Caught With Weed? Some Dallas Councilmembers Want to Seize Your Car.

Categories: City Hall, Crime

KadaneCaraway.jpg
Kadane, left, and Caraway are here to defend your civil liberties -- unless you're caught with drugs.
If you're not familiar with Tenaha, Texas, go back and read this The New Yorker piece from August detailing how police and prosecutors in the tiny East Texas town used civil forfeiture laws and a phantom suspicion of drugs to seize cars, cash, jewelry and anything else they could find from innocent travelers passing through on U.S. 59. The level and audacity of the abuse is stunning.

Tenaha, a town that effectively devoted itself to robbing passing motorists, offers an extreme example, but the abuse of civil forfeiture laws is common. Intended as a way to target drug dealers and other suspected criminals who haven't necessarily been charged with or convicted of a crime, there is very little oversight at the state level at how they are employed. The result is plenty of cases like that of Mary and Leon Adams, an elderly couple in West Philadelphia whose home was being seized after after their adult son was caught selling small quantities of weed there, according to The New Yorker.

The takeaway is that civil forfeiture laws need to be reformed so that they are applied judiciously.

Some on the Dallas City Council seem intent on heading in the opposite direction. At a briefing this morning, Public Safety Committee chair Sheffie Kadane wondered why business owners aren't punished when police catch someone doing or selling drugs at a bar or restaurant.

"My understanding is in some of these places, it's just blatantly out in the open there, passing drugs, selling drugs ... Shouldn't the owner be liable some way if they're doing drugs in his facility, whether he knows it or not -- and I'm sure he knows it."

Police officials told Kadane that prosecuting a business owner would require evidence that he was actually involved in drug sales.

Here, Councilman Dwaine Caraway chimed in with a suggestion that criminal prosecution might not be necessary. He urged DPD to begin using civil forfeiture laws much more aggressively.

"Whatever it takes to get us to get us to that point, whatever level of legislation is necessary, all we have to do is seize the house that drugs are being sold out of [and] ... the landlords will do a better job of deciding who they rent to."

Nor would Caraway stop at drug dealers and their landlords.

"You have marijuana in your car and you have cocaine and methamphetamines in your car, your car can be seized," Caraway said. "I want to start seizing property."

Kadane seconded Caraway's charge to DPD. Whether anything will come of it remains to be seen, but it's nice to see the council tackling such a serious civil liberties issue.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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33 comments
jamessavik
jamessavik

What part of civil forfeiture without due process- ie. the conviction of the property owner of a specifically listed crime- is blatantly unconstitutional do these people NOT understand?



melissa.mogan
melissa.mogan

Our country has abandoned it's people and it's law enforcement- not to take up for the wrongdoing of law enforcement all over the country - they are not paid much, and they deal with some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet- what else could we expect other than to have as much law enforcement on drug cartel payrolls than on federal and state payrolls?

Our laws are set up in the way they are for a reason. It is so difficult to change them for a reason. 

When we as man, have become so superior that we make a decision to eradicate nature at will, something is terribly wrong, ask anyone who survived WWII

azimmiza
azimmiza

Legalize it & end this madness. 

mojo3145
mojo3145

Sure great way to tell businesses to do legal biz elsewhere.  Who would want to run a restaurant or bar or hardware store if their going to take it anyway.  Store owners dont know every person walking into their shop where someone could easily pass someone else drugs in walmart.... gonna seize a walmart? lol I'd love to see that one go down.  Never happen.

LaKeesha
LaKeesha

sure take my car, you get the loan that comes with it you big fat sucka!

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

"The takeaway is that civil forfeiture laws need to be reformed so that they are applied judiciously."

Actually, the takeaway is that civil forfeiture laws need to be eliminated. They are based on a legal fiction that the property (which has no legal rights) is guilt of a crime, and that taking the property is not punishing the owner without a fair trial. If the government wants to seize a person's property, they need to prove the person is guilty of a crime.

Beernutz
Beernutz

Sure makes stealing car washes way easier.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

I am sure we can trust the DA and City Manager to ensure that there are no abuses and that people are treated fairly

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

Another scam to steal just in time for Christmas - Happy New Year Dallas

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

I'm guessing that a goodly amount of Caraway's constituents would not be on board with this idea.

rusknative
rusknative

"Tenaha, Timpson, BoBo, and Blair".....old railroad conductor announcement of coming up train stops.....ah, Texas history before autos.

rusknative
rusknative

arrest Caraway and his wife....Archie had weed in Caraway's house.  confiscate Caraway's brain if you can find it.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

when will the citizens have enough of the police state?

ryan762
ryan762

I say let's do it, but only if the city council members agree to let the city seize all their assets every few months and make them have to fight to get it back through the court system.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

So according to Caraway people are smoking pot, using cocaine, and then using meth? That must be one hell of a metabolic system.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

It's just an xmas speech - it comes around every holiday season to please the church crowd - but nothing ever comes of it.

They know that if they actually bring it to the council, the discussion will progress to other issues - like DWI's, vehicle inspections, school violence, and especially  gun crimes.
That would impact the wealthier white communities, so the subject gets dropped - and Sheffie gets to walk away, pretending that he fought the good fight.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

let's hope the city attorneys will set them straight

Neal_K
Neal_K

How nice of these corrupt swine to out themselves as enemies of the people of this city.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Two-bit money grab.


"Sheffie Kadane wondered why business owners aren't punished when police catch someone doing or selling drugs at a bar or restaurant"

or a car wash.

Property seizures on arrest before due process and no return if the charges are dropped equals an income generator.

Here in Deep Ellum, any bar within 1,000 feet of the new charter school is low hanging fruit.

Maybe we should seize city hall if the homeless transact at the fountains.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

And isn't D-wayne supposed to be home trying on aprons? It is football season.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

How in the fuck did this asshat ever get elected?

Is everybody in East Dallas already on drugs?

That's got to be the only reason.


How bout I send a dealer to knock on Sheffie's door, with some of  Dallas finest down the block waiting for him to answer?

ComercialBroker
ComercialBroker

Caraway has high hopes gettin them greedy fingers on some multimillion dolla properties around the DF-dub.... too bad so sad Caraway no matter what card you try to play as the old saying goes "You ain't in on dis mane"

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Caraway said. "I want to start seizing property."

Pretty much says everything you need to know about Caraway.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

I'd like to see some sort of periodic drug testing for council members.

ruddski
ruddski

Had a buddy who lost his 30K boat on Lake Champlain for half a joint.

kfries1
kfries1

This is how to get the Davenports to give up their car wash! Great idea!

Lions_Love_Jokes
Lions_Love_Jokes

@Tim.Covington I agree, but unfortunately, that's not how it works. At least not here in Texas. Fucking probable cause can get your personals seized around here. Just stay out of the small towns, and you should be fine. 

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@holmantx how the fuck does a charter school get zoning approval in a goddamn bar and entertainment district

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Like before every meeting?

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