No sooner had I completed the entry below this, and, well…
On May 28, 2003, a
Nebraska state trooper signaled Gonzolez to pull over his rented Ford
Taurus on Interstate 80. The trooper intended to issue a speeding
ticket, but noticed the Gonzolez’s name was not on the rental contract.
The trooper then proceeded to question Gonzolez — who did not speak
English well — and search the car. The trooper found a cooler
containing $124,700 in cash, which he confiscated. A trained drug
sniffing dog barked at the rental car and the cash. For the police,
this was all the evidence needed to establish a drug crime that allows
the force to keep the seized money.
Associates of Gonzolez
testified in court that they had pooled their life savings to purchase
a refrigerated truck to start a produce business. Gonzolez flew on a
one-way ticket to Chicago to buy a truck, but it had sold by the time
he had arrived. Without a credit card of his own, he had a third-party
rent one for him. Gonzolez hid the money in a cooler to keep it from
being noticed and stolen. He was scared when the troopers began
questioning him about it. There was no evidence disputing Gonzolez’s
Now, of course, since this is America, Mr. Gonzolez may rest safe in the assurances offered by our culture of freedom, our founding principle of government submission to certain natural laws, and our peaceful, deliberative, and predominately fair legal process to fall back on. Naturally, in spite of all the hassle and likely expense, Mr. Gonzolez was able to prevail and at very least to win a moral victory, right?
At least there’s one of the three judges on the 8th Circuit whom I don’t hope soon dies of a long, painful and awful disease.
"Notwithstanding the fact that claimants seemingly suspicious activities were reasoned away with plausible, and thus presumptively trustworthy, explanations which the government failed to contradict or rebut, I note that no drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug records were recovered in connection with the seized money," Judge Lay wrote. "There is no evidence claimants were ever convicted of any drug-related crime, nor is there any indication the manner in which the currency was bundled was indicative of
drug use or distribution."
"Finally, the mere fact that the canine alerted officers to the presence of drug residue in a rental car, no doubt driven by dozens, perhaps scores, of patrons during the course of a given year, coupled with the fact that the alert came from the same location where the currency was discovered, does little to connect the money to a controlled substance offense," Judge Lay Concluded.
Yea, the emphasis on "rental car" is original in the dissenting opinion.
Alright, sorry for the false allowance in the last entry. Now you can turn over and go back to sleep.
(Bill St. Clair, again)