Tag Archives: down

SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset Forfeiture

SCOTUS Cracks Down on Civil Asset ForfeitureThe Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that state and local governments are not exempt from the Constitutional prohibition against imposing “excessive fines” on citizens, significantly constraining the ability of law enforcement to seize the property of criminal suspects.Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for eight of the nine justices, argued that state and local governments unconstrained by the Eighth Amendment's excessive-fines clause are likely to abuse their power.“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties,” Ginsburg wrote. “Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies. . . . Even absent a political motive, fines may be employed in a measure out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence.”The case in question concerned Tyson Timbs of Marion, Ind., who had his $ 42,000 Land Rover seized after pleading guilty to selling less than $ 1,000 of heroin. Tyson's property was seized via civil asset forfeiture, which allows the authorities to confiscate property they suspect was used in criminal activity before a suspect is found guilty or even charged with a crime.A trial court subsequently rejected the civil-forfeiture suit brought by the state, holding that the fine should be considered excessive because the vehicle was purchased for more than four times the maximum penalty of $ 10,000 that Timbs could be subjected to for selling heroin under state law.The Indiana Supreme Court then reversed that decision on the grounds that the excessive-fines clause of the Constitution applied only to the federal government in a ruling that was vacated by the High Court on Wednesday.Civil-liberties advocates celebrated the ruling as a reversal of a trend in which state and local governments increasingly rely on asset forfeiture to fund their operations.“Increasingly, our justice system has come to rely on fines, fees, and forfeitures to fund law-enforcement agencies rather than having to answer to elected officials for their budgets,” Scott Bullock, the president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, said in a Wednesday statement. “This is not just an ominous trend; it is a dangerous one. We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court established that the U.S. Constitution secures meaningful protections for private property and limits the government’s ability to turn law enforcement into revenue generators.”



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Buckle up and hunker down: Coast-to-coast storm to bring weather misery to 200 million

Buckle up and hunker down: Coast-to-coast storm to bring weather misery to 200 millionA powerful storm will roar across the country over the next 2-3 days, spreading heavy snow, torrential rain, and crippling ice to more than 200 million Americans.



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More U.S. aid for Venezuela touches down amid distribution uncertainty

More U.S. aid for Venezuela touches down amid distribution uncertaintyThe shipment will be the second arrival of large-scale U.S. and international aid for Venezuelans, many of whom have scant access to food and medicine, since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in defiance of socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Guaido, who invoked constitutional provisions to declare himself the country’s leader last month, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was a sham, has said aid will enter Venezuela on Feb. 23. Speaking in Caracas to supporters who had volunteered to help with the aid effort, Guaido said he would announce further details on Monday about how he planned to get aid into the country from Colombia, Brazil and Curacao despite Maduro’s opposition.



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More U.S. aid for Venezuela touches down amid distribution uncertainty

More U.S. aid for Venezuela touches down amid distribution uncertaintyThe shipment will be the second arrival of large-scale U.S. and international aid for Venezuelans, many of whom have scant access to food and medicine, since opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president in defiance of socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Guaido, who argued Maduro’s 2018 re-election was a sham and invoked constitutional provisions to declare himself the country’s leader last month, has said aid will enter Venezuela on Feb. 23. Speaking in Caracas to supporters who had volunteered to help with the aid effort, Guaido said he would announce details on Monday about how he planned to get aid into the country from Colombia, Brazil and Curacao despite Maduro’s opposition.



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`Going Away Party` for School Shutting Down Because of Student`s Death Causes Controversy

`Going Away Party` for School Shutting Down Because of Student`s Death Causes ControversySome parents are outraged a California school for kids with special needs is holding a "going away party" after one of its own students died after being restrained by staff.



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Democratic lawmaker backs down from impeachment bill against Virginia's lieutenant governor

Democratic lawmaker backs down from impeachment bill against Virginia's lieutenant governorThe two women accusing Virginia Lt. Gov Justin Fairfax of sexual assault said they would be willing to testify at possible impeachment proceedings against the Democrat; Garrett Tenney reports from Richmond, Virginia.



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Trump’s acting attorney general shuts down Congress questions on Mueller investigation: ‘Your five minutes is up’

Trump’s acting attorney general shuts down Congress questions on Mueller investigation: ‘Your five minutes is up’Matthew Whitaker’s hearing in the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee became combative on Friday as Democrats pressed the acting attorney general for information on the Russia probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mr Whitaker, an appointee of Donald Trump, at one point caused the committee and audience members to gasp in disbelief when he avoided answering a question from the chairman by telling him his time had run out. “Mr Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up,” he said in response to Jerrold Nadler.



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Virginia Democrats hunker down amid blackface, sex assault scandal

Virginia Democrats hunker down amid blackface, sex assault scandal“I have never appeared in blackface,” Cox, 61, said. “As you know, I was a schoolteacher, and that’s abhorrent.” Both Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, who is second in line to be governor, have admitted to wearing blackface while in college in the 1980s. With its historic ties to 19th-century U.S. minstrel shows in which white performers would caricature black slaves, blackface is widely seen as racist in modern America, though it remained a trope of popular television shows and movies through the 1980s.



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Trump backs down in US intelligence chiefs row after claiming he hadn't read 'complete' testimony on Iran and North Korea

Trump backs down in US intelligence chiefs row after claiming he hadn't read 'complete' testimony on Iran and North KoreaDonald Trump has backtracked on his suggestion that American intelligence chiefs should “go back to school” after they contradicted his stance on Iran and North Korea. The US leader criticised them after they presented the Worldwide Threat Assessment report to the Senate earlier this week. It said Iran was not making nuclear weapons and North Korea remained “unlikely to give up” its weapons stockpiles and production abilities, apparently contradicting Mr Trump’s views on the nations.



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The Latest: Cold shuts down large Midwest universities

The Latest: Cold shuts down large Midwest universitiesMILWAUKEE (AP) — The Latest on a major snowstorm and the expected frigid weather in the Midwest (all times local):



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