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WSJ on the Camp Zoe seizure

On October 17, 2011, in Drug War, federal, states, by Eapen Thampy

Excellent coverage! Let me excerpt briefly here:

Under federal law, a property owner can face 20 years in prison if prosecutors can prove the owner knowingly allowed illegal drugs to be used or sold on his premises—even if he isn’t directly involved.

James Tebeau learned first-hand. For years, he has been the owner and operator of a 350-acre concert venue in rural Missouri called Camp Zoe. Weekend concerts routinely drew thousands of music fans. Mr. Tebeau, a member of a Grateful Dead tribute band, also performed there.


Defenders of Mr. Tebeau say his case is an example of government overreach, given the ubiquitous use of drugs at many music concerts.

“If they can charge Jimmy Tebeau, they could charge just about any concert venue owner with these crimes,” said David Roland, director of litigation at the Freedom Center of Missouri, a nonprofit law firm focusing on constitutional law issues.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, whose office in St. Louis is prosecuting the case, disagreed: “Our office is a capable of distinguishing between a music festival with incidental drug use and a drug festival with incidental music.”

As someone whose office would profit directly from a successful forfeiture action against Camp Zoe, and who has tried to bankrupt Jimmy Tebeau before he could obtain representation, Richard Callahan cannot represent impartiality in the conduct of his prosecutorial duties. We can only hope the federal judiciary recognizes this fundamental conflict, and the unconscionable overreach of law enforcement looking for profit, and reject this scurrilous prosecutor and his greed.

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