No Charges, No Trial, No Conviction: Cops Steal a Couple’s Life Savings Over a Small Amount of Marijuana

December 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.

3 Responses to “No Charges, No Trial, No Conviction: Cops Steal a Couple’s Life Savings Over a Small Amount of Marijuana”

  1. Loveandlight Says:

    Forfeiture really is something that should be illegal in a civil libertarian constitutional republic. It really does give the government the power to just take away everything one has on a whim. There are many cases where people who were not involved in drugs or crime have been robbed in this fashion and the pigs and bureaucrats responsible were able to do it because they wanted that money or those assets, and the power to take those things was they only reason they needed.

  2. Cloud Says:

    Let Freedom Ring.

  3. Miraculix Says:

    “The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: “Your money or your life…” But the highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he intends to use the money stolen for your benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence to enable him to “protect” those infatuated travelers who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money he leaves you as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will, assuming to be your rightful “sovereign”, on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him, by requiring you to do this and forbidding you to do that, by robbing you of more money as often as he find it for his interest or pleasure to do so, and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority or resist his demands. He is too much a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures and insults and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.” — Lysander Spooner

    The role of government, for as long as we have physical evidence to substantiate, has always been to exercise an exclusive license to the application of violence by way of coercive control; also known in the lingo of empire as “maintaining order”. At the official end of the spectrum their responsibilities range from incarceration to execution and all points in between. As we descend from the known to the speculative, we find the more subtle tactics such as stalking, infiltration and harassment. Buried in dark caverns deep beneath everyday public consciousness lay the fecund pools of great privilege, populated by the sort of monsters responsible for the purified and perfected evil we know as Monarch programming. And I haven’t even mentioned the taxman and the bureaucratic pantheon floating atop the viscous evil like the pond scum they ultimately become after too many years without light or oxygen. Anaerobic creatures utterly dependent on the organs of the state for their next fix of fear and loathing.

    “Jean-Paul Sartre may have dreamed of a society from which inequality would have disappeared, where one man would not exploit another. But no society in the world has yet given up tradition and the use of privilege. If this is ever to be achieved, all the social hierarchies will have to be overthrown, not merely those of money or state power, not only social privilege but the uneven weight of the past and of culture.” — Fernand Braudel

    And so Sartre, by way of Braudel, shows us clearly the absurdity of believing that great systems of coercive organization (for that is what they really are) can be reformed from below by anything other than blood, fire and more pain than we humans like to endure as a rule. Those leathery creatures we call elites perched atop the minarets of power can be counted on to exercise their Machiavellian wiles within the system they and their minions have constructed, which is based primarily on the wielding of said same power. Which brings us right up to present day.

    “There have certainly been periods [in history] of more bitter distress and of even more harsh destitution, more unbridled atrocities and infinitely more conspicuous cruelty; there never was any so coldly, widely and radically dangerous [as today]. While social ferocity has always existed, it had imperative limits, because labour resulting from human lives was indispensable to those who held power. It is not any more. Instead, it has become a burden and those boundaries are collapsing. Do we fully understand what that means? Never has humanity as a whole been so threatened in its very survival. Whatever the history of barbarism over the centuries, human beings until now were always given a guarantee: they were essential to the function of the planet as well as to productivity, and to the exploitation of the instruments of profit — of which they themselves were part. So many elements that protected them. For the first time, the mass of humanity is no longer materially and even less economically necessary to the small number holding power, and for whom human lives outside their private circle have nothing to recommend them, even have no existence — it is more obvious every day — but as utilitarian assets.” — Viviane Forrester

    What are all of Kissinger’s “useless eaters” stateside going to do when they begin to realize the utility equation is no longer in their favor? Will the rate of cohesion at the local level increase quickly enough in the months and years ahead to overcome the shock loads of economic contraction and socio-political coercion. In less densely populated areas, it is possible, and in well-prepared cases even probable. The real work masterpiece will be re-imagining so many severed and deformed social structures on the local scale, compromised so badly during the course of the industrial revolution, especially as technological acceleration has demeaned the true value of local. Look at who I’m writing this to as a perfect example.

    “Art is either plagiarism or revolution.” — Paul Gauguin

    And as art is said to imitate life, one begins to see the path of true revolution defined not by blood and fire, but in the transformation of one’s life toward ends that no longer serve any hierarchy but your own and those of the community of people for whose lives you are directly responsible. We the tool makers will not gain from abandoning our technical prowess. Using all the technological might wrought by us clever monkeys to the best possible preparatory ends, while it still exists, seems most prudent. Mostly, that translates to re-learning (and sharing!) the knowledge and wisdom of earlier generations that our ancestors were already losing against the rising tide of industrial propaganda in the late 19th century. The industrial system atomizes the hubristic evil of those who rule into bite-sized pieces for easier public digestion, at once subverting truth, and in the planting of false wisdom sowing the seeds of confusion that simplify the act of dividing and conquering.

    “But in history, I saw only the struggle for power, the struggle for possession. In the life of the artist, I saw that he had to be a dedicated person, that he was not sure of worldly rewards, that he would have to wait, that he had the most difficult task of all, which is (as Otto Rank put it) to balance our two wishes – one, to stay close to others; the other, to create something which may alienate us from our culture.” — Anais Nin

    Here I stand, naked (figuratively) and (almost) alone with my “crazy” ideas. I have been alienated from the culture of my birth almost from birth it seems. The predominant socio-cultural templates have always felt to me like cutouts, like costumes, like uniforms with nametages, and I’ve spent most of my life trying to articulate this sensation to anyone who might listen. At each disappointment my reticence grew, until I began to feel like two very distinct people: the real person typing now and the complicated facade I’d constructed over the years by way of getting by, fitting in, having friends. Then came the connective power of the Internet, and we’ve all spent the last decade or so re-learning many old lessons painted over a shiny new canvas.

    Old Lesson #1: Institutionalized power is the root of all evil, not money. The devil is an English bureaucrat. They PRINT the money; create it out of thin air. Capiche?

    Old Lesson #2: “Silence, exile and cunning” remains an excellent personal survival strategy; until you need to raise a barn.

    Old Lesson #3: One can never know enough about how to feed, clothe, heat and shelter oneself with the minimum necessary expenditures of resources.

    Old Lesson #4: Avoid keeping your liquid assets (accessible) in the same living space where one is storing a controlled substance.

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