“Another civil asset forfeiture outrage”

 

The Des Moines Register has the story of William “Bart” Davis and John Newmer­zhycky, two gamblers who had more than $100,000 seized from them after they were pulled over by Iowa state police.

Davis and Newmer­zhycky were westbound on Interstate Highway 80 in Poweshiek County on the morning of April 15, 2013, traveling from a World Series of Poker event at the Harrah’s casino in Joliet, Ill.

The two were stopped for a phantom traffic violation and interrogated then told they were “free to go.”

This is another common tactic. The cop tells the motorist he is “free to go,” then tosses out a couple of additional questions or asks to bring in the drug dog. The cop can then argue in court that the additional questions were voluntary, not a product of the official detainment. The insinuation here is that the motorist was free to leave, therefore the search was voluntary. It’s pure fiction. What would have happened if, after Simmons summoned the other trooper, Newmerzhycky simply got into his car and drove away? Would Simmons have let him go? Of course not. Driving away would have been cast as an attempt to flee and probably would have brought criminal charges.