]
- For more information on this subject, check out the many online resources offered by the Cato Institute; Cato scholars took an early interest in exposing the problems of civil and criminal asset forfeiture, and our focus on the issue continues to this day. More: Scott Greenfield. (& Tim Lynch, PoliceMisconduct.net)
- Congress, HUD face off on “disparate impact” in housing and housing finance [WSJ edit, Clegg/NRO] Wells Fargo says it didn’t base loans on race but will pay $175 million to end federal probe [Reuters]
- Maryland vs. Virginia: if only there were a government that was consistent about favoring liberty [John Walters, Maryland Public Policy Institute]
- British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal levies $3000 against husband-and-wife owners of bed-and-breakfast who canceled reservation of gay couple based on religious objections [Religion Clause, The Province] UK: “‘Gay flatmate wanted’ ads break equality laws” [Telegraph] See our earlier coverage of the Ninth Circuit Roommate.com case here and here.
- “Lifeguard fired for saving drowning person — outside his designated zone.” [NBC Miami via @commongood]
- “Do you want to be informed about the constant, infuriating corporate welfare for professional sports owners? Follow FieldOfSchemes.com” [Matt Welch]
- Negligent entrustment lawsuit against parents who let 33 year old daughter drive car yields $1.2 million in Tennessee [Knoxville News]
- Pretrial and discovery: “New York state bar recommends federal litigation reforms” [Reuters]
- Appalling: localities partner with tax-farming “probation” firms to run up routine misdemeanor fines into crushing debts for citizenry [NYT, Tuccille/Reason] “Pay Up: Criminal Justice Debt in Philadelphia” [Penn Law/YouTube, Brennan Center]
- “The institute estimates a wrongful conviction rate in sex assault cases of between 8-15%” [Richmond Times-Dispatch; Urban Institute via Balko] For the guilty, marginalization may worsen recidivism: “Do Sex Offender Registries Make Us Less Safe?” [Prescott, Regulation mag, PDF] Sex-offense detention for dollars [Greenfield]
- Majority of Florida voters support Stand Your Ground [Quinnipiac; Glyn/NRO; earlier, Sun-Sentinel] Collection of cases in which Florida SYG defense was asserted [Tampa Bay Times; Ta-Nehisi Coates; Jacob Sullum on TBT’s slant, related by Sullum here and here] Bipartisan origins of Florida SYG statute differ greatly from what you may have heard [Daily Caller, auto-plays video] “Two studies on Stand Your Ground” [Robert VerBruggen/NRO] Florida lawyer Troy Webber’s analysis of law [Hussein & Webber] Related: Jeralyn Merritt.
- Problems with police dogs as evidence [Balko, Greenfield]
- Tennessee: “Mom jailed for letting kids play at park” [Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids, related]
- Tenth Circuit adopts broad view of already-broad federal wire fraud statute [Paul Enzinna/PoL]
- New Gotham law will fine taxi drivers up to $10K for giving ride to a prostitute, drivers will have to take a course on recognizing what hookers look like [Amy Alkon]
Nice $22,000 you’re carrying, Mister Motorist, but I think it would look nicer in the police department’s bank account [News Channel 5 Nashville via Radley Balko]. Driver George Reby, a professional insurance adjuster from New Jersey, was then permitted to go on his way since he “hadn’t committed a criminal law [violation],” as the police officer later explained to a reporter. It happened in Monterey, Tenn., not Monterrey, Mexico.