New Police Device in Oklahoma Underscores Need for Asset Forfeiture Reform

policing for profitBy TJ Martinell

A few months ago, local media reported that the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is using a device that allows officers to electronically confiscate money on prepaid cards based on mere suspicion rather than a criminal conviction. The revelation underscores the importance of asset forfeiture reform, something the Oklahoma legislature unsuccessfully tried to do last session.

The state of Oklahoma was given a terrible rating by the Institute for Justice in 2010 for their restrictive civil asset forfeiture laws. With the new electronic asset forfeiture device, it has actually taken terrible to the next level.

According to News 9, the state is paying the device’s creator $5,000 for the software and scanners, as well as nearly 8 percent of all the seized cash. The device is known as ERAD, or Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine. The state highway patrol currently has 16 in their possession.

Often, the federal government funds this type of technology, although in this case it appears all of the funding came from in-state.

Regardless of how law Oklahoma law enforcement funded the device, there is a simple way to limit its use – through reform of state asset forfeiture laws.

SB838 cosponsored by Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) and Rep. Jon Echols (R-Oklahoma City) would have made the use of this device illegal by requiring a criminal conviction before the state could take private property.

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The bill would have amended Oklahoma state law to read as follows:

Any property or thing of value of a person is subject to forfeiture if it is established by clear and convincing evidence that [it] was acquired by such person during the period of the violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act or within a reasonable time after such period and there was no likely source for such property or thing of value other than the violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act. A party to a forfeiture action under this section shall be entitled to a trial by jury. A trial related to a forfeiture action shall be held in a single proceeding with the trial of the related alleged crime unless the defendant moves to bifurcate the trial.

Unfortunately, the bill failed to muster so much as a public hearing. The bill also contained a loophole allowing asset forfeiture to occur if the cases were handed to the feds and placing it outside of the state’s jurisdiction.

This is exactly what happened in California, which has very strong asset forfeiture laws. Local law enforcement agencies turn the cases over to the feds in return for 80 percent of the proceeds from forfeited assets through the Federal Equitable Sharing Program.

It is imperative that Oklahomans stop this now, while it is still relatively new. They must put the pressure on their state lawmakers to introduce a new asset forfeiture reform bill. However, for it to be effective it must also close the federal loophole and prohibit asset forfeiture in all forms no matter the jurisdiction.

This kind of highway robbery will not stop here. Financial incentives will inspire other local law enforcement agencies to get their own ERADs. And it won’t just be limited to this one device. They’ll seek other devices that enable them to take property or money without charging anyone with a crime. As technology progresses, so will the means by which they steal from ordinary citizens. The companies that create these devices will also seek state contracts and fight to preserve the status quo.

States are rapidly taking notice and passing reforms to halt this abusive practice. The state of New Mexico enacted a law this year prohibiting the confiscation of property from suspects of a crime until after they are convicted. Montana passed a significant but less comprehensive reform plan tackling asset forfeiture this year as well.

Shane Trejo contributed to this report.

TJ Martinell is a Seattle-based reporter and author of the Orwellian novel The Stringers. Visit his personal site at tjmartinell.com. TJ writes for the Tenth Amendment Center, where this article first appeared.

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8 Comments on "New Police Device in Oklahoma Underscores Need for Asset Forfeiture Reform"

  1. The people who are having their debit cards depleted should also be subject to having their credit lines opened and then depleted. (After all the police wouldn’t do this to a law-abiding citizen). So let them pay the banks back for what the police took.

    The police should also have the right to open credit accounts in the victims’ names, buying cars for the police fleet, purchase gas and repairs, etc.

    This is no worse than raw identity theft; why should criminals be alone in seizing assets without a conviction?

  2. Macssurvivalkits | September 1, 2016 at 10:42 am | Reply

    Agreed. Guilty until proven innocent I guess.

  3. Legalized theft. When are they going to stop infringing on our freedoms.

  4. We steal from you and if you’ve not done anything wrong you can petition the court to get your legitimate property back. The state sanctioned crime syndicate commonly called police is once again demonstrating that the Constitution, that thing they swore to uphold and lied, means nothing to them.

  5. whydopeoplesuck | September 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Reply

    In the old days, the Highway men (aka robbers) used to hide behind masks, now they just hide behind badges & the laws. After they robbed people they would go on the run to their hideouts to count & divide their spoils. Now they drive off back to their assigned police station & count their stolen loot.

  6. ZZZZZZ…STAND AND DELIVER!!!!!!! NOTHING EVER CHANGES!! DOES IT!!

  7. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the brain initiative are the worst scams ever perpetrated on the American people. Former U. S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin Warns: Biochips Hazardous to Your Health: Warning, biochips may cause behavioral changes and high suicide rates. State Attorney Generals are to revoke the licenses of doctors and dentists that implant chips in patients. Chip used illegally for GPS, tracking, organized crime, communication and torture. Virginia state police have been implanting citizens without their knowledge and consent for years and they are dying! Check out William and Mary’s site to see the torture enabled by the biochip and the Active Denial System. See Terrorism and Mental Health by Amin Gadit or A Note on Uberveillance by MG & Katina Michael or Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence by Springer or Mind Control, Microchip Implants and Cybernetics. Check out the audio spotlight by Holosonics. The truth is the biochip works like a sim card. It received pulsed modulated laser beams and millimeter wave which it converts into electromagnetic waves that your brain interprets into digital images and sound. It then takes what your brain sees and hears and converts electromagnetic waves into digital and acoustic waves that a computer translates into audio and video. In other words, it allows law enforcement to see what you see, hear what you hear and communicate directly with your brain.

    “Former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) director and now Google Executive, Regina E. Dugan, has unveiled a super small, ingestible microchip that we can all be expected to swallow by 2017. “A means of authentication,” she calls it, also called an electronic tattoo, which takes NSA spying to whole new levels. She talks of the ‘mechanical mismatch problem between machines and humans,’ and specifically targets 10 – 20 year olds in her rant about the wonderful qualities of this new technology that can stretch in the human body and still be functional. Hailed as a ‘critical shift for research and medicine,’ these biochips would not only allow full access to insurance companies and government agencies to our pharmaceutical med-taking compliancy (or lack thereof), but also a host of other aspects of our lives which are truly none of their business, and certainly an extension of the removal of our freedoms and rights.” Google News

    The ARRA authorizes payments to the states in an effort to encourage Medicaid Providers to adopt and use “certified EHR technology” aka biochips. ARRA will match Medicaid $5 for every $1 a state provides. Hospitals are paid $2 million to create “crisis stabilization wards” (Gitmo’s) where state police torture people – even unto death. They stopped my heart 90 times in 6 hours. Virginia Beach EMT’s were called to the scene. Mary E. Schloendorff, v. The Society of New York Hospital 105 N. E. 92, 93 (N. Y. 1914) Justice Cardozo states, “every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body; and a surgeon who performs an operation without his patient’s consent, commits an assault, for which he is liable in damages. (Pratt v Davis, 224 Ill. 300; Mohr v Williams, 95 Minn. 261.) This case precedent requires police to falsely arrest you or kidnap you and call you a mental health patient in order to force the implant on you. You can also be forced to have a biochip if you have an infectious disease – like Eboli or Aids.

    Coalition of Justice vs the City of Hampton, VA settled a case out of court for $500,000 and removal of the biochip. Torture is punishable by $1,000 per day up to $2 million; Medical battery is worth $2.05 million. They told my family it was the brain initiative. I checked with the oversight board, and it is not! Mark Warner told me it was research with the Active Denial System by the College of William and Mary, the USAF, and state and local law enforcement. It is called IBEX and it is excruciating. I have had 3 surgeries at the site of the implant and need another. It causes cancer! I’ve been tortured for 8 years by Virginia law enforcement. Thousands of innocent Virginians are being tortured and murdered by criminal cops. Please help us get the word out to end these heinous atrocities. The pain is 24/7. The VA DCJS sent me a letter stating cops can get keys to anyone’s home and steal anything they please. The governor knows and takes his cut. Senator Kaine said the FBI is not involved so he can’t help. Check out Virginia’s Casual Disregard for the Constitution at forbes dot com. Check out Richard Cain’s case. They are torturing infants and children. The active denial system comes in rifle form and can murder without leaving a mark. Now the Richmond Medical examiner Dr. Whaley blows the whistle on the cover-up of murders by law enforcement and selling brains for $6,260 each to the NIH. I have had two heart attacks and am blessed to be alive. We need to make the nation aware to stop these thugs. Please help us.

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