If you need another expert opinion on the dangers and concerns around civil asset forfeiture, look no further than the man who helped start it. Brad Cates, the former director of the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Office who helped create the civil forfeiture system as we know it, has become a staunch critic of the…
“In Indiana, policing for profit isn’t just wrong; it’s unconstitutional, and that’s because the Indiana constitution could not be clearer that all forfeitures go to schools not law enforcement.” That’s what Institute for Justice Attorney Sam Gedge told FOX 59 in Indianapolis regarding IJ’s latest lawsuit, filed yesterday. The lawsuit seeks to put an end…
Late last week, a Fulton County Superior Court judge dismissed all constitutional aspects of the legal challenge to Georgia’s popular tax credit scholarship program. The program allows individuals and corporations to claim a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their voluntary contributions to private charities, which in turn use the donated funds to provide scholarships for low-income…
Phil Applebaum | Liberty in Action | February 10, 2016
Last month, the Institute for Justice and local property-owners-turned-activists struck a decisive victory for property rights in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. This fight provides a perfect example of how threatened property owners can employ grassroots activism to quickly defeat redevelopment projects. Here’s the blow-by-blow: In the center of Mt. Airy lies an abandoned factory known…
Indiana Forfeiture Victims Sue to End Civil Forfeiture's Perverse Profit Incentive
Arlington, Va.—The Indiana Constitution clearly states that “all forfeitures” must go to support the state’s schools, but that has not stopped police and prosecutors in Indianapolis from keeping 100 percent of civil forfeiture proceeds for themselves. This multi million-dollar constitutional violation has been going on for years, fueling aggressive forfeiture practices in Indiana’s capital city.…
A new bill would fully legalize pot(lucks) in Arizona. Under Arizona law, potlucks and other “noncommercial social events,” are exempt from food safety regulations and health department inspections, but only if they occur “at a workplace.” So that exception does not extend to hosting potlucks at a home or church, rendering them against the law.…
The Missouri Senate has taken a significant step towards curbing excessive municipal fines in the state. A new law, passed by the Senate last month, puts stricter caps on how much revenue municipalities can collect through fining residents and traffic violators. The senate bill to set these new caps, sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, passed with…
The Archdiocese of Newark is one of the largest in terms of population in the U.S., with nearly 1.3 million Catholics and 219 parishes. The Archdiocese is fighting a New Jersey law that makes it a crime to sell monuments, such as headstones, to their parishioners.
IJ client Elmer Kilian has been preparing taxes for the past 30 years on his dining room table. He fought and successfully defended his right to earn an honest living without getting permission from the IRS.
When John tried to expand his cab business to Bowling Green, he was stymied by a city law that limited the number of taxis allowed in the city to only 16. Less than two months after he filed a lawsuit, Bowling Green repealed the cap.
Jason and Jacki have owned their property in Golden Valley, a suburb of Minneapolis, for decades. But the city hasn’t respected their tenants’ wishes and instead has tried to obtain unconstitutional “administrative” warrants to force its way inside.
Rett owns Revolver Brewing, south of Fort Worth. He is fighting a Texas law that forces brewers to give up their distribution rights to distributors for free. Even worse, distributors can then sell those rights to other distributors and pocket the money.
Valarie has received a set of warnings from Pagedale, threatening her with fines and fees for alleged violations. She was even arrested in front of her home and taken to Pagedale city hall because of an unspecified ticket.
Lisa Kivirist is a mother, farmer, business owner and avid baker. Lisa typically serves muffins and other baked goods at her B&B for breakfast, but the baked-good ban prohibits her from selling these same exact goods to guests.
Khalid (“Ken”) Quran moved to America in 1997, and now runs a convenience store in Greenville, N.C. But the government seized his entire bank account—more than $150,000—even though he was never charged with a crime.
Lyndon McLellan has spent more than a decade running L&M Convenience Mart in rural North Carolina. Then, without any warning, agents from the IRS seized his entire bank account, totaling more than $107,000.
Terry Dehko and his family have owned and operated the Schott’s Market in Fraser, Mich., for 35 years. The Dehkos had $35,000 taken from them by federal law enforcement officials through a process known as civil forfeiture.
IJ client Jane Astramecki, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, runs a home baking business. But Minnesota’s restrictive cottage food law bans her from earning more than $5,000 a year and from selling her treats at venues other than farmers’ markets and community events.
Florence and Derrick would like their children to attend a Catholic high school in Aurora, Colo. But paying tuition for both children to attend Regis would be a substantial financial burden, so scholarships by Douglas County’s school choice program would help defray costs.
After obtaining her private certifications in canine massage therapy, Grace started volunteering with rescue agencies and adoption events to provide canine massage for ailing and neglected dogs. She later turned her volunteer hobby into a business, which she named Pawsitive Touch.
Wendy trained as a makeup artist in Hollywood and has over 20 years of experience working with celebrities. But in Nevada, teaching others how to apply makeup without a government-issued license can subject you to up to $2,000 in fines.
For decades, Isis Brantley has fought for her right to braid hair and to pass on her knowledge to others. She successfully sued the state of Texas after it attempted to force her to turn her braiding school into a barber college.
Chip owns Live Oak Brewing, based in Austin, Texas. Established in 1997, Live Oak has been brewing craft beer long before its current surge in popularity. Now he is fighting a Texas law that forces craft brewers to give up millions of dollars of valuable property to politically connected beer distributors.
Michael Peticolas owns Peticolas Brewing, located in an industrial neighborhood near downtown Dallas. In 2013, Texas passed a law that prohibits brewers from negotiating with distributors for the value of their territorial rights. Instead, the law forces brewers to give those rights away for free. That jeopardizes his plans to expand into other parts of Texas.
Norys Hernandez co-owns a home in North Philadelphia with her sister, who resides there. Norys has never been in trouble with the law. But her home was seized after her nephew was caught selling a small amount of drugs outside the home.
IJ client Celeste Kelly spent hundreds of hours learning about horses in order to obtain private certifications in animal massage. But now the state of Arizona is forcing her to become a licensed veterinarian to continue practicing her craft.