Stop and Seize

Aggressive police take hundreds of millions of dollars from motorists not charged with crimes

After the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the government called on police to become the eyes and ears of homeland security on America’s highways.

Local officers, county deputies and state troopers were encouraged to act more aggressively in searching for suspicious people, drugs and other contraband. The departments of Homeland Security and Justice spent millions on police training.

Read complete story at the Washington Post

Nye County Rancher Case

Judge overturns $1 million judgment against rancher

web1_RANCHER-COURT-JULY29_004Pahrump Valley Times (August 08, 2014) – A District Court judge overturned a $1 million judgment against a northern Nye County rancher on Wednesday, agreeing that the plaintiff’s attorney likely perpetrated a fraud upon the court.

Judge Robert Lane issued his order as part of a legal fight stemming from the July 2005 death of Michael Adams, who struck a cow grazing in open range along State Route 375, the famous ET Highway. He died as a result. A marker 33 miles outside of Rachel marks the accident scene.

Read complete story at Pahrump Valley Times

Earlier Stories

Las Vegas Review-Journal (August 6, 2014)
Pahrump Valley Times (July 30th, 2014)
Las Vegas Review-Journal (July 28th, 2014)
Las Vegas Review-Journal (June 5th, 2015)

Sheriff’s Dept. Hit with Class Action Lawsuit Over Freeway Cash Seizures

( – A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, accusing the deputies in that county of illegally seizing cash from motorists along the I-80 highway near Winnemucca, Nevada. Read the Complete Story at

Las Vegas (8 News Now) A lawsuit has been filed against the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department alleging deputies there are unlawfully seizing cash from motorists traveling on I-80 toward California.

Las Vegas (8 News Now) If someone with a gun stops you and takes your money — would you call police? What if the person who takes your money also has a badge?

Humboldt County Cash Seizures

Silver Pinyon Journal

First lawsuit settles — Tan Nguyen and Matt Lee get their money back

WINNEMUCCA — The first lawsuit filed against Humboldt County, Sheriff Ed Kilgore and Sgt. Lee Dove has settled out of court. As a result of the settlement, Tan Nguyen received a check from the Humboldt County DA’s Office for $50,000 and a check from the Nevada Public Agency Insurance Pool for $10,000, to cover legal expenses.
Read Complete Story at the Silver Pinyon Journal

Class action lawsuit expected to be filed today over Humboldt County’s highway interdiction program

WINNEMUCCA— A Wisconsin man out $11,000 in cash to Humboldt County’s highway interdiction program intends to file a class action lawsuit against the county, Sheriff Ed Kilgore, Sgt. Lee Dove, and Chief Deputy DA Kevin Pasquale.
Read Complete Story at the Silver Pinyon Journal

Class action lawsuit filed against Humboldt County

WINNEMUCCA, Nev. ( & KRNV) — A new lawsuit has been filed regarding possible illegal seizures by Humboldt County sheriffs.

In February, News 4 investigated a claim by Tan Nguyen of California, saying that Humboldt County Sheriff Lee Dove seized $50,000 during a routine traffic stop, despite not being arrested or charged with a crime.

Humboldt County settled with Nguyen and one other man last month. Within one week of that settlement, more than 20 other forfeiture cases were filed by Humboldt County, reviewing instances where people who were subject to alleged illegal searches while traveling along Interstate 80 through Winnemucca.

Read More…

Humboldt files flurry of seizure cases

WINNEMUCCA, Nev. (Emerson Marcus, RGJ) Twenty forfeiture cases — more than the previous four years combined — have been filed by the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office since March 14, the day the county announced settling two lawsuits over cash seizures that drew media scrutiny.

Of the 20 forfeiture cases filed since last month in Humboldt County District Court, more than four exceeded $10,000 and the majority were filed as a result of Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office traffic stops, the county clerk said.

Those losing cash will be notified and given the chance to contest.

A Reno attorney involved in one of the settlements said he plans to file a class-action lawsuit Thursday over the county’s seizure policy.

Read More…

Highway Robbery (Update)

(, Reno NV)
The Humboldt County District Attorney has announced it will review every case involving cash seizures to make sure it’s office is following proper procedures in these cases.

The news comes after Humboldt County just paid to settle two claims filed by motorists who accused the sheriff’s office of violating their civil rights by seizing their money during routine traffic stops.

The county reimbursed one driver, Tan Nguyen, after taking $50,000 from him and also paid Nguyen $10,000 to cover his attorneys fees. Nguyen had filed a lawsuit against the county in federal court.

Nguyen’s attorney John Ohlson credited News 4’s recent On Your Side investigation into this story for helping prompt county officials to settle the case.

“You file a lawsuit and it can go unnoticed. And unless first ammendment fellows like you get out there and bring things to light government’s not naturally transparent. You’ve got to shine a light on them,” Ohlson said.

Ohlson also said there was no reason his client should have had his money taken in the first place.

“I think the really telling point is that he wasn’t charged with anything,” Ohlson said. “He had no drugs in his car. The pretext for stopping him is that he was doing 78 in a 75.”

The Humboldt County District Attorney released a statement Friday afternoon saying the sheriff’s office followed protocol in seizing the money but questions have come up about how the cases were handled once they arrived at the district attorney’s office. A full review is underway to determine whether policies were followed in all cases where money was seized from motorists during traffic stops.

Highway Robbery

Officer with cash

WINNEMUCCA, Nev. ( & KRNV) — Imagine getting pulled over for a traffic stop, and instead of getting a ticket, the officer takes your money. All of it.

It happened to one man recently, who was driving on Interstate 80 through Northern Nevada. Now, he is fighting back.

It’s a case that focuses on our rights: Can law enforcement take your money or property, even if you are not charged with a crime?

Read story at KRNV –
Read story at Silver Pinyon Journal

John Olson (Ohlson Law): It is not against the law to have and to own U.S. currency. It is not against the law to think about committing a crime, and even to plan it inside your own little mind (as long as you don’t involve anybody else in this planning). It is not against the law to be travelling on an interstate highway with cash in your possession—no matter the reason you have the money with you. So when law enforcement stops you on the highway, no matter what the circumstances are, and they ask to search your car, TELL THEM NO! If they abuse the law and take your money, it will be up to you to get it back. Stopping this behavior is up to all of us. Demand your rights. Demand that law enforcement plays it straight.

Miles From Nowhere

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Plumas County News Story

Chad Wallin Reed was charged with Murder in the First Degree, and tried before a jury in the Superior Court of the State of California, Plumas County, City of Quincy. The case arose out of the invasion of Chad’s isolated mountain property by six men who had returned to steal again from Chad. Chad chased the men approximately nine miles to a remote meadow where he fired an assault weapon into their car, killing one and wounding two. NBC’s program Dateline filmed much of the trial and presented a special on October 18, 2013.

Together with co-counsel Richard Young, I had the privilege of representing Chad at the six-week trial. This is the second time in 2013 that one of my cases has been a feature on Dateline. To see the program, click on the videos.

Wendover Killing

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“Dateline NBC” will air a two-hour special Friday about the murder of a 16-year-old girl almost two years ago near Wendover on the Nevada-Utah border.

Reno lawyer John Ohlson finds himself in the spotlight in the case. Appointed to defend Kody Kree Patten, 18, who was originally facing the death penalty, Ohlson got admissions from Patten’s girlfriend that helped secure her conviction and spared his client a death penalty trial. Read More…

Other links about this story

Patrick Dunn Murder Trial

Patrick Dunn looks down after his guilty verdict is read.

Patrick Dunn looks down after his guilty verdict is read Thursday in Elko District Court at the Nannini Administration Building.

Elko Daily Free Press Story