New at HuffPost: The Cops Stole Our Bail Money

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

I have an exclusive report up at Huffington Post this morning. It’s one of the craziest asset forfeiture stories I’ve ever seen.

Here’s the gist: When the friends and family of people arrested for drug crimes bring in cash to bail someone out, police in Brown County, Wisconsin are turning the cash over to a drug task force, which then brings out a drug dog inspect the bills. When the dog alerts, the cops are then seizing the money for the police department, citing state and federal civil asset forfeiture laws.

So the cops keep the money for themselves, and the suspect remains in a jail cell.

Read all about it here.

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72 Responses to “New at HuffPost: The Cops Stole Our Bail Money”

  1. #1 |  Bob | 

    Jesus Christ! That’s horrible!

    I especially like the part about how ‘suspicious’ it is that many ATMs were used. Cause, you know… ATMs have no limit on the cash they can dispense.

    Not everyone can just go into the bank and get a Cashier’s Check for free, either. Many banks are implementing “ATM only” accounts to keep costs down.

  2. #2 |  perlhaqr | 

    Evil. Plain and simple evil.

  3. #3 |  Cornellian | 

    Do they take plastic?

  4. #4 |  perlhaqr | 

    Cornellian: Read the story. The cops insisted they bring cash.

  5. #5 |  Other Sean | 

    Perlhaqr #2 – Evil it is, but not of the kind of evil people sometimes imagine.

    What drives this forfeiture business isn’t money, it’s the same moralizing crap that drives the drug war at large. There may be a handful of city manager types who openly see forfeiture as a revenue enhancement, but – and this is so much worse – the cops who carry it out believe with repulsive sincerity that they are “doing good”.

    That’s why we never really get a smoking gun moment where some sheriff is caught on tape saying “You better seize that cash, Roscoe, cause my new office ain’t gonna pay for itself. Hahahaha!”

    Cops are like most government employees: they NEVER think about where the money comes from to pay them. Worthless bond issues, tax confiscations, asset forfeiture piracy, federal grants, etc, it’s all just manna from heaven as far as they know. (Here it REALLY helps to be a libertarian, because libertarians start out believing most of these funding mechanisms are unjust to one degree or another.)

    The truth is that once you’ve hyped these cops up on drug war hysteria, they would be just as happy to seize this money and burn it.

  6. #6 |  Bob | 

    They will also take Cashier’s Checks. But they insisted they bring actual cash, then immediately whisked it away to have a drug sniffing dog detect on it so they could confiscate it.

    It just couldn’t be more blatant.

    I’m wondering if this kind of behavior could (In a perverse way.) segue into actually making ‘cash’ illegal? It seems incomprehensible, I know. But there are large players in the financial world that would be heavily profited from doing that, and will soon be in a sea of hurt as the derivatives market begins to implode. By forcing more transactions to be subject to “swipe fees”, they have an incentive to drive this. Government also has a dog in this fight. As tax revenues drop in a recession, Grey Market cash transaction (And their lack of trackability or taxation.) increase.

    The Police are already confiscating cash. Expanding that role in the interests of large financial players and government tax receipts seems like logical “Mission Creep” in this area.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see legislation both increasing the cash reporting by banks, and the prevention of cash transactions over a set amount between individuals. At that point, the police will ask “Do you have more than X dollars in cash?” knowing it’s illegal to pay that amount to another individual.

    Yeah, I know that’s crazy talk, and sounds counter to the story (The cops would be asking people to knowingly carry cash in a greater amount than can be legally given to an individual.) But they’re ALREADY knowingly asking people to bring cash that they will find to be ‘illegal’ simply by having a dog sniff it.

  7. #7 |  Eric Dondero | 

    Hey Radley, Pakistan just banned Twitter. It’s blasphemous to Islam.

    Why no coverage here? Golly geez. I thought TheAgitator was a pro-civil liberties site. Hmmn, must not fit the template. Y’know it’s Muslims taking our civil liberties away. And of course, left-libertarians are aligned with Muslims against the “evil” United States, and those “evil” Christians and Jews.

    Eric Dondero, Publisher

  8. #8 |  that guy | 

    Did you read the morning links, Eric?

  9. #9 |  Bob | 


    Yeah, I thought… “Say! Didn’t I just read that Pakistan banned Twitter?” Oh yeah, it was in the Agitator’s links today.

    Obviously, Radley used a Koch Brothers Time Machine to go back in time and put that link in just to make Eric look bad.

  10. #10 |  Radley Balko | 

    That’s one for the Dondero hall of fame.

    I mean, Jesus.

  11. #11 |  Radley Balko | 

    I’m wondering if this kind of behavior could (In a perverse way.) segue into actually making ‘cash’ illegal?

    I’m fairly sure that several states already have laws banning the use of cash at pawn shops and salvage yards.

  12. #12 |  Radley Balko | 

    Obviously, Radley used a Koch Brothers Time Machine to go back in time and put that link in just to make Eric look bad.

    Last time I called him out after a similar mistake, he pretty much suggested as much.

  13. #13 |  John Regan | 

    Forfeiture laws are certainly prone to terrible abuse, but I sometimes wonder if stories like this point more to the draconian aspects of the drug war than to forfeiture per se. Forfeiture is, after all, traditional, part of the old common law. The drug war is a relatively recent uber governmental construct.

  14. #14 |  Doubleu | 

    Timely story:
    Ever wonder what happens to funds seized from drug dealers?

    LINK to story

  15. #15 |  that guy | 

    “Y’know it’s Muslims taking our civil liberties away.”

    Funny, I thought it is Congress and POTUS and SCOTUS that are taking away our civil liberties.

  16. #16 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    That’s one for the Dondero hall of fame.


  17. #17 |  Bobby Black | 

    Years ago a man was busted and in court because his money tested positive. The defending lawyer had the great idea to test everybody’s money that was involved including th ejudges if i am not mistaken, an dfound that most money IS tainted with trace amounts, and the guy got off. These cops knew that i bet you, but counted on people NOT knowing it. Anybody research that case? i can’t find it today…i have all three of my sons crawling the walls.

  18. #18 |  Cornellian | 

    This makes me wonder whether police department budgets openly factor in the amount of money they expect to seize / steal in any given year.

  19. #19 |  marco73 | 

    The drug war is really a tax on poor people. If some suburban white kid is busted for pot, his parents will have their attorney arrange bail. and get a check from their bank.
    Since many poor people don’t have the financial connections to just wander into their bank and walk out with a cashier’s check for big bucks, or course they are left with walking into a police station with a shoebox full of cash.
    The cops set these people poor people up, plan and simple.

  20. #20 |  Eric Dondero | 

    Links? Are you fucking kidding me????

    Goddamned you idiots are pathetic. So, this site “links” a story and you call that coverage.

    I guess I should list every blog article on my blog roll at Libertarian Republican as “coverage” too, ‘eh?

    Coverage means STORY.

  21. #21 |  Eric Dondero | 

    Yoh, Radly, go on record.

    Do you consider a “link” to be coverage? C’mon ya little chicken shit. Have the courage of your convictions.

    You say you coverage it. Ok. I want you to say flat out, “I Radley Balko covered the Muslim ban on Twitter story because I linked it.”

    Make you a deal. You do that, and I’ll retract my listing of you as not covering the story.

  22. #22 |  damaged justice | 

    Eric, Radley’s far too polite to say it, but you’re a useless festering cunt.

  23. #23 |  that guy | 

    Why don’t you list yourself as not covering the twitter ban, Eric? Two sentences and then quoted text is not really covering a story is it?

  24. #24 |  Personanongrata | 

    #17 | Bobby Black | May 20th, 2012 at 11:43 am
    Years ago a man was busted and in court because his money tested positive. The defending lawyer had the great idea to test everybody’s money that was involved including th ejudges if i am not mistaken, an dfound that most money IS tainted with trace amounts, and the guy got off. These cops knew that i bet you, but counted on people NOT knowing it. Anybody research that case? i can’t find it today…i have all three of my sons crawling the walls.

    Lookie here:

    UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellant,
    U.S. CURRENCY, $30,060.00, Defendant.
    Albert Joseph Alexander, Claimant-Appellee.

    No. 92-55919.

    United States Court of Appeals,
    Ninth Circuit.

    Argued and Submitted Jan. 31, 1994.
    Decided Nov. 8, 1994.

    13 Alexander’s evidence was presented by affidavit from Jay B. Williams, a forensic toxicologist who has specialized in drug and alcohol analysis for over twenty-four years. Since 1982, Williams has conducted numerous tests concerning the contamination of circulated United States currency. He has tested samples of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills taken from noncriminal sources, such as banks, casinos, department stores and restaurants, in various cities throughout the western United States. According to Williams’s tests, the percentage of contaminated currency ranges from approximately ten to fifteen percent in Bozeman, Montana to seventy-five percent in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The bills tested contained from nanogram (billionths of a gram) to milligram (thousandths of a gram) quantities of cocaine.

    US currency is also a known carrier of fecal matter but thats a whole other story.

  25. #25 |  Other Sean | 

    Hehehe…”Coverage means STORY.”

    That sounds like something Spider Man’s boss would shout with unintended comic effect.

    Have you ever thought of becoming a cartoonish foil, Donderoo?

  26. #26 |  CyniCAl | 

    This is a variant of the Spanish Prisoner scam, or more currently, the Nigerian e-mail scam. Judges do this as well by receiving cash for bail, marking ROR on the bailment form and pocketing the cash. So now the cops have figured out how to muscle in on the action. There’s nothing new under the sun. The State will get its money by hook or by crook.

  27. #27 |  Eric Dondero | 

    Can you all explain something to me? Please.

    Why is it that practically every poster here posts under a bogus name?

    “Bob”? “That Guy”? “Damaged Justice” What the fuck kind of shit is that?

    Do you all not have real names?

    To their credit I see two folks here who do use their names Radley Balko and John Reagan. The rest could be just one dude, posting under a bunch of aliases, who lives in his mama’s basement, munching on Doritos all day long, while playing Dungeon’s and Dragons.

  28. #28 |  The Crip Bandit | 

    Eric, I do agree Radley has a definite leftist slant in some of the coverage he presents. But he normally provides coverage on DOMESTIC law enforcement issues. Overseas stuff usually just gets a link. I can get overseas stuff other places, Radley is one of the best on the problems on the domestic front.

  29. #29 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Eric, can you post using basic rules of civilized discourse? Foul language and insults are what I expect from the Occupy crowd. Yes, I did use my real name. But how do you know it isn’t an alias?

  30. #30 |  that guy | 

    Mostly laziness on my part. I’ve seen ‘other guy’ and ‘some guy’ post here so…I’d also rather not be easily identified by crazy fucks on the internet. Did you list yourself as not covering the twitter ban yet?

  31. #31 |  CyniCAl | 

    “Why is it that practically every poster here posts under a bogus name?”

    Not sure why everyone else does it, but I like having an alter-ego. I could just as easily comment under my real name.

    Maybe it makes it easier to deal with the rampant nutpunchery that happens here everyday. I put on my “CyniCAl” hat* when I read The Agitator, make my stupid comments, deal with the angst of police brutality and puppycide, and then when I take my “CyniCAl” hat off, I don’t have to feel bad again until my next Agitator session.

    * I don’t really have a hat. It’s just a metaphor. But if I did, it would look kind of like a Catholic bishop’s hat with a black circle-A on it.

  32. #32 |  Jennifer | 

    The thing I love most about reading Dondero’s posts is that they result in full-body cringing, an excellent way to get exercise and burn off excess calories without even having to leave my chair.

    Eric: next weekend I’m going on vacation, which means I’ll probably eat more than usual, which means I’ll need a correspondingly larger amount of exercise. Could you make some of your awesome old-school posts, like the ones where you brag about all the Filipina prostitutes you boinked while in the Navy to prove your studmuffin virility? Or the ones where you bragged how the voters of Texas were going to kick Ron Paul out on his ass and replace him with your studly mustachioed self?

  33. #33 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Never heard of this Dondero doofus before, but he certainly provided some unintentional comic relief that was much appreciated after this depressing story.

  34. #34 |  Bob | 


    How do you know my name isn’t actually “Bob”? It could be.

    Why don’t I use my full name? Why should I? That’s like consenting to a search of your car… there’s no reason to do that if you don’t need to.

  35. #35 |  croaker | 

    @22 “Useless festering cunt” are 2ric’s good points.

  36. #36 |  Bernard | 

    Eric, we know that noone reads your blog and you want to get free publicity by picking a fight and then spamming your blog at us, but trust me, not all publicity is good publicity.

    If the theme of your blog is to show the world what a moron you are then you’re doing a fine job but the competition is fierce and we don’t need another one.

    If you think you have something useful to add then add it. If people like it they might read more from you.

    Starting fights over nothing isn’t going to up your readership.

  37. #37 |  croaker | 

    @27 Because fuck you. That’s why.

    Taking a page from Gunny Ermey, the best part of you ran down the crack of your mother’s butt and left a brown stain on the mattress.

  38. #38 |  croaker | 

    @32 Philapina prostitutes? Don’t you mean ladyboys?

  39. #39 |  tarran | 

    Re Eric and starting fights,

    In a previous argument I had with that poor soul, he cited being busted down from a frocked E-6 to E-3 as an accomplishment he was proud of.

    Bear that in mind before deciding to rassle with him on the interwebs.

    BTW, Eric, still waiting for Al Queda to smuggle those Scuds into Mexico. :D

  40. #40 |  Eric Dondero | 

    Hey guys, this is me using my full name, so by my logic the post is totally legitimate and verified as a distinct poster from all other posters, and obviously the man (?) posting as #27.

    I’d like to apologize to progressives everywhere. I had it all wrong. We don’t need a smaller government! Why don’t people need a license to have sex yet? The corporate tax rate is probably a bit low. Thankfully Barack Obama should fix all of our problems, repealing the horrible Randian overreach of the past decades.

    Finally, I hope all my readers will realize that my blog isn’t really necessary, all traffic should divert to for their libertarian news.

    Remember, full names are totally legitimate unique identifiers

  41. #41 |  jmcross | 

    Just made my first and last visit to Mr Dondero’s corner of the web. My first impression is he is some kind of Hannity/Beck wannabe. A run of the mill militarist-statist desperately painting himself in libertarian colors. He probably thinks Marco Rubio is dreamy, and just what America needs.

  42. #42 |  jmcross | 

    Dondero. That sounds made up. You have papers?

  43. #43 |  Charlie O | 

    hey Dondero,

    Who gives a fuck what they do in Pakistan? I surely don’t. I’m more concerned with the police state at home in the US.

  44. #44 |  SPO | 

    And people think Sharon Angle is nuts when she talks about Second Amendment remedies.

    I have an idea–the whole lot of them needs to be brought up on federal kidnapping charges.

  45. #45 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Why did Ron Paul can your useless ass, Eric?


  46. #46 |  John C. Randolph | 

    Forfeiture is, after all, traditional, part of the old common law.

    Forfeiture after a trial and a conviction is a different thing entirely. Today’s “civil” forfeiture is nothing but looting.


  47. #47 |  John C. Randolph | 

    I will state for the record: Sheriff Dennis Kocken is not a peace officer, he is not a law enforcement officer, he is a looter, and nothing more.


  48. #48 |  Bob Mc | 

    Never heard of this Donderdoodle guy until today either, but two minutes of research convinces me he’s no libertarian. War-bertarian, maybe, but definitely not libertarian.

  49. #49 |  Michael Brock | 

    #48 Bob Mc

    If an agitated hemorrhoid merged with an anal herpe, the new sore is known as a Dondero.

  50. #50 |  Yeah, that guy... | 

    Has everyone forgotten about the study that found 90% of our currency carries trace amounts of drugs on it.

  51. #51 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    Wasn’t Dondero that horse that that broke its leg in the Preakness, who they wouldn’t put down at the scene, and who suffered an agonizing few weeks and multiple surgeries while they collected his million dollar semen samples, errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, until he succumbed to his injury?

    But anyway, Dondero, you are way behind the news here. Pakistan got its Twitter back, by order of the Prime Minister.

  52. #52 |  AlgerHiss | 

    Some might like to know where Brown County, Wisconsin can be contacted. The county government site is:

    The Chamber of Commerce is:

    The central city of the county is Green Bay:

  53. #53 |  JSL | 

    “Why is it that practically every poster here posts under a bogus name? ”

    You really have to ask this question Eric? No matter your politics, we live in the age of “the personal is political”. It often makes sense to be anonymous. For Christ’s sake, the New Black Panther Party put out a “wanted dead or alive” poster on Zimmerman out there in Florida and the cops did diddly squat. A couple of celebs posted a wrong address and threatened those who lived there to mob violence and nary a thing was done except hurried apologies once proven wrong.

  54. #54 |  H. Rearden | 

    Eric- I recommend that you post anomalously. That way, everyone wouldn’t know it was you making such a fool of yourself.

  55. #55 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I guess I don’t post often enough, Eric, but there are actually a few of us who use real names.

  56. #56 |  Other Sean | 

    Yeah, but names aren’t really that unique, unless you happen to be the child of an idiot celebrity.

    A real tough guy would be willing to post under his social security (or national insurance) number.

    Donderoo, you go first.

  57. #57 |  Bill Poser | 

    One thing I don’t understand about the Wisconsin situation is how the cops are getting near the bail money in the first place. Isn’t bail posted with the clerk of the court? It sounds like people are bringing their bail money to the police, but I don’t think that that is the procedure in the jurisdictions I have heard about. Does Wisconsin have some odd procedure in which people post bail with the cops? Or do people post bail with the court as elsewhere and are the cops just hanging around the clerk’s office with their dogs?

  58. #58 |  Belle Waring | 

    Some people no doubt post pseudonymously, I think we need to take that into account. Jennifer’s #32 makes me interested in Dondero’s views, and I suddenly wish to subscribe to his newsletter. As to the substance of the OP, I can only be glad that the cops in Bodymore, Murderland and Montgomery County, and the D of C, and um, the whole Eastern Seaboard(?) haven’t caught on to this or there would be some, uh, “friends of mine” who were still in jail on heroin possession and a huge grow operation and illegal guns and manufacturing explosives and I don’t know whatall.

    If any of you are libertarians on the socially conservative side who doubt that white privilege exists, see what happens to people you know who get arrested (God forbid they should get arrested, of course, but mayhap they will be). White people can skate on some insane charges. “Aw, you crazy kids. Get back to college and stop making plastique. Case dismissed.” Really though. If these close friends of mine hadn’t been white, they’d have probably been sent to juvie at 14 for stealing cars for joyrides, and had their whole lives screwed. Our justice system sends black kids who steal car for joyrides to jail. Being born white is one of the best moves you can make if you want a stable, prosperous life in America. I recommend it to everyone, but it’s often too late. I’ve been having trouble finding a publisher for my self-help book, but finally V-DARE’s picked it up, and John Derbyshire’s going to edit it. I mean, he’s a racist motherfucker, but he can write quite well, and he’s been kicked in the face by Bruce Lee. So it’s all good.

  59. #59 |  Flight_714 | 

    Hi Eric. My real name is Jesse Morelli, I live in Portland, Oregon, and I currently work in the mental health industry.

    That first fact was addressing your ideals of civility, the location was to add dramatic effect, and the third was not only factual, but it also serves as a suggestion.

  60. #60 |  Belle Waring | 

    Well, Flight_714, you have to take into account that they didn’t have access to the internet in the Psych Ward. He’d probably hurl more properly thought-out accusations at Radley if he were still on his meds.

  61. #61 |  thom | 

    Maybe one of these police departments should take their dogs into a casino cash room? That forfeiture would certainly be one for the ages…

  62. #62 |  Pi Guy | 


    Hi. I’m John Walstrum from MD. I use Pi Guy because I’m a geek and I think that, to some degree, my pseudonym says more about me to people who’ve never met me – like those in most of the blogosphere – than my real name does.

    Plus, I just like having a pseudonym. It’s kinda like being part of a club. Or a gang. And sneaky. And makes people like you go all apeshit even though I suspect a few minutes research on the World Wide Intergoogle Web Nets could probably turn up my identity and address and, with any tenacity, whether or not these are my real teeth. Seriously, Eric? All you’ve got left is “Someone’s using a fake name on the Internet?”

    So, all in all, I think I’ll keep using Pi Guy. At least this way, if I say something stupid, people have to do just a wee bit more work to figure out who the cool kid is. And, Eric, you’re just so cool.

  63. #63 |  Charlie O | 


    I said something similar at HuffPo. They wouldn’t post the comment. The comment was rather benign. All I said was if there was ever a case for second amendment remedies, this was one.

  64. #64 |  Pi Guy | 

    Don Bordreaux made a related post at Cafe Hayek (don’t know how many here know about this site; frequent visitors here would probably find it to be pretty swell)

    Uncle Sam and State Governments: Looting Like Pirates in the Name of Fighting Crime

  65. #65 |  Pi Guy | 

    That’s “Boudreaux.”

    One kilopardon…

  66. #66 |  perlhaqr | 


    Ha ha ha. Thank you for the laugh. I needed it.

  67. #67 |  StrangeOne | 

    Out of curiosity why is that the Agitator readers have such poor troll detection skills? I notice threads getting derailed over and over again by some of the most blatantly obvious trolling I’ve ever seen. Here’s the cliff notes version:

    If the poster belligerently states how far right/left Radley is; troll.
    If the poster is demanding an answer to Radley’s silence on an issue; troll.
    If the poster is demanding an end to pseudonymity on the internet; troll.

    Idiots like this shouldn’t get thirty responses.

  68. #68 |  CyniCAl | 

    Strange One, you are correct in general, but Dondero is something of a troll celebrity here. I rather enjoy his random interludes. And it’s ok to troll a troll. A good flame war now and then cleanses the soul.

  69. #69 |  Cynical in New York | 

    RE: #67 StrangeOne

    Eh, Dondero is regarded in libertarian circles of being just a troll who comes across as like a 15 year old on Facebook. I was kinda expecting him to come here after I read the twitter banning in Pakistan, it’s kinda like clockwork. I have give him credit he is one the more consistent trolls here, since most con and lib trolls come and go.

  70. #70 |  Longtorso | 

    Dondero makes me miss The Herc and White Indian.

  71. #71 |  demize! | 

    This is my legal name.

  72. #72 |  Kolohe | 

    Eric Dondero’s real name is not exactly ‘Eric Dondero’ either, but that’s neither here nor there.

    What inquiring minds want to know is does this fortell the return of The CamelCase Commando?