Whenever there is extended silence on here (like from February through the end of March), it’s usually because of personal turmoil. I can’t write publicly when there are really negative things happening in my life. I have to have some closure or distance first. The legal dust has not settled, but I’m no longer willing to be silent and wait like a good girl.

This is a very long post. For those with little patience or bad eyesight, here’s the executive summary: I was pulled over in East Texas and all my money seized for no real reason at all.

I visited Dallas in early February. I made sure to include a Saturday in my trip so that I could drive out to East Texas to visit my family. Might not be a lot of family, but I haven’t seen them in a while. It was a good visit and I was wishing I didn’t have a 2hr drive back to my hotel in Plano because I was sleepy. Was looking forward to a good night’s sleep before my plane trip out early the next morning. As usual, my mother requested I call her when I got back to my hotel room so she would know I was safe and sound. My sister requested the same.

illegal search and seizure in texas

Driving back along I-30, I was pulled over by a cop who was riding my tail so close I couldn’t even see his headlights. He showed me no radar gun but told me I was doing 68 in a 65. Okay, fine, whatever. He asked to search my rental car and I refused. Invoking that one right was obviously a sign I was hiding something. I spent the next two hours either sitting in the ditch or standing up against the hood of a police car (trying to stay warm) while 10 assorted men swarmed over my rental car and took it apart. They asked me a lot of questions. I forgot the other part of my rights and didn’t ask if I was free to go. By that time, it was too late. I’d forgotten that I-30 is a major drug corridor. I won’t forget it again.

There was a state trooper who yelled in my face for a while (I mentally drifted off, so I only recall he was angry because I refused to discuss the details of my family with him). There was a young cop driving a white Escalade who stood over my shoulder the whole time clicking his handcuffs and making remarks to me. An older guy who was playing “good cop” up to the point where he let slip that people have “too many rights.” The original young cop who pulled me over and seemed intent on making a drug bust. And some random old guy in a maroon A&M shirt and some official badge around his neck who seemed to have come straight from a fundraiser barbeque. Plus all the other assorted authority types who drove in from 50 miles around to find drugs on some random chick’s car. (Should’ve seen the guy playing with the spare tire. I was waiting for it to roll into the highway or the ditch.)

There was a “drug dog” — a black mutt who responded to signals from his handler and got chewy bones every time he did what the handler wanted. He scratched at my driver’s side door when the handler bent down (out of my sight). That gave them access to my car since they counted that as a “hit.”

I told them I did writing and Web design (which is true, it just doesn’t pay as well as I’d like). It didn’t take them long to find my money once they were in the car. For the record, the Amazing Drug Mutt “hit” on the driver’s side door. My money was in a purse in a plastic grocery bag (with other assorted crap I was carrying around) on the floor of the passenger side.

Since my hotel room did not have a room safe, I was carrying my money on me. That’s always been the safest way of handling things. Not this time. I hadn’t been able to go to the bank to pay rent and a couple other bills, so every dollar I had was in there. It was all my monthly bills and a nice cushion to do extra, frivolous things, like get new eyeglasses and go to the doctor again (concerning what seems to be adult-onset asthma). My money excited them more than it excited me.

Since I could not prove how I’d gotten my money and I wasn’t carrying receipts or a tax return to show my income, my purse with my money was put on the ground and the dog circled it, unconcerned. Impatient, the handler pointed directly at my purse. The dog picked it up in his mouth and gave it to the handler. That was another “hit” from the Amazing Drug Mutt. They took my purse and money, giving me a receipt. Oh, and a warning for the speeding.

There are a lot of details here that I’m glossing over. Like how I nearly had to sneak out of the hotel since I had no money to pay the bill (they forced it through on my debit card, resulting in an overdraft charge, along with two other debits for a rare ding on my account and $75 in fees, plus the amount of the charges). Or how they went through the contact lists of the two phones I had in my car (work and personal). Or how I wasn’t allowed access to my notebook to take down all their names and badge numbers (though they thumbed through my notebook). There’s more, but I’ll leave those details out as they’re quite personally identifiable.

I do consider myself very lucky that these crooked cops weren’t so crooked as to actually plant drugs on me. The thought crossed my mind halfway through the proceedings and it chilled me completely.

the pieces

Driving away I started crying. Unlike anyone who works for a set salary, I actually earn every dollar that was in my purse. I’m not a wage slave, but my physical labor is billed by the hour. There is no paycheck, only what I earn for my time and energy. I felt raped. Any sense of safety was ripped from me. (Not to dismiss the feelings of those who have been raped. I can’t even imagine having to deal with that physical reality on top of the emotional damage.)

Don’t ever think I believe I’m safe simply because cops roam the land at will. No, my safety was gone because my little bubble world had been trampled, I was on their radar and I was robbed of almost every cent I had (they left $.70 in the ashtray). There was nothing I could do. I was afraid they would ransack my hotel room looking for more cash or that they would say something to the cops in Vegas. There was nothing I could do. I spent a lot of time shaking. Unlike many people probably would, I didn’t shower afterwards. I couldn’t remove my clothes. I didn’t want to. I kept my coat and shoes on.

Back in Vegas…I was afraid to go out. Shaking and nauseous when I saw a cop car. And they were everywhere! An infestation of them. I got pulled over a week later for some stupid mistake the California DMV had made with my registration. I was out running errands. Before the cop walked up to my car, I’d hidden my two phones in my bag and stuffed my money in my bra. I nearly threw up on him when he got to my window. I drove home afterwards and shook for a while.

I’m still afraid of my own money. A friend gave me a personal loan so I could pay my bills and eat. Having the cash in my hands was frightening. I’ve loved money and have always been upfront about that. But now, it’s a dangerous thing to have. It feels like a beacon, making me a target. And it could be taken from me. I used to keep my money in my bedroom. Now it’s far away from there. Sometimes hidden, sometimes just carelessly piled. It does not give the same sense of joy it once did.

Watching the cop count out my money on the hood of his car almost killed me. Every dollar more was another piece of damning evidence against me. I’d been so happy at my fat purse and now it was the worst thing I could’ve done to myself.

lawyers

I tried to find lawyers but it was hard. They were either completely uninterested – my grand sum being so small as to be beneath their concern. Or they wanted 1/3 of it to recover it for me. Which was a bit much. Why should I have to spend so much to get back what should never have been taken in the first place?

I finally found one who made a call on my behalf and the news back wasn’t good. Another one told me I simply had to wait 30 days and see if they filed a claim against the money. If not, I should simply get it back. That 30 days has come and gone. No claim, no money, no purse.

One lawyer has made continual calls on my behalf. He’s talked to the DA, the sheriff, even the cop who pulled me over. All have assured him that the check (and purse) is in the mail. I continue to receive nothing. And now his calls aren’t being returned.

you need to know…

This has taught me an important, horrible lesson.

Know your rights. I’ve taped an index card to my car’s visor and the door jamb of my front door. It says:
1. Without a search warrant, say “NO” to any requests for searches of anything.
2. When they start conversing and not writing a ticket, ask “Am I under arrest?” If not, then “Am I free to go?” Keep repeating until arrested or released.
3. If arrested, “I am going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.” Repeat if necessary, say nothing else.
4. number of lawyer on retainer

Second, buy a copy of Beat the Heat. Read it more than once. I’d read it over a year ago and didn’t remember the important info in the heat of the moment (#2, above). Not anymore.

As a bonus, watch these two videos put out by SWOP-Chicago. Though geared toward arrested sex workers, the concepts of your rights apply to all.

Third, donate to the ACLU. Though my case wasn’t of interest to them, they do fight for the rights we’re supposed to have. Trust me, when it comes to cops – we’re all criminals. Nothing like the police to swell the support for the ACLU.

Fourth, I’m not alone.
Tenaha TX
illegal searches all over East Texas
more injustice in TX for regular folks
what the War on Drugs is doing to us all
don’t go through the St. Louis airport

Fifth, I don’t care what you think about drugs. I’m not a drug dealer, trafficker or drug user (I generally don’t even like going to the doctor or taking OTC medications; my trips to Amsterdam are rare). Illegal search and seizures have nothing to do about drugs. Just like arresting adult sex workers has nothing to do with saving children forced into sex work. (Or, even arresting children.)

random bits

I can’t even imagine the trauma of being arrested. Or the trauma of being arrested as a sex worker. I’ve read accounts and listened to others who have been through it. I feel lucky I was simply viewed as some sort of drug-related criminal instead of a sex worker. It would’ve easy to take me onto a deserted back road out in the country if those crooked cops had more than drugs busts and legal robbery on their minds.

I wonder if this is going to go on my record somewhere, stating that I had a drug-related search and seizure.

For those who say this is rampant due to loss of money and funding cutbacks in the past couple years – yes, I know that’s part of it. Being broke isn’t a legal defense for robbers and burglars; it’s not a defense for cops doing exactly the same thing.

At one point in time, maybe people joined the police force because they felt they were protecting citizens from bad people and bad things. Now, it seems that police are the bad people and the rest of us have no protection from them. Stories like mine are way too common now.

I’ve always been proud of being a Texan, even through the Bush years. Texas is the motherland for me. Many amazing people have come from Texas, including a lot of strong, history-making women (and a lot of notorious crazy people too). But this incident and what a little bit of research has uncovered is revolting. Texas needs to get its act together. This is not what being a Texan is about.

Though this has little to do with my decision to start sex-working the world (I got that idea last July), the timing is fine with me. I’ll go spend my discretionary income in some other country, thank you very much.

My mother has reported having cops tailgating her while she’s driving to work. A 60-something teacher. Yeah, smells like a drug-runner to me. I’m giving her a copy of my index card.

41 thoughts on “i am collateral damage from the war on drugs

  1. I’m very sorry to hear that you had to go through such a horrific experience. I myself have always believed that police officers are there to protect and serve, but it seems there are more and more stories, yours included, out there that reveal the true nature of some of them. Unfortunately, it gives a black eye to all of them. I’m now a little more wary whenever I see a cop because you simply do not know nowadays who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. And that makes me particularly sad because my sister-in-law was once a cop and a very dedicated and loyal one at that. I can’t begin to understand how you must have felt standing on the side of the road, but I know no person should be treated like that. As for Texas, I’m from Texas, live here currently, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Texas, once known for graciousness and gratitude, has fallen from it’s once great height and really does need to straighten itself out again. Unfortunately, it’s not just the cop situation that needs fixin. All in all, I am sorry to hear about what you had to go through. Like I said, no person should have to go through that. I do hope that you have your belongings returned at some point (even if it does seem unlikely now). And I hope you never have to go through this or any experience like it ever again. But at least now you have your rights card and if, heaven forbid, it happens again, you’ll be so much stronger and wiser and can maybe straighten out a few of them in the process. One can only hope.

  2. Amanda,

    That is terrible, but not surprising. Our rights have been slowly taken away from us over the last eight years, and very few people seem to care. At ticket for 3 over and no radar and tailgating, which is itself illegal, make me wonder if this country is on a downhill slide. You have my sympathy.

    Robert.

  3. Shawna,

    I have to wonder if the bad cops are squeezing the good cops away. If you have a conscience, working alongside people like that would make you want to leave rather than be thought of the same. This starts an ugly cycle.

    Texas is a great state but something sure has gone wrong over the past few years. These situations have been building for years, I know it’s not a new thing.

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. I had a bad experience and I know others have had much worse experiences. So many innocent people suffer for nothing other than circumstances and out-of-control authority figures.

    Robert,

    I hated the Patriot Act from day 1 and that just started all this off. If we live in fear of what our own police might do to any of us…well, what sort of a country is that?

    Thank you for your sympathy. I didn’t post this for that reason, but it is appreciated.

    XX

  4. The taking of your money kind of spits in the face of that old concept of “innocent until proven guilty,” doesn’t it?

  5. I just read the article in the link above. I find it very disturbing, not only what the cops are doing but also the fact that 150 people who did nothing wrong let their property be stolen and did nothing about it. Every individual has the responsibility to protect, and fight when necessary, their rights, even when it will cost more than doing nothing. Over the long run when individuals fail to act it effects the rights of the whole. We must remember, the only reason we have the rights we have ( or should I say had ) is because people were willing to die for them. Now I’m not saying we should die for our cars or cash, if you feel threatened, then do whatever you have to do to get out of the situation safely, then fight like hell to get your property back.

    Sorry for the rant. I hope you get your stuff back, don’t give up trying, even if the only thing you can do is send a certified letter every week, creating a paper trail is the best thing you can do. Eventually they will have to either tell you why you are not getting it back or give it back to you.

  6. Alexa,

    Yes it most certainly does. I was guilty of driving a rental car, having cash and a Tracfone — apparently.

    Michael,

    I know of Tenaha BUT…that doesn’t mean I’ll get anything back unless they release it. So far my lawyer isn’t even having any luck. I’m looking to get media attention thrown on this (local at first). I wasn’t stopped in Tenaha so I can’t be part of their lawsuit.

    XX

  7. Law enforcement has become an odd profession. When I was in college, the cops wanted to break up a party I was attending. What did they do? They arrested the largest person there, me. When I asked what I had done, the cop told me I was arrested for public intoxication. I had been sick most of day and was drinking only water. I was at the party because it was the end of the semester and several of my friends were leaving the next day. When I told the cop I would be happy to take a breath test, he told me to shut up and sit in the back of the car. I spent the night in jail. When I asked what I was charged with the next morning they told me I was drinking after established drinking hours. That one incident has effected me all these many years. I had to spend money to get my record expunged. Several of the guys I played football with in college are now cops. One is the sherif of Travis County. Some of those guys are good and some not so good. In my practice I have many cops as patients of mine. Most of the good ones seem disgruntled and are looking for ways out. With the infringement and control over our rights the government takes year after year, the bad guys have figured out that they can do things under the guise of “legality” by being cops. Even today I still get mad at the sight of a cop tailing me because of an incident 25 years ago. I can empathize with you incident, although it sounds much worse than what I had to endure. I know you can’t forget the incident, but try to shove it aside and have fun on your travels.
    Greg

  8. Greg,

    Your story highlights a number of problems. The most obvious being that a record changes your life forever (an especially important point as far as criminalizing prostitution goes, but that’s part of a different argument). The second, to me, is that cultural changes in the police force is creating an ugly cycle of making the force worse, not better.

    I have nothing against police who use their authority only to do their jobs while respecting citizens. Those type seem like a rarity more and more. I was threatened with arrest on a traffic stop recently because I wouldn’t give my SSN (it is not a LAW that I give it out, yet I was threatened with arrest for failure to identify myself, even though he held my legal, government-issued ID in his hand).

    To be honest, just talking about all this makes me ill. All these years of being a sex worker and THIS is going to require therapy.

    XX

  9. Amanda,

    What a terrible experience. I can only imagine how violated you feel. Several things occur to me here. One, you were driving a rental car which means that anyone who drove the car could have left the smallest bit of residue in it and the dog would have “alerted”. Dogs have such a great sense of smell they can pick up things we humans cannot even see. Two, most cash in the United States has traces of drugs on it so when they took your purse out, the dog was sure to smell something. Three, you are certainly a casualty of the war on drugs. That is exactly how the cops look for drug dealers and they use asset seizure as a proxy when they get an innocent person (or if they can’t find the stash). You should get your money back though I’m sure they will stall you as long as they can. Absolutely keep after them.

    Take care,

    David

  10. When I first heard about this not too long after it happened via our mutual friend, I panicked. I plotz. I’m just glad that you’re alright, though a little poorer. I do hope you get that money but man am I doubting that. Have you heard of Radley Balko? He runs The Agitator and is a libertarian. But his main claim to fame is covering the rampant police misconduct surrounding the war on drugs and other random police misconduct.

    I was weary of the police before but I truly dislike them now. Here’s Radley’s site: The Agitator.

  11. David,

    I’d thought about the rental car having residue but it quickly became clear the Amazing Drug Mutt was responding to his handler’s signals and not actually sniffing anything. Really, it was not an impressive showing. Any dog off the street could’ve “sniffed” my money. (Read those paragraphs again.) And yes, I know money is tainted (with feces residue too!), but the dog ignored my money until the handler pointed at it with his hand out. I can do that to any dog and they’ll put the object in my hand for a chewy bone. Again, not proof of a damn thing, in my eyes. I am still going after them, never fear.

    Aspasia,

    Thanks for the link! Sounds like a good media resource.

    What I hate most is the fear I have now. While I’ve never liked police (due to obvious abuses of power), I now have an irrational fear. I don’t like living with this fear and cops are everywhere. Domestic terrorism, far as I’m concerned.

    XX

  12. Dear Amanda,

    I didn’t know about the feces on money. Yuck! You’re right that they didn’t have proof of anything whatsoever (which was the point I was trying to make in a long winded manner) and they have stolen your money. Somebody should really call the cops on them. Oh wait, they are the cops. I’m glad you mentioned the ACLU. We need them now more than ever.

    David

  13. David,

    Read about the feces taint on money! It’s gross!

    Yes, the ACLU needs our support more than ever. They have to protect us from those “protecting” us.

    XX

  14. This is so frustrating I hardly know where to spit.

    And the worst part is what it’s doing to you emotionally with this new “irrational fear.” I so hope you get all your money back but even more I really hope you overcome the fear. We’re all vulnerable and helpless in various ways but being haunted by that knowledge just compounds it to the Nth degree.

    It’s no way for a strong, intelligent, creative spirit like you to live, not for one more day.

    Much love,
    c

  15. Amanda,

    No one should ever be treated so badly, even if guilty. If you ever find yourself in Plano again and in need, my email above will get you help.

    I can only imagine the feeling of helplessness and violation you felt. As a middle age white guy with good political contacts I tend to be treated with respect, not derision, in the circles I travel. But I have daughters and I try to live the golden rule. And that golden rule is not he who has the gold makes the rules. Or in your case, he who has the tin star makes the rules. That kind of cowboy justice is sad but reflective of a certain mindset that is all too common.

    In my small home town some people would tell the police if they were going on vacation so the police would watch their home while they were gone. My father never did because, he said, “the police are the ones I worry about”.

    Your experience is not new, unfortunately, but just another in a long history of abuses by men with more power than morals. There are good men out there, but clearly you did not meet them and as some above have said, the good men grow jaded and cynical from the job and their peers.

    If you had a lot of money or strong political contacts you would get your money back and an apology. As it is, I hope you get your pride and sense of dignity back. You have friends you do not even know who care and are there for you when you need them. Remember, you are a worthy and holy soul and you are not alone.

    And a final comment, you are an excellent writer.

  16. Amanda,

    That has to be a searing experience. You have both my sympathy and, although I have never been harassed by the police as badly and as causelessly as this, my empathy.

    But you should be proud of the way you carried yourself. I could not agree with you more about the importance of learning and knowing your rights – use them or lose them. But to remember your rights and assert them in the face of the police and the pressure of the situation takes courage and a cool head. From what you said, the rights you remembered were more important than those you forgot. (Even though it is your right to ask if you are free to go, they will not say yes if they aren’t done with you, and to try to defy them would bring on a physical confrontation.) No one should underestimate how many people forget their rights, fail to assert them or are tricked out of them. This is even more the case when someone is actually arrested, as I have seen far too many sad times.

    Furthermore, as is mentioned in the link below, and as I have heard other times from other good sources, the more you assert your rights and the less you say and consent to, the easier it is for a lawyer to defend you and the better your chances are in court.

    Although he mentions West Texas rather than East, this lawyer has some interesting information: http://www.texascriminallawyer.blog/search_seizure

    It’s good to see that your story seems to be having a good effect on others attitudes toward the police. Although I think the last few years have made this worse, Rick is right that it is an age-old problem.

  17. Amanda where have you been? The police don’t play fair. You need therapy? Come on you better get tougher or consider retirement because if you get arrested especially for prostitution this traffic stop will be nothing compared to being arrested and locked up for as long as 2 or 3 days. Why carry a bunch of money in your purse? I can think of way better hiding places. Well good luck.

  18. Casey,

    Yeah, the fear is the worst. Definitely. Thank you.

    (I can tell you where to spit! 😉

    Rick,

    Thank you for your kind words. I shouldn’t HAVE to have more money or political contacts to get my money back. That it’s the best solution is a sad thing.

    Lee,

    Searing is a good word.

    I’ve often wondered if I asked if I were free to go, if they would’ve just detained me anyway. I always travel with a digital voice recorder, next time I plan on whipping it out and using it. I might also try using my digital camera. I will be asking them a lot of questions — since they like to have conversations so much.

    I did indeed talk WAY too much during this interaction. I knew it at the time, but I couldn’t seem to shut myself up, they would get ugly if I refused to answer a question. Knowing my rights helps because I know the things I need to repeat.

    Your link didn’t work.

    Have never liked police for their attitude toward sex workers, but I’ve always tried to feel that it was my problem. I’m not bothering to temper my attitude anymore. I did nothing wrong and was considered guilty until proven innocent.

    XX

  19. Shannon,

    I always expected any interactions with police to come because of sex work. I never expected to be robbed on the side of the road. I’ve never liked police because of how they treat sex workers, but it’s quite a different thing to have this sort of up-close-and-personal experience. It’s also quite a different thing to write about it publicly too — then get criticized? I guess if I got raped, you’d have suggestions for how I could’ve avoided it or handled it better or blame me for even making the mistake of getting raped.

    Not asking for a pity party. This post is part of my personal history, a refusal to be silent and (hopefully) educational. I acted in a very normal way for any person who wasn’t committing dire crimes. I hope you know your rights and have a lawyer’s number handy.

    And hey, if it happens to you — bring your story over here so I can Monday-morning quarterback it for you!

  20. Thank God you weren’t raped or physically abused. Yes you were robbed but they call it “confiscate” when you get a receipt. I do feel sorry for you but you have to be a little tough sometimes so to hell with those losers with badges. You shouldn’t have to hide your money but unfortunately this is the real world. I don’t blame you for feeling pissed off and angry but move on and don’t let this stop your progress. Good luck!

  21. Sorry to hear you story. But here is some sound advice. Anytime an officer of the “law” pulls you over. You do the following: Keep your hands on the steering wheel at the 10-2 position (Especially if it is at night). Say nothing to the officer let him speak first. ALWAYS. Your answer should be yes sir or no sir. Example. Do you know why I pulled you over (You) No sir. (Officer) you were doing 68 in a 65. (You) no answer blank stare. That was a statement not a question. (Officer) Did you know you were doing 68 in a 65 (You) No sir. Regarding the search aspect always best to let the officer who stopped you do the search. If you deny him the search this will only piss him off and he will call for back up. Not sometimes always! Once they have called for backup you are fucked. Not sometimes always! And for those of you that are screaming about your rights those only count in a court of law not on the street with the officer(s). Rights are in theory not practice. Not fair I know I’m giving you reality of what to do. If the officer who stopped you can do the search, then more than likely no dogs no confiscated money etc. You need to stroke the officer’s very fragile ego. Remember he has a thumb dick mentality to begin with and I guarantee you somewhere in his childhood he was disrespected beat up by the school bully etc. So now it’s get even time. I know all this because my cousin used to be a cop. And once he made the force and found out what really goes on he quit a year later. After all he went through to become a cop. It’s allot worse than you think. Even worse than what you guys think here. You don’t know the half of it. The street belongs to the cop. The court room belongs to the attorneys. Always take your action to the court room. Never give the cop a reason to be pissed off. They want respect and if they don’t get it they will make your life miserable. Think of them as damaged little boys who were beaten and raped as children. Always remember one word answers only yes sir, no sir, and thank you sir. That’s it. It’s like a BDSM game. Simple enough. You were very lucky they didn’t plant drugs on you. That is what usually happens when back up is called. Hope this helps.
    Oh yeah one more thing my political rant. I have said for years there is no difference between Dems; Reps. We will see if the anointed one (Obama) repeals the patriot act. My money is on he won’t. You watch. Until we get rid of D’s and Rs in this country there will be NO REAL CHANGE THAT YOU CAN BELIEVE IN!
    Sincerely
    Anthony

  22. Anthony,

    Your advice is very good, but I WILL assert my rights. I want it recorded that I asserted my rights and that they were trampled. Makes it easier for a court case. I do need to play the respect game more, though. It’s hard because I don’t (obviously).

    No, I never thought Obama would repeal the Patriot Act. Only Ron Paul said he would do that, but I didn’t like his stance on other issues. Sigh. If only we could mix and match our politicians.

    XX

  23. I am so sorry you went through this. And I understand the fear very well. A couple of years ago I was flying to Vegas for 2 days. When packing, I had an empty suitcase and grabbed a bunch of underwear without sorting through.

    The border guards didn’t like my self-employed answer to “what do you do question” so they pulled me over. Then they found the underwear, which of course, in my case meant lingerie since that’s what I like… And I was staying with a friend I met on a board… For the next couple of hours that tried to make me confess that I was a prostitute going to work. They went through my laptop (and showed complete idiocy by spending time in DivX folder looking at plug-ins and ignoring the desktop full of sex work related academic pdfs that happened to have names like 1000678.pdf). And I had no rights to assert since when you try to do that at the border, you simply don’t go through.

    They couldn’t find anything to stick, so eventually they let me through. Thank god I came very early and did not miss my flight.

    Since then, every bloody time I cross the US border, even for Christmas with my family, I feel a pang of fear. I watch what I pack and what’s on my computer. Any adult/sex work activist materials are backed up on-line or at home.

  24. I’m glad to see that the link worked, and hopefully you found something interesting in his commentary. I’m sure much or most of it you were familiar with already, but its always good to see defense attorneys who are really in the pursuit of justice and fairness for their clients and society. Lawyers and judges who feel and act this way can do a world of good, and are worth every penny of their fees and salaries.

  25. Lee,

    No, I’m not familiar with everything he said. I learned several new things just in his first couple posts alone. So the link is well worth it!

    I’m doing a new post about this (was supposed to have done it this past week). I’ll make sure to point everyone to his site as well. I found it to be informative.

    It’s one thing to fight for the rights of criminals. It’s another to have to fight for the rights of the innocent.

    XX

  26. Well when you threaten to give information to the authorites then what usually happens is that it comes back to haunt you. Bad karma. The authorites broke you for your months expenses and if you make a big thing out of it they will probably investigate you if they already aren’t and make your life way more miserable than you can imagine. But go ahead and fight for your “rights” and see what they will do. The worst that can happen is that the next time you get pulled over they will “find” a kilo of heroin in your car. I am sure the authorites “loved” your new book also.

  27. CORRECTION: Pardon my misspelling everyone…authorities not “authorite” lol I haven’t had much sleep in the last day and a half.

  28. Has there been any resolution to this? Did you get your money back? I hope you didn’t give up, because then they win.

  29. Trevor,

    Yes, I did end up receiving a check from the county shortly before I left for the UK. I still need to write about that, as well as try and pursue other avenues, such as reporting it to various agencies (to be part of the public record). I’ve just been behind.

    XX

  30. Do you really mean to say that all the money you had in the world was in the car with you? Ouch. With two books and a stream of wealthy ‘patrons’ seems like you’d have a bunch in the bank and it wouldn’t much matter. Sorry for your bad experience I can’t imagine what that would be like.

  31. Tolly,

    At that moment, yes. My book company is separate from my finances. I had just seen some clients, hence — the money.

    As for my mythical nest egg — you’re more than welcome to contribute if you think I should have one. 😉

    XX

  32. Amanda –

    This has saved my ass on several occasions.

    Visit http://www.vaultz.com

    Get a lockbox with a combination lock not key.

    ALWAYS keep your cash in your lockbox.

    I have had the same thing happen to me that happened to you. Drug sniffing dogs, cops tearing apart my car, the whole nine yards. They picked up my lockbox, examined it, briefly tried the lock, and moved right on along.

    LE needs a warrant to open a locked box.

    I learned the hard way as well. LOL sigh.

    I’d bet money that the blog reader who investigated the matter on your behalf had a lot to do with the eventual return of your money, as true due process is virtually nonexistant. Thank him profoundly.

    Feel free to email me anytime, I’m a little wary of speaking completely freely on public forums.

    I really like your blog, btw 🙂

    Take care and good luck! And never forget your rights!

    Love, Kelly James of Phoenix, AZ

  33. Kelly,

    I was traveling and my hotel did not have a room safe. I think I mentioned that in the post (it’s the sole reason my money was with me).

    Let’s just say I’ve since learned a LOT more about moving my money around and my rights, including that a locked car will function the same as a locked safe. (This was a ruling made last year in a similar case.)

    I have thanked that reader.

    Nope, not forgetting my rights ever again!!!

    XX

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