|[Photo from chroniclelive.co.uk]|
What in the world are the feds up to in Stockton, California? Various news reports indicate that, early yesterday morning, at about 6 a.m., federal agents, accompanied by a SWAT team, allegedly kicked in a front door and raided the Stockton, California home occupied by a father and his three kids. The father, Kenneth Wright, reportedly told the news media that he was man-handled and handcuffed while in his underwear and that he and his kids were then held in the back of a police car for several hours while agents searched his home. No doubt, the poor children were probably scared to death.
According to reports, the federal agents were reportedly looking for the man's estranged wife, (who was reportedly not at the home), and for evidence related to her alleged student loan default. According to news reports, the agents conducting the raid, (which is NOT depicted in the above illustrative photo), were from the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General. (Did you know that virtually every federal government agency has its own law enforcement wing, or component?)
Again, I ask, what in the world is going on here? Doesn't this raid, along with the harsh manner in which it was apparently conducted, seem just a bit extreme? This matter appears to be, at the least, a civil matter, and, at the most, a non-violent white collar crime.
Look, as you know, I am currently an Augusta, Georgia criminal defense lawyer. But for over 20 years, I was a federal prosecutor. In my opinion, as a former federal prosecutor who approved, or assisted agents with, numerous search warrants over the years, at this point, I submit this raid appears ill-conceived and half-baked. In fairness, one can only hope that there are more (undisclosed) facts which would somehow justify this otherwise excessive police action. What do you think?
But the U.S. Department of Education isn't "educating" the public yet about what happened, or why it happened. Again, perhaps we will learn more facts, or some justification, later. It will prove interesting to see what happens next. In the meantime, please don't get behind on your student loan payments!
What do you think?