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post #1 of 21 Old 12-10-2007, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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California Vehicle Seizures

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Sideshow suspects' cars towed in S.J. sweep

By Christian Burkin
Record Staff Writer
December 10, 2007 6:00 AM


Law enforcement officers swept through San Joaquin County early Sunday morning, serving seizure warrants against vehicles suspected of involvement in street racing and sideshows.

They met, along with trucks from several local towing companies, at Centro Mart at West Charter Way and Turnpike Road around 7 a.m. But officers had already been out for hours, trying to locate as many as 34 listed cars in Stockton, Lodi and Tracy. They got 19.

The vehicle seizures were a joint operation between the Stockton Police Department and the Stockton-area office of the California Highway Patrol, paid for by a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety. The cars were towed, and will be impounded for up to 30 days, leaving their owners to pay an estimated $900 to $1,000 to retrieve them, police said.

Some owners were upset their vehicles could be taken despite what they called a lack of evidence.

"They don't have any videos of me," objected Edzequiel Buligon of Stockton whose heavily customized Dodge Neon was towed.

Buligon said his car is modified only because he likes the way it looks, and that when he races, he does so legally, at the Sacramento Raceway Park.

In October, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a bill allowing law enforcement agencies to seize vehicles belonging to those suspected of involvement in street racing and sideshow activity and to hold them for up to 30 days at the owner's expense. The law, authored by State Senate Leader Don Perata, D-East Bay, further stipulates that owners can retrieve their vehicles free of charge before the 30 days are up if they can prove they were not involved or aware the vehicle was being used in illegal activity.

Stockton police Officer Pete Smith, a department spokesman, said that in every case a law enforcement officer had witnessed the seized vehicle racing or participating in a sideshow - activities that Stockton police are now calling "aggressive driving."

"These are court-ordered impounds," he said.

That didn't sit well with Evelyn Chavez, whose 2000 Chevrolet Corvette was among the first vehicles seized. Chavez said the warrant against her vehicle read that it had been seen racing on Austin Road southeast of Stockton around one year ago.

Chavez, 22, said she only uses her Corvette to get to work.

"If I was racing why didn't I get pulled over?" Chavez asked a reporter.

"Quite frankly, she made a good point there," Smith said when he heard of Chavez's question.

Smith said the answer is that there are a lot of cars at sideshows and street racing events, and officers see more than they can safely catch.

"They deal with what they can," Smith said. "Just because you fled the scene doesn't mean you got away with it."

Contact reporter Christian Burkin at (209) 546-8279 or [email protected].

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post #2 of 21 Old 12-10-2007, 06:49 PM
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If I were them, I'd take it to court. A towing company towed my aunt's Alero away from a bar parking lot one day and didn't tell her about it. Then when she found it they were trying to charge her a LOT of money to get it out. I don't remember if she paid, but I wouldn't have.



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post #3 of 21 Old 12-10-2007, 10:21 PM
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Well, I was once told all the trends start in California. This is NOT a trend I want to see sweeping the country. What proof do they have to take your car??? Someone's "word"?? What the hell is this, Russia? Of course, I didn't really feel sorry for the clown with the "racing" Neon. I can only imagine what that winged circus wagon looked like!
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-11-2007, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtfarmer View Post
The law, authored by State Senate Leader Don Perata, D-East Bay, further stipulates that owners can retrieve their vehicles free of charge before the 30 days are up if they can prove they were not involved or aware the vehicle was being used in illegal activity.
[Soapbox]

This goes completely against what our laws were built on, back before Bush started wiping his @$$ with the Constitution. "Innocent before proven guilty"? Not when it comes to racing cars, apparently. If the cops want to bust the people, get video camera footage of them, then do warrants. You can't just go on the cops' words, I'm sorry. Cops are only human. Cut one off in his street car, and you might find yourself on that list.

R.I.P. American freedom. Makes me sad.

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post #5 of 21 Old 12-11-2007, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CUONCRS View Post
[Soapbox]

This goes completely against what our laws were built on, back before Bush started wiping his @$$ with the Constitution. "Innocent before proven guilty"? Not when it comes to racing cars, apparently. If the cops want to bust the people, get video camera footage of them, then do warrants. You can't just go on the cops' words, I'm sorry. Cops are only human. Cut one off in his street car, and you might find yourself on that list.

R.I.P. American freedom. Makes me sad.

[/Soapbox]
I was thinking the same thing when I was reading this.
WTF guilty until proven innocent


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence


"Presumption of innocence is a legal right that the accused in criminal trials has in many modern nations. It states that no person shall be considered guilty until finally convicted by a court. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to convince the court that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In case of remaining doubts, the accused is to be acquitted


In principle, the defense does not have to 'prove' anything. However, the defense may present evidence tending to show that there is a doubt as to the guilt of the accused.

Conversely, in many authoritarian regimes the prosecution case is, in practice, believed by default unless the accused can prove they are innocent, a practice called presumption of guilt. Many people believe that presumption of guilt is unfair and even immoral because it allows the strategic targeting of any individual, since it's often difficult to firmly establish proof of innocence (for example, it's often impossible to establish an alibi if the person is home alone at the time of the crime)."

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post #6 of 21 Old 12-11-2007, 10:36 AM
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Maybe these people were right after all....

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post #7 of 21 Old 12-11-2007, 12:32 PM
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Im glad this made it to this forum, so much. This topic is hot. I agree with everyone here. I dont support street racing and sideshows (and the people doing deserve it), but I do support due process. Once again California manages to spit in the free worlds face.

Points I have:

- Police Officers are only human (like one of you said). If no written proof the owner was driving, then its not right. That is why police have you sign ticket on issuing. Video can be substituted, but apparently the police departments rather spend the money on a crooked operation to seize just 19 cars (priceless ones like a fuggin neon).

- The comment about police officers endangering themselves too much to arrest everyone the right way, rubbed me the wrong way. My feelings on that is, if you half-ass an operation you should get half-assed results. They apparently didnt take the time to gather concrete evidence on the suspects. I dont think a lazy operation should be honored in court and law suit should be enabled for this event.

- The sad thing is that tax payers money is wasted again. My outlook on law enforcement is to prevent crime or stop it; not let it continue and arrest everyone after the dust settles. 19 cars or more could of been seized in blocking one sideshow in a parking lot with a small amount of force. Two cars can be seized after pulling over someone for a street race, and Im sure street races happen very often enough to seize more than 19 cars.

-"In principle, the defense does not have to 'prove' anything. However, the defense may present evidence tending to show that there is a doubt as to the guilt of the accused", as brandon posted. This right here is the ticker. The way the deal is suppose to work is that the defense has to prove that the accused of the action; not the other way around.


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Last edited by Jinx; 12-11-2007 at 12:38 PM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-11-2007, 01:04 PM
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My Response to this Horses*** on another forum I visit.

Sideshow law or not, streetracing is ALWAYS illegal, THEREFORE she has a valid point.

To put the burden of proof on her seems to violate one of our great Country's most basic values...Maybe you've heard of it. Innocent until proven guilty.

How can an officer say "I saw you street racing a year ago," without providing any video footage or even a document of a plate check and the reason from that time. I guarantee that he can't say anything more than "Well it was a yellow Vette of that aproximate style." How can it be HER responsibility to prove that she didn't? This isn't about some kid street racing. This is about a violation of her CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. If I were a lawyer, I'd take her case pro-bono. This is ri-god-****ed-diculous. When did we become China?
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-11-2007, 01:13 PM
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I don't street race and I don't like for people to street race, but this is not the same as cracking down on streetracing this is totally agaist what America is supposed to be about.

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post #10 of 21 Old 12-11-2007, 02:44 PM
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If the cops suspect street racing, then before they go charging in and bust everyone, they need to set up someone where they can video tape the cars/plates/people. Then they have evidence, then they have guilt. I bet the lawyers are chomping at the bit to take on the gubment over these cases. I don't see how any judge in his right mind could decide on a case with no evidence except year-old here-say by a cop that didn't even pursue a suspect.

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