Lunaya Pravda

07 April 2006

Asset forfeiture gone mad

Feds tried to seize gold caps from defendants' teeth

TACOMA, Wash. — Talk about taking a bite out of crime — government lawyers tried to remove and confiscate the gold-capped teeth known as "grills" or "grillz" from the mouths of two men facing drug charges....

According to documents and lawyers involved in the case in U.S. District Court, Flenard T. Neal Jr. and Donald Jamar Lewis, charged with several drug and weapon violations, were taken on Tuesday from the Federal Detention Center to the U.S. marshal’s office, where they were told the government had a warrant to seize the grills.

Before being put into a vehicle to be taken to a dentist in Seattle, they called their lawyers, who were able to halt the seizure, said Miriam Schwartz, Neal’s public defender. A permanent stay of the seizure order was signed Tuesday by U.S. Magistrate J. Kelley Arnold, court documents show.

Okay, the comparison to Nazi Germany is a smidge overdramatic. But no asset forfeiture should involve doctors, dentists, or any other member of the medical establishment. I mean really - if drug money paid for a pacemaker implant or artificial limb, would they steal that, too? They can be auctioned off, you know.

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