Tag Archives: criminal

Four Reforms to Note in Oklahoma Personal Asset Protection Act SB 838

scale_of_justice

Kaye Beach

Sept. 20, 2015

Sen. Kyle Loveless is the author of SB 838, the Personal Asset Protection Act which would give more protection to innocent property owners from the practice of civil asset forfeiture.   It is a good bill but to my dismay, I keep running into misconceptions about the measure.  Legislation is a little tricky to read and often, the media does not break them down very well.

In this post, I will show you the bill and point out the four major reforms it would accomplish.

A tiny bit of background first.  Civil asset forfeiture allows the government to take property that they assert to have been gained or used in the commission of a crime.

There is a difference between civil and criminal asset forfeiture.

Civil Forfeiture
Civil forfeitures are based on the unlawful use of a property irrespective of an owner’s culpability. Civil forfeitures followed the rules of civil procedure.

Criminal Forfeiture
Criminal forfeitures are subject to all the constitutional and statutory procedural safeguards available under criminal law. The forfeiture case and the criminal case are tried together. Forfeiture counts must be included in the indictment of the defendant which means the grand jury must find a basis for the forfeiture. At trial, the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read more

Unlike criminal asset forfeiture, civil asset forfeiture does not require a conviction. In fact, the person who has their property taken under civil asset forfeiture may not even be charged with any crime.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Over a five-year period, law enforcement officials in 12 Oklahoma Counties seized more than $6 million in cash, almost $4 million of which was taken without any criminal charges…
Records indicate that of the $6.1 million dollars taken, only $2.1 million was seized from people who were actually charged with a crime, meaning more than 65 percent of the cash seized was taken without any criminal charges being filed.
Read more

Some legal experts would like to see asset forfeiture ended with few exceptions but most states aren’t willing to simply banish the practice. In the meantime, important reforms can and should be made.
Scott Bullock, senior attorney at the Institute for Justice offers five recommendations for states who are will not summarily call a halt to asset forfeiture. He recommends that states:
1. Place seized revenues in neutral funds
2. Increase the standard of proof for seizure to require “clear and convincing evidence” of a crime,
3. move the burden of proof to the government,
4. Make the tracking of seized assets more transparent,
5. Eliminate “equitable sharing” arrangements.

Link

SB 838 by Sen. Loveless would accomplish three out of those five reform recommendations (plus one more important one that is not on Bullock’s list )

I have heard some people say  that the only thing that this bill does is take the proceeds gained through civil asset forfeiture away from the police and give them to the state.   It’s not true.

I find four substantial reforms in SB838 in addition to removing the profit incentive for civil asset forfeiture.

1) SB 838 requires a conviction before property can be taken by the government
2) SB 838 puts the burden of proof on the government taking the property.  They have to prove guilt rather than the individual being threatened with the loss of their property having to prove innocence
3) SB 838 raises the amount of evidence required for the government to take the property
4) SB 838 increases due process by providing trial by jury to all who are involved in an asset forfeiture claim by the state.

If removing the direct profit incentive by moving the funds gained through asset forfeiture to the state’s general fund as proposed by SB 838, seems problematic to you, Sen. Loveless has gone on record stating that he is open to other methods of putting a buffer between the profit and the agency seizing the property.

So, let’s take a look at the actual bill, SB838

Remember, when reading amendatory legislation such as SB 838,  only the underlined or stuck though language is new (the changes being proposed by the bill) the rest is just a recitation of current law.

The very first thing SB 838 does is require that there be a conviction before taking a persons property by adding the language “upon a person’s conviction”

upon CONVICTION sb838

Currently there is no qualification that the property is subject to forfeiture only after a conviction. (That is why it is called civil as opposed to criminal asset forfeiture)

If SB 838 became law, The property could still be seized if the officer or agency has a reasonable suspicion that there is criminal wrongdoing associated with it however,  a criminal conviction would be required before property could be taken (forfeited).

As I read it, this bill would end civil asset forfeiture. All asset forfeitures would have to be criminal.

The next thing the bill does is strikes the portion of  existing law that puts the burden of proof on the individual having his property taken.

sb838 removes burden of proof from the individual

The third thing that SB838 does is increase the amount of evidence required for the government to take a person’s property.

SB838 would require “clear and convincing evidence” to be established before your property can be taken by the government.

cc sb838

Currently the standard for the state taking ownership of your property is by a “preponderance of the evidence” which means simply that if there is one feather weight of evidence that lends more than 50% certainty that plaintiff’s (in this case, the state) version of events is true, then they can take your cash or property from you.

“Clear and convincing evidence” raises the bar and affords much better protection to the innocent property owner.

The fourth reform in SB 838 is the addition of the right to a jury trial for any party to a forfeiture action.  It is my understanding that currently, there is no right to a jury trial in civil cases  involving less than $1,500.

jury trial
This language will afford greater due process in civil asset forfeiture cases.

The remainder of SB 838 deals with removing the direct profit incentive by requiring that the proceeds from asset forfeiture be moved to the state’s general fund. Currently the proceeds go directly to the agencies that forfeit the property and the concern is that this incentivizes civil asset forfeiture.

In my opinion, this bill simply affords Oklahomans the basic justice that those who have not run up against a civil asset forfeiture claim, think they already have.

Texas DPS’ Face and ALL Ten Prints Biometric Policy Makes Everone a Suspect

lineup

Kaye Beach
July 14, 2014

Like Oklahoma, Texas requires applicants for a state drivers license or ID card to submit to his or her facial and finger biometrics to being captured and stored. But Texas has recently upped the ante requiring those who wish to have a state issued driver’s license of ID card, to submit to the scanning and retention of all ten fingerprints.

Texas lawmakers have passed legislation that allows the Department of Public Safety to get all ten of your fingerprints the next time you renew your drivers license. And the DPS quietly began doing that this year.

‘To Cut Down On Fraud, DPS Wants Fingerprints To Renew Drivers License,’

If you are already offended by the notion of the notion of being fingerprinted like a common criminal just to get an driver’s license or ID card you will be horrified by what Ryan Barrett, a former DPS employee who resigned over the new fingerprinting policy, reveals about what is actually being done with the data.

His main objection, he tells The Watchdog, is that all fingerprints of Texans are now being run through the state’s criminal database. (my bold)

…Barrett says he is not against catching criminals. The problem, he says, is that if someone has no criminal record, a new record is created of the innocent individual and stored in the statewide database called AFIS.

…Barrett says he believes the reason DPS quietly launched the program this year without public announcement is because such a public notice would have touched off a debate about the program’s legality.

Read more, ‘The Watchdog: Whistleblower blasts DPS for taking fingerprints,’ July 12, 2014, DallasNews.com

Dave Lieber, Watchdog Reporter for the Dallas Morning News is doing a fine job of investigating and reporting on this story which he first reported  on back on June 7, 2014.

Watchdog: Driver’s license centers snatch your fingerprints

[. . .]Quietly, earlier this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety began requiring full sets of fingerprints from everyone who obtains a new driver’s license or photo identification card.

[. . .]Since 2010, Texas has used facial recognition software to match driver’s license photos with government databases looking for persons wanted by law enforcement for various reasons.

The state’s Image Verification System also matches known faces from driver’s licenses and photo ID cards with sketches of criminal suspects, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman explained in answer to The Watchdog’s questions.

[. . . ]In the Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan, which Marina found, authorities cite identity theft and terrorism as two motivators for using fingerprints and facial recognition software.

Checking fingerprints, the plan says, will help officials locate people seeking a second, unauthorized identification card.

The plan states that fingerprints will be compared with the federal Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System to identify criminals and terrorists.  Read more

July 12, 2014 article, The Watchdog: Whistleblower blasts DPS for taking fingerprints

And here is Lieber’s article published today, July 14, 2014, that allows the whistleblower and a representative for the Texas Department of Public Safety,  to both give their perspective in their own words.

Judge for yourself if fingerprint taking is necessary for Texas driver’s licenses

 

I love the DPS whistleblower, Ryan Barrett’s,  final thoughts on the matter.

‘…you can use any means or methods to stop crime and then justify it with the DPS’s blanket ‘safety’ statement.  You can say the DPS is placing RFID chips in all driver’s license holders, and then justify it with the the same sentence Tom used: that it stops fraud, combats terrorism, and keeps people safe.  In fact, I’m sure it probably would stop a little fraud, or some crime, but that doesn’t mean it is morally right, in line with the concept of citizens’ privacy, or cost-effective.  You could search every single house in a city when a crime is committed and justify it with that statement, and yes, the police would probably find some crime or wrong-doing.  But again, that doesn’t mean it’s morally right…’

Read more, ‘The Watchdog: Whistleblower blasts DPS for taking fingerprints,’ July 12, 2014, DallasNews.com

Friday on AxXiom For Liberty Live! Miles Kinard, Author, American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.

a4l 55

Kaye Beach

****Show Notes Posted Below*************

March, 21, 2013

This Friday on AxXiom For Liberty with Kaye Beach and Howard Houchen 6-8pm Central – Miles Kinard author of the magazine exposé, American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.

Listen Live-LogosRadioNetwork.com  click ‘Listen’ then choose your Internet speed.  Logos Radio Network is a listener supported, free speech radio network and your contributions are vital but you do not have to be a subscriber in order to hear the show.
american stasi

“This is no longer just a ‘surveillance state.’  We are on the fast track to a police state.” -Miles Kinard, interview with the Spingola Files, Dec. 2012

We are very excited to introduce you to Miles Kinard, researcher and author of the magazine exposé, American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.

What is a Fusion Center?

The principal role of the fusion center is to compile, analyze, and disseminate criminal/terrorist information and intelligence and other information (including, but not limited to, threat, public safety, law enforcement, public health, social services, and public works) to support efforts to anticipate, identify, prevent, and/or monitor criminal/terrorist activity.   http://www.scribd.com/doc/19251638/Fusion-Center-Guidelines-Law-Enforcement

I jumped on Mr. Kinard’s work on fusion centers last year when it was released and found his writing on the subject to be extremely lucid and his research, impeccable.  You can get it for a song and instant download at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/American-Stasi-Centers-Domesitc-ebook/dp/B006YZQFL8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327104356&sr=8-1

Miles Kinard’s work explores these secretive 9/11 domestic intelligence units that are considered key by the Department of Homeland Security in its quest to know everything about everybody all the time.

There is at least one of these relatively new intelligence centers located in every state (74 78 total) and precious little attention has been given to them by the mainstream media.

Secrecy, the waste of taxpayer dollars and especially the potential civil liberties violations were highlighted by Kinard’s work.  All of this and more was subsequently confirmed by a two-year bipartisan investigation by the U. S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which released a 107 page report last October.

Tonight we will get a chance to talk to Miles about the state fusion centers as part of what he refers to as the “Surveillance Industrial Complex” in general and discuss the implications of these state-based (but federally controlled) spy centers that he identified in his exposé .

Join us – Your questions or comments are always welcome!

CALL IN LINE 512-646-1984

 *******************SHOW NOTES**************************

Events:

common core not ok

Restore Oklahoma Public Education (R.O.P.E.)

Common Core is NOT OK!” Events

  • Wed., March 27th:   Common Core is NOT OK! Rally State Capitol, 2nd floor rotunda (Supreme Court hallway), Noon  Click here for rally info.
  • Thurs., March 28th:  State Board of Education meeting Oliver Hodge Educ. Bldg., room I-20, 9:30 a.m., Meeting instructions.

“The Common Core State Standards present a takeover of public education by a small group of individuals. This takeover will change the way that teachers teach, parents interact with their schools due to loss of local control, and present students with a narrow range of studies and increased standardized testing. Oklahomans must maintain local control over public education, therefore, we reject the Common Core State Standards.”  Read More from ROPE

FERPA, Amendemnts

rosakoare

April 5 & 6, 2013, Tulsa 9.12 will host a symposium on “Understanding Agenda 21.” Rosa Koire, author of “Behind the Green Mask” and founding member of Democrats Against Agenda 21, will be one of our many speakers. If you would like to learn more about Agenda 21 and how it affects you, please plan on joining us.

Understanding Agenda 21 – A Symposium  (You can RSVP on Facebook but Registration must be received by April 1st  REGISTER HERE

Referenced:

Testimony of Jennifer Lynch,  Electronic Frontier Foundation(EFF), Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, July 18, 2012

What Facial Recognition Technology Means for Privacy and Civil Liberties 

The Militarization of U.S. Domestic Policing

 Abigail R. Hall and Christopher J. Coyne
Abstract
This paper develops the political economy of the militarization of domestic policing.
We analyze the mechanisms through which the “protective state”—where the government utilizes its monopoly on force to protect citizens’ rights—devolves into a “predatory state” which undermines the rights of the populace. We apply our theory to the U.S.,where we trace the(failed) historical attempts to establish constraints nto separate the military functions and policing functions of government.
In doing so we emphasize the role of crises in the form of perpetual wars—the “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror”—in the accelerated militarization of domestic policing.

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Oklahoma Activist Gets the Hammer

Kaye Beach

June 3, 2011

As reported first by the Red Dirt Reporter, Andrew Griffin, The Sooner Tea Party’s HQ was burglarized last weekend.

Sooner Tea Party offices ransacked, records stolen

http://www.reddirtreport.com/Story.aspx/18661

Here is the Red Dirt Report follow up;

Rumored “threats” against Gerhart, Sooner Tea Party may be linked to burglary

OKLAHOMA CITY – Several days after discovering the headquarters of the Sooner Tea Party was burglarized over the Memorial Day weekend, organization leader Al Gerhart told Red Dirt Report late Thursday that he suspects it to be politically motivated.

And from NewsOK.com

Sooner Tea Party headquarters burglarized

. . . the burglars took a lot of Sooner Tea Party records, but passed over expensive tools and equipment in the west Oklahoma City carpentry shop where he kept the records. An air-conditioner and a laptop computer Gerhart used for his business were the most expensive items Gerhart mentioned as being taken.

Gerhart said he found his 2009 and 2010 tax records stacked by the door, but the burglars apparently forgot to load them

Read more

It isn’t only Gerhart who suspects that this is politically motivated.  I would venture so far as to say that it is obviously politically motivated and that is something that should concern every citizen of this state.

As I was informed recently by one irate legislator who had no qualms about venting fury at Al Gerhart by proxy-We all look the same to them

On May 19, 2011, I wrote,

Rep. Don Armes, upset over calls to his office made by the Sooner Tea Party’s Al Gerhart unleashed his fury on the two women in the House Lobby in front of a large number of astonished onlookers consisting of Capitol staff, lobbyists and visitors.  The tirade lasted for several minutes and despite protests from the pair of signature gatherers that they have no control over the actions of other activists, Armes continued with his finger in the face tirade against Gerhart saying “You all look the same to me!”

The insult to Oklahoma voters committed by Rep.  Armes yesterday is by no means the only contentious event that Oklahoma taxpayers have been treated to this session and . . . it certainly won’t be the last.

So what we are seeing, as noted in Rule #6 of AxXiom’s Ten Rules for Activists to Live By, the highest nail gets the hammer. 

Without a shadow of a doubt, that nail is Al Gerhart. 

He has made it a mission to get under the skin of legislators.  I encountered more than one irritated lawmaker when I was trying to collect signatures for the discharge petition at the end of session.  I asked one if Gerhart had done anything illegal. Had he lied or slandered them?  If so, there are legal remedies for that otherwise they are just being aggravated and this, I think, must rather go with the territory.

We should thank Mr. Gerhart for one thing, that by comparison, he makes the rest of us seem like very short nails.

There are activists and advocates for every issue under the sun.  I am personally most familiar with advocates for limited, constitutional government.  Under that heading we have activists that advocate for legal adherence to all ten of the Ten Amendments to the Bill of Rights. Most commonly this includes (but is not limited to) the First, Second, Fourth and Tenth Amendments, but also advocates for specific issues of peace, privacy, parental rights, freedom of information and transparency, free enterprise, sovereignty, property rights and more.

What do you really care about?  Is there any issue that you feel strongly enough about to;

  • Make a phone call or write an email?
  • Make a personal visit to a legislator?
  • Join a political interest group?
  • Hold a meeting?

Is there any issue that you feel is important enough to create or circulate a petition for?  How about leafleting or participating in a non violent demonstration or rally? 

If you can’t think of any issue that you feel passionate enough about that you would willing to do at least one of those things for, then stop reading here.

Comments on Facebook don’t count.

I am talking about political activism also known as civic duty. 

Whatever political circles you move in, left or right or anywhere in between, whatever your pet issue is, you are going to choose the type of activity that suits your sensibilities.  I will be honest.  My preferred method of advocacy is doing research to gather the facts that support my position and then using persuasion to get others to see it my way.  I don’t like pressure tactics.  I don’t like them used on me and I don’t like to use them on others.  It’s not my way.  Having said that, I really believe with all of my heart that our government has no legal or moral right to surveil, track, or monitor me or anyone else without probable cause.  I think that in our government doing so we are harmed legally and spiritually and furthermore I truly believe that if such practices are permitted it will be the end of everything that is beautiful about living in this country.  I believe than doing anything less than what I am capable of to stop this I bear responsibility for leaving an ugly and un-free America to my child and every other child that is born or will be in this country.  I admit, in this, I am zealous.

I am zealous enough that when research and persuasion has failed me I have resorted to the next level of activism including organizing meetings, mass calls and emails, demonstrations, petitions and the like.  I also reserve my right to participate in non-violent civil disobedience and would accept the responsibility for doing so.

What are you willing to do to protect your natural and legal rights?

Next question.

Could any of the activities you may envision possibly annoy, aggravate or confound any of your legislators? 

If so, there is not a shred of difference between you and me and Al Gerhart for that matter.

The highest nail….right now that nail is Gerhart.  He’s getting the hammer.

You all look the same to them.

Who’s next?

“Claims that the technology will be used to track people are inaccurate” Paul Sund

May 11, 2010 the Oklahoma House which previously passed HB 2569 by a wide margin (76-13 with 12 excused) failed to get enough votes to override the Governor’s Veto of the Radio Frequency ID bill.

Henry spokesman Paul Sund thanked the lawmakers for reviewing the legislation and sustaining the governor’s veto.

“It made no sense to prospectively ban technology that can provide future benefits,” Sund said. “Claims that the technology will be used to track people are inaccurate.”

Read more about the failed veto override vote on May 11, 2010 in this Tulsa World article

SIA CEO Richard Chace says in his letter to Gov. Henry;

“Unfortunately, this legislation reflects common misperceptions about RFID applications that are based upon twisted facts and emotions generated by ill-informed “privacy rights” advocates.”

And

“Governor, please be assured that safeguarding the privacy of personal information collected through government-issued identification documents is of paramount concern to our membership”. Read the letter

More; Oklahoma Law Makers Led Astry...

How long till the lies our trusted official told us becomes painfully apparent to Oklahomans?

The clock is ticking as the use of RFID for TRACKING purposes accelerate. How long until the people in this state are mandated to carry the devious devices?  Anyone want to place their bets?

Japanese company NEC wowed technophiles and horrified privacy advocates earlier this year with electronic billboards that use facial recognition technology to identify the age and gender of passers-by, tailoring the ads they display to fit the demographic. Now IBM researchers in the UK are taking that notion even further, taking advantage of new technologies to delve deeper into the personal data of people on the street, tailoring advertisements that can even call the subject by name.

The billboards they are developing rely on the RFID chips that are increasingly being built into credit cards and cell phones as a means of storing data that is accessible by contact-free sensors (like the “touch pay” feature on some credit and debit cards that doesn’t require the user to swipe). A sensor on the billboard picks up on that RFID signal as the cardholder passes by, tapping information like name, age, gender, shopping habits, and personal preferences.

read more

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power.”

Benito Mussolini