This man sued PA cops because they took his silver coins and bullion. Note that the suit wasn’t dropped because it didn’t have merit. It was dropped because the man just couldn’t do it any longer.
I have a problem with how it all went down:
Because of Schifter’s rambling and vague answers plus a record showing arrests in three states, Conrad sought permission to search the RV.
It was denied due to six dogs in the RV. Asked if he would allow a search were it not for the dogs, he said no.
So no probable cause, they asked to search and were denied. So far, I don’t have a problem.
A search was conducted after Conrad’s drug detection dog had an alert at the front and passenger side of the RV. That is when the cash, bullion, coins and jewelry were discovered.
The entire thing of drug dogs alerting is bullshit. It is long past time for drug dogs to be eliminated as probable cause.
Dogs are very good at reading people. They know that if they give their handler what he wants, they get a reward. If the cop wants the dog to alert on a car, the dog will alert on a car. There was one study that actually supported that, but once the study was published, cops have refused to participate in any more studies unless those studies are being performed by pro-policing organizations.
Cops don’t even keep records of how often dogs alert to drugs and then no drugs are found. The police say:
“There’s been cars that my dog’s hit on… and just because there wasn’t a product in it, doesn’t mean the dog can’t smell it,” says Gunnar Fulmer, a K9 officer with the Walla Walla Police Department. “[The drug odor] gets permeated in clothing, it gets permeated in the headliners in cars.”
The problem here is obvious- even giving the dog the benefit of the doubt, probable cause means that the search is being done because drugs are probably there. What the cop in the above quote is saying is that by alerting, the dog is indicating that drugs may have been there at some time in the past. The dog indicates the odor of drugs, but not the presence of drugs. That isn’t the same thing and shouldn’t be enough to trigger a warrantless search of someone’s property.
Anyhow, back to the story at hand.
The silver was seized and taken to the state police barracks in Milton where Schifter claimed he had bought them periodically over the past several months at Nevada Coin and Jewelry but did not have any receipts.
Contact was made with the manager of the business who said Schifter always paid cash.
A review of receipts that were obtained revealed eight purchases for silver bullion between Oct. 17 and Dec. 19, 2019, totaling $64,904. One was in the name of the woman with him and the others in his.
That should have been the end of it. If they can’t prove that he bought the coins with the results of criminal enterprise in court, that is the end of it.
There were suspicions of money laundering because an ion scan indicated the cash had been in close proximity of high levels of methamphetamine.
We aren’t talking about cash. Where did cash enter this story? Just bad reporting. Are they saying that Schifter had cash on him that tested positive for drug residue? So what, most of the money in the nation does.
This is nothing more than theft. The government is out to steal your possessions. Asset forfeiture is theft. It is unconstitutional, but the courts don’t care about that.