Date: Sun, 25 Aug 2002 03:09:13 -0500 From: firstname.lastname@example.org ("Leon") Subject: FEAR: Fwd: FEAR in So. Dak. To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com ("Bob Newland") Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am not aware of any recent, specific, cases of property seizure and forfeiture in South Dakota but I will post it to the FEAR lists and maybe someone else can help. As the government's property theft activities mature, its methods have become more advanced. So, while we see by the annual reports (federal) that the total forfeiture amounts have not declined, what gets reported in the press is very sparse.
To counter this we are going to need volunteers in every part of the country reporting local articles -- for most of it never makes the national press or the internet.
Please stay in touch with us and we will do what we can to help.
S. Leon Felkins, Exec. Dir. FEAR Email: email@example.com
Nothing whatever but the constitutional law, the political structure, of these United States protects any American from arbitrary seizure of his property and his person, from the Gestapo and the Storm Troops, from the concentration camp, the torture chamber, the revolver at the back of his neck in a cellar. - Rose Wilder Lane
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On 8/10/2002 at 7:48 AM Bob Newland <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>I'm the Libertarian nominee for Attorney General of South Dakota. If you
>can read the two posts I've appended successively below, you'll see
>what I'm looking for.
>However, in general, we need stories from actual forfeitures in South
>Dakota. If you're as busy as I am, you probably won't be able to do
>much, but you might be able to post my request to some list at FEAR.
>Have you lost property in South Dakota due to asset forfeiture "laws"?
>If so, please read and respond.
>An absentee landlord rents property to a woman and a couple of small
>children. On the property are a barn, a shed and a trailer house. The
>landlord meets the tenants only once (maybe). The landlord -- a notable
>"drug warrior" -- takes no precautions to limit access to the property,
>which is prime territory for drug use, manufacture and sale, being
>located just outside a major metropolitan area. The landlord knows
>virtually nothing about his tenants.
>The barn, shed, and a camper trailer burn down. Investigators find
>"spoons, syringes and methamphetamine" in the ashes.
>Obviously, the property has committed a crime. It will be forfeited to
>the state. Right? After all, that's what would happen to you and me.
>Well, maybe not. The property, near Sioux Falls, is owned by the
>Governor of South Dakota, Bill Janklow. Janklow has placed himself above
>the law on numerous occasions, and law enforcement officers have seemed
>little-inclined to contravene his directives.
>The Sioux Falls Argus Leader is following up on this irony. Lee
>Williams, a former police officer and now reporter for the Argus Leader,
>wants to talk to folks whose property (car, house, motorcycle, etc.) has
>been forfeited because someone alleged it had been involved in a "drug"
>crime of some sort.
>If you, or someone you know, has been victimized by the cruel and
>unconstitutional asset forfeiture laws, please let me know. Lee Williams
>wants to put a "couple of human faces" with this story. You could simply
>call Lee Williams at the Argus Leader (605-941-2365). However, please
>make sure your story has the following elements:
>1. The forfeited property was located in South Dakota.
>2. The "crime" was only alleged, or was so petty as to make forfeiture
>an obvious travesty. Often, forfeitures are exercised on the basis of a
>simple allegation, with no further evidence. (example: A teenager visits
>his aunt and sells a bag off the porch to an informant. The aunt loses
>the house as a result.) Most South Dakotans probably believe that crank
>dealers SHOULD have their houses taken, but probably do not believe a
>landlord should lose his property because a tenant sold crank without
>his knowledge. Janklow, however, almost certainly endorses the current
>grab-it-if-you-can approach to asset forfeiture.
>Incidentally, I am on the ballot as a candidate for Attorney General,
>and reform of asset forfeiture laws is a major plank in my platform.
>Please, respond with your story if you have one.
>The following story appeared in the Sioux Falls (SD) Argus Leader 7 Aug.
>Drugs found on Janklow's rental property after fire
>Sioux Falls (So. Dak) Argus Leader
>Police detectives found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in a
>house owned by Gov. Bill Janklow after a fire destroyed other buildings
>on the Sioux Falls farmstead last week.
>Tenants rent the property from the governor.
>Police and fire crews were called to the site on West Benson Road in
>northwest Sioux Falls on Friday morning as fire burned a horse barn and
>Janklow said he was "furious" about the discovery of drugs on his property.
>"They are doing drugs around little kids. It's sad that my building had
>to burn down to catch them," he said
>Sioux Falls Police Sgt. Jerry Mundt, an arson investigator and the
>narcotics unit supervisor, investigated the fire. He said he was
>familiar with several of the residents of the property and suspected
>that the fire could have been caused by a meth lab.
>"That was my first thought going in," Mundt said.
>After interviewing witnesses, Mundt said he had probable cause to get a
>"We found evidence of heavy drug usage," he said.
>Detectives recovered burned spoons, syringes and small amounts of
>"Nothing led me to indicate we had a meth lab," Mundt said.
>Sioux Falls Fire Chief Donn Hill said Tuesday that the cause of the fire
>is still under investigation.
>When an Argus Leader reporter contacted Janklow to discuss the
>investigation Tuesday afternoon, the governor refused to comment. Later,
>he called a news conference to talk about the case.
>Janklow has owned the property since 1994 but told reporters in the news
>conference that he does not handle the rental himself. He had met the
>current renter only once, the governor said.
>Several other people kept horses at the barn, Janklow said.
>Shortly after the fire, a news release from Falls Fire Rescue said
>investigators thought the fire started in a horse shelter and spread
>into the barn. Firefighters were unable to save the barn, a storage shed
>and a camper trailer.
>Janklow said he knew later that night that drugs had been found on his
>property. Investigators called him at the governor's residence in Pierre
>to let him know, he said.
>He didn't say anything about the drugs after officers urged him not to
>talk because of an ongoing investigation, the governor said.
>Janklow said he asked a police officer if there was a meth lab in the
>structure and was told no.
>"They looked at that barn very closely," he said. "They found absolutely
>Janklow said he never noticed or heard about suspicious activity at the
>"If I have trouble with a renter, I get rid of them, period," he said.
>Janklow said he went out to the property a few times to check on the
>"Very seldom did I see anyone when I went over there," he said. "I know
>there's a lady that lives there with one or two children."
>Police are looking for Camille Hart, one of the tenants, for questioning
>in the case. No arrest warrants have been issued.
>The Associated Press and reporter John-John Williams contributed to this
>report. Reach special projects reporter Lee Williams at
>lwilliams@argusleader. com or 331-2318.
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