Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

September 22, 2005 - Las Vegas City Life (NV)

Seize This!

By Steve Sebelius, Editor of Citylife

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Both the Las Vegas Sun and the Review-Journal jumped all over Dave Olsen, city attorney of sleepy Boulder City, when he filed a lawsuit to seize the home of Cynthia Warren.

Boulder City police, ably assisted by the SWAT team from nearby Henderson, stormed Warren's home in April to discover six marijuana plants and various and sundry marijuana-related paraphernalia inside. She was arrested, charged with several felonies, and ultimately pled no contest to possession of a controlled substance. But before she entered her plea, Olsen filed a lawsuit to seize her house, valued at around $400,000, contending it was part of the instrumentality of her crime.

"In the drug world, this thing is probably nothing. But in a town of 15,000 people where we have one or two children die every year because of controlled substances, it is a big deal to us," Olsen told the R-J. To the Sun, he added: "The best way to send a message to folks that drug distribution to young people won't be tolerated is to take away their house. This gets their attention. We're sending a message loud and clear that if you package and distribute drugs from your house, you lose your home. Hopefully, it will act as a deterrent."

And you know what? I agree with him, wholeheartedly. We must seize the property of those who put children in danger, and we must do it now.

So that's why we've got to immediately seize Dave Olsen's motorcycle.

You see, in 2004, Olsen pled no contest to drunken driving, a crime that surely has taken more lives than marijuana ever will. Anti-DUI advocates are fond of saying that, with a drunken driver at the controls, a vehicle is a weapon, surely one more dangerous than Cynthia Warren's house.

Call the Boulder City police, and get the Henderson SWAT team for backup. There could be a standoff.

The problem with Olsen is not just that he's a hypocrite -- although he surely is -- it's that he's also not telling the truth.

One or two children die in Boulder City every year because of controlled substances? That would mean, over the past decade, Boulder City has lost 10-20 kids to drugs. That's not even remotely true. Of the two kids Olsen cites who did die of drug overdoses, neither died from marijuana. In fact, in the most widely cited case of marijuana related deaths -- Jessica Williams -- a jury specifically found Williams was not under the influence of the drug when she fell asleep at the wheel, ran off the road and killed six teenagers doing community service work.

Olsen rails against Warren for drug distribution to kids -- but she was not convicted of selling marijuana, much less selling it to kids. In that, he's punishing her for a crime of which she's not been convicted, a violation of the U.S. Constitution and his own oath of office.

The system, such as it is, worked the way it was supposed to work: Police raided Warren's home, found drugs, and arrested her. Olsen asked for her to be charged with a variety of offenses, but a more -- ahem -- sober Clark County District Attorney's office elected to proceed only with a possession charge, which they disposed of with a plea bargain, a $500 fine and a 30-day suspended jail sentence.

Not content, however, Olsen proceeds to try to seize Warren's home in an entirely separate civil proceeding where she must prove her innocence, another constitutional violation. If Boulder City is successful, it will reap part of the windfall from the sale of Warren's home. Perhaps the city could hire Olsen a police driver, just to keep him out of trouble?

Outrage barely covers it: Regardless of what the law says, Olsen is engaging in an act of theft. Warren committed a crime, and was punished for committing a crime. Olsen's exacting a punishment for something Warren never did in the eyes of the law, making wild and untrue claims in the process. He should drop this case immediately, and if he doesn't, Boulder City fathers should find the courage to order him to stop.

In the meantime, will somebody look at seizing that motorcycle? I think we'd all feel safer if they did.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact