Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » Home chemist raided in MA, lab seized. Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues

Pages:  1    3  ..  5
Author: Subject: Home chemist raided in MA, lab seized.
EllisDTripp
Harmless

Posts: 7
Registered: 30-5-2006
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

Home chemist raided in MA, lab seized.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/08/home_science_under_...

 Quote: The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that Victor Deeb, a retired chemist who lives in Marlboro, has finally been allowed to return to his Fremont Street home, after Massachusetts authorities spent three days ransacking his basement lab and making off with its contents. Deeb is not accused of making methamphetamine or other illegal drugs. He's not accused of aiding terrorists, synthesizing explosives, nor even of making illegal fireworks. Deeb fell afoul of the Massachusetts authorities for ... doing experiments. Authorities concede that the chemicals found in Deeb's basement lab were no more hazardous than typical household cleaning products. Despite that, authorities confiscated “all potentially hazardous chemicals” (which is to say the chemicals in Deeb's lab) from his home, and called in a hazardous waste cleanup company to test the chemicals and clean up the lab. Pamela Wilderman, the code enforcement officer for Marlboro, stated, “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.” Allow me to translate Ms. Wilderman's words into plain English: "Mr. Deeb hasn't actually violated any law or regulation that I can find, but I don't like what he's doing because I'm ignorant and irrationally afraid of chemicals, so I'll abuse my power to steal his property and shut him down." In effect, the Massachusetts authorities have invaded Deeb's lab, apparently without a warrant, and stolen his property. Deeb, presumably under at least the implied threat of further action, has not objected to the warrantless search and the confiscation of his property. Or perhaps he's just biding his time. It appears that Deeb has grounds for a nice juicy lawsuit here. There's a lesson here for all of us who do science at home, whether we're home schoolers or DIY science enthusiasts. The government is not our friend. Massachusetts is the prototypical nanny state, of course, but the other 49 aren't far behind. Any of us could one day find the police at the door, demanding to search our home labs. If that day comes, I will demand a warrant and waste no time getting my attorney on the phone. There's a word for what just happened in Massachusetts. Tyranny. And it's something none of us should tolerate.

Original article here:

http://www.telegram.com/article/20080809/NEWS/808090323/1008...

[Edited on 12-8-2008 by chemoleo]
Sauron
International Hazard

Posts: 5351
Registered: 22-12-2006
Member Is Offline

Mood: metastable

Deeb should consult a good attorney. He may well have a good lawsuit.

Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc.
chemoleo
Biochemicus Energeticus

Posts: 3005
Registered: 23-7-2003
Location: England Germany
Member Is Offline

Mood: crystalline

 Quote: There are regulations about how much you’re supposed to have, how it’s detained, how it’s disposed of.” Mr. Deeb’s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties.

Sadly that's why he won't have a case.

Never Stop to Begin, and Never Begin to Stop...
Tolerance is good. But not with the intolerant! (Wilhelm Busch)
The_Davster
A pnictogen

Posts: 2861
Registered: 18-11-2003
Member Is Offline

Mood: .

 Quote: “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.”

Baaaa...Baaaa

"I don't know what you are doing, but I am too much of a moron to really find out, but it annoys me enough to dig through regulation after regulation till we find something we can charge you with and at the very least never see your hobby materials again"

Sauron
International Hazard

Posts: 5351
Registered: 22-12-2006
Member Is Offline

Mood: metastable

The laws have to be specifically about discrete chemicals. There are laws about pesticides for example. There are laws about explosives. There are laws about chemicals in the government list of toxic substances.

There aren't any laws that just say "chemicals"

The "code enforcement" dweebs may well have overstepped their bounds. Despite what they may think they DO have bounds. Deeb is entitled to due process. If he was deprived of his property without due process, then he does have a case. There's no such thing as "potentially hazardous" substances. There are hazardous substances as defined by law, and there's everything else.

On the other hand, Massachusets used to burn witches and obtain their confessions by torture.

Practices they imported from England.

Six months ago a lot of people would have probably opined that Steve Hatfill "had no case" but here we are, the DOJ ro;;ed over and settled out of court and Hatfill is $5.8 Million to the better. Lee attorney's fees, of course. So I am not prepared to say Deeb has no case. No more than I am prepared to say he does. I am just saying he MIGHT, and he damned well ought to find out, because the state is going to damn well send him a five figured bill for hgazmat remediation and consulting. and the hazmat firm is probably operated by the brother in law of that bitch of a code enforcer. [Edited on 13-8-2008 by Sauron] Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc. Rosco Bodine Banned Posts: 6370 Registered: 29-9-2004 Member Is Offline Mood: analytical Filing suit against the government is pretty much a joke. It's like the chickens trying to sue the fox for raiding the henhouse, which of course the fox is "entrusted" and assigned the responsibility of guarding, a "duty" of course where the fox is always presumed (as a matter of law) to be acting in good faith, and therefore is held harmless and immune against any and all claims to the contrary by any inadvertantly mauled or accidentally eaten chickens Seeing how that works is precisely why there is some merit to the welcoming of regulators and revenuers of various stripe, to shoot first and ask questions later. Sauron International Hazard Posts: 5351 Registered: 22-12-2006 Location: Barad-Dur, Mordor Member Is Offline Mood: metastable Tell it to Steve Hatfill, Rosco. Or do you really think the state of Massachusets is a tougher nit to crack than the US Department of Justice? Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc. Rosco Bodine Banned Posts: 6370 Registered: 29-9-2004 Member Is Offline Mood: analytical The federal government is different. Try suing a state. Try getting anywhere with a state. And actually it is surprising that Hatfill got what he did. It was probably because he had enough dirt on some people to bury them and they wanted him to go away quietly for their own self interest.....otherwise he would have ben found dead as an apparent suicide, just like the other scapegoat. Sauron International Hazard Posts: 5351 Registered: 22-12-2006 Location: Barad-Dur, Mordor Member Is Offline Mood: metastable Oh, here we go with the conspiracy theories. We can always count on Rosco to provide sweet reason and sanity. Last month, Rosco, I recall you were advocating lethal force against bureaucrats. Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc. JohnWW International Hazard Posts: 2849 Registered: 27-7-2004 Location: New Zealand Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood Whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment? Victor Deeb could sue the Massachusetts$tate Pigs for millions of dollar$under that, and for an injunction for the return of his property. Or perhaps the Massachusetts$tate Dept. of (In)justice does not recognize the Bill Of Rights? And whoever "ratted" on Victor Deeb to the Pigs, - whose identity is very likely to be suspected by Deeb - could also be sued for defamation for his trouble. BTW, I thought that Massachusetts was supposed to be one of the most liberal $tates, but it looks as if their Bu$h-worshiping Pigs have other ideas.
P.S. Those sheep look as if they might be on the Canterbury Plains, with the Southern Alps behind them, in New Zealand's South Island.

[Edited on 13-8-08 by JohnWW]
chloric1
International Hazard

Posts: 1039
Registered: 8-10-2003
Location: closer to the anode
Member Is Offline

Mood: Strongly alkaline

 Quote: Originally posted by Sauron Last month, Rosco, I recall you were advocating lethal force against bureaucrats.

Thats right Sauron we in Amerika live in Republic with a repre$entative government. They repre$ent $pecial intere$t$$. There is no need for any conpiracy theories. [Edited on 8/12/2008 by chloric1] In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located. joeflsts Hazard to Others Posts: 226 Registered: 14-1-2006 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood Quote: Originally posted by chloric1  Quote: Originally posted by Sauron Last month, Rosco, I recall you were advocating lethal force against bureaucrats. Thats right Sauron we in Amerika live in Republic with a repreentative government. They repreent pecial interet$$. There is no need for any con\$piracy theories.

[Edited on 8/12/2008 by chloric1]

This has very little to do with special interests. It has very much to do with living in a nanny state, created by people that need their asses wiped.

Joe
BromicAcid
International Hazard

Posts: 3112
Registered: 13-7-2003
Location: Wisconsin
Member Is Offline

Mood: Legitimate

I have written a letter to Ms. Wilderman, won't do any good but it makes me feel better. The address is readily avalible online through the site for Marlborough, MA.

Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
chloric1
International Hazard

Posts: 1039
Registered: 8-10-2003
Location: closer to the anode
Member Is Offline

Mood: Strongly alkaline

Yes Joe I know I was just messing with Sauron. I hate living in paranoia and I hope the wiper AND wipees are WIPED off the face of the earth!

In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
chemoleo
Biochemicus Energeticus

Posts: 3005
Registered: 23-7-2003
Location: England Germany
Member Is Offline

Mood: crystalline

Bromic would you mind pasting here what you sent to her?

Very commendable!!

Never Stop to Begin, and Never Begin to Stop...
Tolerance is good. But not with the intolerant! (Wilhelm Busch)
Rosco Bodine
Banned

Posts: 6370
Registered: 29-9-2004
Member Is Offline

Mood: analytical

 Quote: Originally posted by Sauron Oh, here we go with the conspiracy theories. We can always count on Rosco to provide sweet reason and sanity.

Maybe I'm the fourth and unseen, usually silent member
of that little known subversive group known collectively as
"the *not* alone gunmen" or the "sons of guns"
 Quote: Last month, Rosco, I recall you were advocating lethal force against bureaucrats.

I believe most all bureaucrats suffer from a chronic dermatological condition, caused by a deficiency of tar and feathers, for which a liberal application of tar and feathers is the long proven and time tested cure. Sterner measures are medically indicated for those cases so severe as to not be responsive to such gentle treatments.
Ramiel
Vicious like a ferret

Posts: 484
Registered: 19-8-2002
Location: Room at the Back, Australia
Member Is Offline

Mood: Semi-demented

This case would seem to be a good one to make an issue out of: here we have an upstanding (we hope) gentleman homeowner who has been patenting his scientific discoveries. This means that it was above board, and that home experimentation isn't irrelevant, or just a hobby.

I find it very surprising that they didn't manage to find a single hazardous substance, poison or mercury containing material! lucky guy I guess.

Caveat Orator
BromicAcid
International Hazard

Posts: 3112
Registered: 13-7-2003
Location: Wisconsin
Member Is Offline

Mood: Legitimate

Chemoleo, I couldn't tell you the exact contents of my letter because I already have it in the post box. I wrote it by hand in my best writing and it's only one page. I took a strong tone. I started out by saying that my letter was regarding the upsetting course of action taken against Victor Deeb. I went on to say that the chemistry industry and chemists in general are suffering from chemophobia.

I asked that she drop any prejudice she had against chemistry and approach the situation fairly (I realized that I didn't know the full extent of her involvement in everything so I kept things general). Finally I tried to put things in Mr. Deeb's prespective, that he had likely tried to conform to all the regulations and laws that he was aware of (since he didn't have any illegal chemicals and they were hard pressed to find something to charge him with) and that he was doing something that he loved and something that was at one time common place and normal and now his passion for the subject and other parts of his life might be ruined due to some person's ignorance.

I signed it with a large signature and put my address on the front of the envelope in case she feels the need for further correspondence.

Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
chloric1
International Hazard

Posts: 1039
Registered: 8-10-2003
Location: closer to the anode
Member Is Offline

Mood: Strongly alkaline

So this chemist was working in his basement. I have to wonder who tipped off the fuzz anyways? What was the trigger? I doubt this guy was harming anyone or damaging property. Why the hell do people feel the need to narc out otherwise innocent citizens.

I sincerely hope this gentleman does not quit his endeavors after the dust settles. There are many points here that we all need to know about and learn from.

[Edited on 8/12/2008 by chloric1]

In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
BromicAcid
International Hazard

Posts: 3112
Registered: 13-7-2003
Location: Wisconsin
Member Is Offline

Mood: Legitimate

The news article says there was a fire on the floor above where the chemicals were stored due to an air conditioner and that the fire fighters were probably the ones that tipped off the authorities.

Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
chloric1
International Hazard

Posts: 1039
Registered: 8-10-2003
Location: closer to the anode
Member Is Offline

Mood: Strongly alkaline

Aha! Firefighters and utility meter readers. Got to always consider them. Trust nobody. I think a prudent measure for home chemist is to somehow store chems offsite. It would be a pain in the ass for me as well as many of you but I am actually more worried about the wrong eyes seeing the chems than the chems burning my house down.

In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
Sauron
International Hazard

Posts: 5351
Registered: 22-12-2006
Member Is Offline

Mood: metastable

Sounds the the "code" in question was the fire code. The authorities in question very likely the Fire Marshal's office or whatever it is called in the Commonweal of Mass. If so the issue probably turns on whether or not he had "excessive" amounts of flammable solvents etc.

People who would not hesitate to store 5-10 gallons of petrol in their garage or basement freak out over a liter of hexane.

Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc.
not_important
International Hazard

Posts: 3873
Registered: 21-7-2006
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

Garage - contents of vehicle fuel tanks, propane in barbecue grill tank, butane tanks for camping stoves and the like. With a couple of SUVs that's well over 50 gallons.
S.C. Wack
bibliomaster

Posts: 2419
Registered: 7-5-2004
Location: Cornworld, Central USA
Member Is Offline

Mood: Enhanced

 Quote: Originally posted by Sauron Sounds the the "code" in question was the fire code... People who would not hesitate to store 5-10 gallons of petrol in their garage or basement freak out over a liter of hexane.

I think not, since they talk about zoning. Here it would very much be a zoning violation to store chemicals in your house...if you were going to sell them. If they get him to say that the intent of his research was give a product that would be sold, they can probably excuse themselves in court with that. The NYC case involving confiscation and destruction of pool chemicals mentioned here recently was definitely in this category since the guy apparently admitted that his chemicals were for a fairly large scale retail business.

The obvious comparison (which hasn't been mentioned anywhere that I've seen) is home bars. No one is talking about the dangers of a basement bar well stocked with many glass bottles of 76 proof alcohol...which is pretty flammable. I've never heard of one going up. No one who talks about chemical danger also mentions that the guy is apparently a real chemist...who is more qualified to do chemistry if not him?

If you look at this news page, the guy is a short fat old guy with a cane. If that had been my house in MA and it was me that they found, but everything else was still the same, I'd probably still be in jail right now for intent to manufacture something or other.

[Edited on 13-8-2008 by S.C. Wack]
Sauron
International Hazard

Posts: 5351
Registered: 22-12-2006
Member Is Offline

Mood: metastable

Ha. I feel sorrier for him already. Because I'm a short fat old guy with a cane.

Zoning is a city or at most county matter not state.

Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc.
Pages:  1    3  ..  5

 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » Home chemist raided in MA, lab seized. Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues