Guillory began exchanging notes with his weekly lunch buddy, a slender, scruffy-bearded fellow civil-rights lawyer named Tim Garrigan. Garrigan, who is taller, grayer, and less salty than Guillory, suspected that Tenaha’s roadside deals reflected a broader trend of “policing for profit.” Over Szechuan chicken, he agreed to join Guillory in bringing a lawsuit, and, on July 24, 2008, the two men filed a class action against Shelby County and Tenaha authorities, with James Morrow listed as the lead plaintiff.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
This misunderstanding is due in large part to the law-makers of the privileged world who take part in what Merry calls the "transnational culture of modernity."This term describes the general grouping of people who, by the simple fact that they all live in modern, organized states with high regards towards individual rights and protection from the state, fail to consider the differences between their world, and communities whose cultures largely differ from these standards.
Inspired in part by the class action, Texas legislators banned the use of roadside waivers and modestly restricted the use of forfeiture funds: no more poultry-festival supplies, unapproved bonuses, or popcorn machines. Still, neither the settlement nor the law reduces the formidable obstacles for owners who want their property returned, or changes the fact that law-enforcement budgets can depend upon forfeiture revenue. The victory was distinctly partial. “As soon as the news hoopla died down, so did the debate,” Guillory told me.
This solution is particularly useful in implementing crucial laws that are generally misunderstood by populations with little to no access to the human rights education.
Victor Ramos Guzman, a Pentecostal Church secretary from El Salvador, who lives in the U.S. under temporary protected status, is typical in all these respects. A year and a half ago, he and his brother-in-law were driving along Interstate 95 near Emporia, Virginia, en route, documents show, to buy a parcel of land for their church. When a state trooper pulled them over for speeding, Guzman and his brother-in-law disclosed that they were carrying twenty-eight thousand five hundred dollars in parishioners’ donations. Although the trooper found no contraband, he seized the cash. By reporting the case to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Guzman was in the country legally, but he spoke little English), the state police could gain up to eighty per cent of the seizure through the federal Equitable Sharing program.
The tangled nature of the process became clear when I spoke to Nelly Moreira, a stout, curly-haired custodian who lives in Northwest D.C. Moreira relied on her 2005 Honda Accord to drive from her early-morning job, cleaning Trinity Washington University, to her evening job, cleaning the U.S. Treasury Department. In March, 2012, her son was driving her car when he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation, and, after a pat down, was found to have a handgun. He was arrested, and her car was seized. Moreira, who grew up in El Salvador, explained in Spanish that she received a letter in the mail two months later asking her to pay a bond of one thousand and twenty dollars—which she took to be the fee to get her car back. Desperate, she borrowed cash from friends and family to cover the bond, which is known in D.C. law as a “penal sum.” If she hadn’t, the car would have been auctioned off, or put to use by the police. But all that the money bought her was the right to a complex and slow-moving civil-forfeiture court case.
The lawyers figured that such misconduct had already been recorded. In Tenaha, the police station and cars were outfitted with video-surveillance equipment. And Boatright, for one, said that on the night of her detention Washington told her that the whole thing was being captured on film. Garrigan had requested footage of traffic stops made by Washington and his partner, along with related video from the station, but got nowhere. Then, after the Tenaha lawsuit caught the attention of the national media, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice launched its own criminal investigation into the alleged abuses. Several months later, in October, 2009, large stacks of optical disks were finally turned over. Garrigan and Guillory now had hundreds of hours of digital footage to sort through. Garrigan hired a colleague’s adult son to sit at a large oval wood-veneer table with a laptop and a supply of Starbucks, sorting through it all. (He’s still at it.)
One man takes on the law in this psychological thriller starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Fox. Butler is Clyde Shelton, once a loving husband and father turned unforgiving killer. After Shelton’s wife and daughter are brutally murdered, one of the men responsible for their deaths is given a break by the prosecutor in the case Nick Rice (Fox) in exchange for testimony. The case comes back to haunt Rice when Shelton begins targeting those involved in the case. Even in Rice’s custody, Shelton manages to execute his targets one by one and until he gets what he wants, he promises those killings will continue.
Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) confirms that any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law; yet heads of state dangle the nuclear option like a plaything.
The deposition of Barry Washington was scheduled for May 3, 2010, at the Nacogdoches County Courthouse, a squat, red-roofed building with all the grandeur of a budget motel. Tim Garrigan would be handling it. In the grand-jury room, Washington was flanked by a team of defense lawyers whom Garrigan and Guillory had confronted dozens of times, often in cases involving prisoner abuse.