“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…
After months of uncertainty, Lyndon McLellan was finally vindicated in his battle against the IRS. Lyndon had his entire bank account seized in July 2014 after the IRS accused him of “structuring” because he deposited money in the bank in amounts under $10,000. Despite policy changes by both the IRS and the Justice Department, the…
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.
Mildred Bryant is 84 years old and living out her golden years in the home she’s owned for 46 years in Pagedale, Missouri. But she faces a real threat of tickets, fines, and imprisonment from the town.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
IJ By the Numbers
4 Litigation Pillars
92% from individuals
8% from foundations
5 U.S. Supreme Court cases since 2002, including 4 victories
IJ is currently litigating43 cases in 26 states and Washington, D.C.