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…
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.
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.
Charles Clarke is a college student, who spent over 5 years to save up $11,000—only to have it seized by law enforcement officials before he was scheduled to board a flight at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport.
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.
Jim and Cliff Courtney have a plan to bring economic prosperity to their small community. Unfortunately, the state of Washington has sunk their plan with a law that requires them to obtain a certificate of “public convenience and necessity” from the state in order to pick up and drop off passengers.
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.
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.
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.
Liz has seven children, three of whom have a severe tissue disorder called EDS which requires constant medical attention. Liz needs Nevada’s ESA so she can design a quality education for her youngest EDS child, Dallin, who will likely miss a lot of school in the future.
Chris and Markela Sourovelis worked their whole lives to build a home for their family. Officials in Philadelphia then tried to use civil forfeiture to take it all away, even though Chris and Markela did nothing wrong.
Russ Caswell and his family have owned and operated the Motel Caswell in Tewksbury, Mass., for two generations. The Caswells nearly had their property taken from them by local and federal law enforcement officials through a process known as civil forfeiture.
Mary Lou Wesselhoeft and her husband Paul Wesselhoeft own Ocheesee Creamery, a small creamery in the Florida Panhandle. Because of the all-natural dairy philosophy that Mary Lou follows, she added nothing to the creamery’s skim milk. But a state agency wants her to use a confusing and misleading label that labels the milk something it is not: “Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed.”
The Washington Department of Licensing ordered IJ client Salamata Sylla to obtain a time-consuming and irrelevant cosmetology license for hair braiding. IJ sued on her behalf and forced the Department to adopt a rule exempting braiders.
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.
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.
Achan works in fear that Iowa will punish her for providing her services without a license. If she could braid without a license, she would reopen her salon, grow her business and better provide for her family.
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.
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.
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.
IJ client Cynthia Perry wants to send her daughter, Faith, to a private school in North Carolina, but she cannot afford the tuition on her own. She needs the financial lifeline of an Opportunity Scholarship.
Aimee and Heath Hairr have five adopted children. Their oldest, Nolan, was floundering in his public school and endured intense bullying. The Hairrs just want Nolan to have a safe learning environment and for their other children to have the same.
Dr. Mark Monteferrante wants to build a new, top-notch medical facility in Virginia. But under the commonwealth’s certificate of need (CON) program, he first has to persuade government officials that his facility would be “needed.”