Last month, Republicans in the Alabama state senate introduced a bill to require due process before police can seize property from a suspected criminal. Under current law, property can be seized without any charges, and in order to have the seized property returned, the defendant must prove their innocence.
In response, both the Alabama Sheriffs Association and Alabama District Attorney’s Association made their strong opposition to the measure well known in an op-ed. In the op-ed, it is continually claimed that civil asset forfeiture is simply about stopping criminals, and that creating a due process requirement would hinder law enforcement’s ability to stop drug dealers.
Right off the bat, the od-ed makes that claim that law enforcement only uses civil asset forfeiture to go after criminals, when that is laughably false, and Doug Valeska of Dothan, AL is proof of that. Valeska had over $25,000 seized from his small car dealership because a drug dealer bought cars from him.
The money seized from Valeska was obtained with absolutely zero evidence of him being involved in any illegal activity. The excuse given was that because the cars were bought with drug money, Valeska was somehow engaged in money laundering.
In the entire op-ed, the words “due process” were only mentioned once, right at the end, where it is claimed that civil asset forfeiture already has due process, without providing any actual proof.
This op-ed makes it clear that the top-brass of Alabama’s law enforcement are desperate to hold onto their ability to steal from their own citizens. It does bring in a pretty penny though, $2.2 million in 2015.
Endangered California Condor Seen in Sequoia National Park for the First Time in 50 Years
It’s the largest bird in North America.
One of the most endangered animals in the United States has been observed in a national park that is part of its historical range. The National Park and U.S. Fish and Wildlife services confirmed in a joint statement that six California Condors have been seeing flying above the Sequoia National Park in Eastern California.
The birds were also photographed by park personnel.
A biologist of the Santa Barbara Zoo confirmed that specimens being GPS-tracked by the zoo had been geolocated in the national park.
“We use GPS transmitters to track the birds’ movement, which can be over hundreds of miles on a single day,” said Dave Meyer. “On this particular day we documented the birds’ signals around Giant Forest, and we are excited that park employees observed the birds and confirmed their use of this important historic habitat.”
The Sequoia National Park consists of more then 400,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The rare vultures, which feed upon carrion, had once been known to nest in the great Sequoia trees of the park, before disappearing from the habitat around the 1970’s.
The California Condor is a New World vulture, and an exceptionally large bird, the largest native to North America. It range once broadly consisted of the entire western United States, spanning from Canada to Baja California in Mexico.
It had been declared to be extinct in the wild in 1987, but a preservation program to save the species has proved successful in reintroducing captive individuals to the wild in northern Arizona and Utah. Poaching, habitat destruction, and poisoning from manmade chemicals have severely eroded the population of the birds in the wild, and it’s currently listed as critically endangered. Preservation efforts have increased the wild population of the California Condor from merely 22 animals to more than 400 today.
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