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Stealing from the Poor: bail, court fees, Civil Forfeiture...

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St. Louis suburb funds itself by increasing nuisance ticketing on black homes by 495 percent: lawsuit. A small suburb of St. Louis where 95 percent of residents are black has allegedly found a new source of revenue by increasing municipal citations by 495 percent since 2010, a lawsuit claimed this week. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Institute for Justice’s office filed a lawsuit seeking class action status this week against the city of Pagedale. The lawsuits accuses Pagedale of “an unprecedented governmental intrusion into the homes of its residents” for issuing tickets for things like barbecuing in the front yard, drinking beer too close to the grill and even saggy pants.

In some cases, residents said that Pagedale officials threatened to demolish their homes, even though the city admitted that the homes were only a nuisance and presented no public safety threat. Valarie Whitner and Vincent Blount told the paper that they were forced to take out a payday to pay $1,810 in fines. Pagedale city attorney Sam Alton insisted that the fines were for the good of community. Breaking down Holder’s move to limit civil asset forfeiture abuse. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (AP Photo/Philadelphia Inquirer, David Maialetti, Pool) This is a big deal: Attorney General Eric H.

Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without evidence that a crime occurred. Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs. Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing. The program won’t end civil asset forfeiture abuses entirely, but it will stop local police agencies from circumventing state laws aimed at reining them in.

There is one important caveat here: The policy includes exceptions for . . . The first exception is important. The second and third exceptions are important, too. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Public Defenders (HBO) Kalief Browder who spent three years in jail without being charged commits suicide. Kalief Browder, 21, was arrested in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpackThe teen, from the Bronx, NY refused to accept a plea deal and wanted to go to trial to prove his innocenceHe spent three years in Rikers Island before the charges were dropped Surveillance video leaked from the prison showed the teen being slammed into the ground by a guard Mr Browder committed suicide on Saturday at his family home By Pete D'amato For Published: 04:16 GMT, 8 June 2015 | Updated: 17:00 GMT, 8 June 2015 A man who spent three years in jail as a teenager despite never being charged with a crime committed suicide on Saturday.

On the night before he hanged himself, a desperate Kalief Browder, 21, told his mother: 'Ma, I can't take it anymore,' the NY Daily News reported. Mr Browder was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack from another teen in the Bronx, New York. Scroll down for video Mr Browder was finally released from Rikers in May 2013 after charges were dropped. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Bail (HBO)

Feds Who Stole $167,000 in Cash from Innocent Man in Civil Forfeiture Seizure Refusing to Return it Despite Judge's Order. In perhaps one of the most offensive cases of civil forfeiture, federal prosecutors are fighting to keep $167,000 in cash seized during a traffic stop, despite no crime being committed and a judge ordering it be returned in June. Straughn Gorman was on a cross country trip to California in his motor home when he was pulled over by a Nevada state trooper for allegedly driving too slow on the interstate. During the stop, the trooper decided he suspected Gorman was hiding money, but no police dog units were available to come to the scene and help him obtain probable cause for a search.

Refusing to let a little thing like “the law” get in the way of a hunch, the determined trooper requested that the county sheriff’s office stop him again with a police dog. Gorman was stopped again, approximately 50 minutes later for two alleged traffic violations and searched after a police dog alerted to drugs. In August, federal attorney’s appealed the judge’s ruling that the money needs to be returned. U.S. attorney general bans asset seizure by local police. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State and local police in the United States will no longer be able to use federal laws to justify seizing property without evidence of a crime, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Friday. The practice of local police taking property, including cash and cars, from people that they stop, and of handing it over to federal authorities, became common during the country's war on drugs in the 1980s.

Holder cited "safeguarding civil liberties" as a reason for the change in policy. The order directs federal agencies who have collected property during such seizures to withdraw their participation, except if the items collected could endanger the public, as in the case of firearms. Holder said the ban was the first step in a comprehensive review the Justice Department has launched of the program. (Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Bernadette Baum) Society & CultureCrime & JusticeEric Holder. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture (HBO) Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Municipal Violations (HBO)