Class action lawsuit filed against Humboldt County

WINNEMUCCA, Nev. (MyNews4.com & 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.

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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.

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Highway Robbery (Update)

(Mynews4.com, 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. (MyNews4.com & 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 – www.mynews4.com
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…

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