No Charges, No Trial, No Conviction: Cops Steal a Couple’s Life Savings Over a Small Amount of MarijuanaDecember 22nd, 2007
Two robbers who broke into Luther Ricks Sr.’s house this summer may have not gotten his life savings he had in a safe, but after the FBI confiscated it he may not get it back.
Ricks has tried to get an attorney to fight for the $402,767 but he has no money. Lima Police Department officers originally took the money from his house but the FBI stepped in and took it from the Police Department. Ricks has not been charged with a crime and was cleared in a fatal shooting of one of the robbers but still the FBI has refused to return the money, he said.
“They are saying I have to prove I made it,” he said.
The 63-year-old Ricks said he and his wife, Meredith, saved the money during their lifetime in which both worked while living a modest life.
A representative of the FBI could not be reached for comment.
During the fatal shooting incident inside the house June 30, Ricks and his son were being attacked by two men and his son was stabbed. Ricks broke free, grabbed a gun and shot to death 32-year-old Jyhno Rock inside his home at 939 Greenlawn Ave.
Police originally took the money after finding marijuana inside Ricks’ home, which Ricks said he had to help manage pain.
“I smoke marijuana. I have arthritis. I have shingles, a hip replacement,” he said.
Ricks, who is retired from Ohio Steel Foundry, said he always had a safe at home and never had a bank account.
American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Legal Director Jeff Gamso said Ricks has a tough road ahead, not impossible, but tough to get back his money.
“The law of forfeiture basically says you have to prove you’re innocent. It’s terrible, terrible law,” he said.
The law is tilted in favor of the FBI in that Ricks need not be charged with a crime and the FBI stands a good chance at keeping the money, Gamso said.
“The law will presume it is the result of ill-gotten gains,” he said.
Still Ricks can pursue it and possibly convince a judge he had the money through a lifetime of savings. Asking the FBI usually doesn’t work, he said.
“The FBI, before they would give it up, would want dated receipts,” he said.
If the FBI does keep the money, it would be put toward a law enforcement use, if the city of Lima does not fight for it because the city discovered it, Gamso said.
Lima Law Director Tony Geiger said he has not been asked to stake a legal claim for the money.
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