After four years of litigation, city agrees to end “policing for profit,” ensure due process and establish $3 million compensation fund for victims of city’s forfeiture practices
PHILADELPHIA—The Institute for Justice (IJ) today announced a major settlement with the city of Philadelphia, ending the city’s draconian civil forfeiture machine. In documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania today, city officials agreed to a set of reforms that will end the perverse financial incentives under which law…
18 Amicus Briefs Support Institute for Justice’s Client, 1 Brief, which Examines the History of the Eighth Amendment, Remains Neutral Indiana Supreme Court Ruled Governments within the State May Impose Excessive Fines Until the U.S. Supreme Court Says They Can’t Arlington, Va.—In late November or early December, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Timbs v.…
Today, the Charlestown City Council started the process of rescinding the Indiana state Unsafe Building Law. The vote comes just two days after an Indiana Appeals Court ruled that the city had violated the state Unsafe Building Law when it levied outrageous fines against homeowners in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood. In response to today’s vote,…
Hearing to Decide Whether City Council Will Allow Tents on Private Property
Akron, Ohio—Tonight at 7:00 p.m., the Akron City Council will hold a hearing on the application of Sage Lewis and The Homeless Charity for a permit to continue sheltering the homeless on private commercial property at 15 Broad Street. This permit application raises not just questions about zoning policy, but the constitutional rights of property…
Appellate Court rules state protections that the city had blatantly ignored do, in fact, apply to Charlestown property owners
Charlestown, Ind.—Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the City of Charlestown must follow the state of Indiana’s Unsafe Building Law, a state statute that gives property owners procedural protections from overzealous city code enforcement. The decision on the neighborhood’s preliminary injunction now goes back to Judge Jason Mount to rule on how the Unsafe…
Indiana Supreme Court Ruled It May Impose Excessive Fines Until the U.S. Supreme Court Says It Can’t
Arlington, Va.—The case of Tyson Timbs v. State of Indiana, which will be argued this fall before the U.S. Supreme Court, tells an all-too-familiar tale of opioid addiction and recovery in America. But this story has an important constitutional twist that may help protect millions of Americans from the abuse of government-imposed fines and fees,…
Carolina Beach, N.C.—Last night, after an extended meeting behind closed doors, the Carolina Beach town council repealed a law that makes it illegal to operate a food truck in the town unless the owner also owns a brick-and-mortar restaurant in town. The unanimous vote came a week after the Institute for Justice (IJ) partnered with…
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.
Jeff has spent almost 30 years building a successful small business with his brothers, distributing candy, snacks and other goods to convenience stores throughout Long Island. But the government raided the business’s bank account using civil forfeiture—taking $446,000 and nearly destroying the family business. T
Heather is a single mother of a 14-year-old son. After bringing in baked goods to her son’s school for fundraisers and to his football team, Heather started getting many requests to sell them. But then Heather learned that selling her goods from home was illegal. Heather wants very much to be able to resume selling her delicious goods so she can use the money to support her son.
Pat Raynor, a lifelong hairstylist, became interested in working from home after her husband Harold passed away in 2009. But under Nashville’s ban on home-based businesses, Pat was forced to shut down her home hair salon.
Lata has been threading since she was a teenager in India and saw a need for threading services in the New Orleans metropolitan area. But in June 2016, state regulators fined her business for employing unlicensed threaders, and ordered Lata to fire her unlicensed employees.
Gerardo Serrano owns a Ford F-250 pickup that was seized by Customs and Border Protection for civil forfeiture in September 2015. CBP seized the truck because they found five bullets in the center console, claiming they were “munitions of war.” After almost two years without a judge hearing his case, Gerardo joined with the Institute for Justice in September 2017 to file a lawsuit to get his truck back. Gerardo also filed suit on behalf of all U.S. citizens who have had vehicles seized by CBP, seeking an order requiring the agency to provide a prompt hearing whenever they take vehicles for civil forfeiture.
Kriss Marion is the founder of her local farmers’ market in Blanchardville, Wisconsin. But under the state’s ban on selling home-baked goods, Kriss must instead give her extra baked goods away or feed them to her pigs and chickens.
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.
For more than 30 years, Hinga Mbogo has been fixing the cars of Dallas residents at his shop on Ross Avenue. But the city is trying to shut him down by using an oppressive and little-known zoning process called “amortization.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ushaben used to thread part-time at the Threading Studio & Spa near New Orleans, often filling in for licensed estheticians when they were unable to work. But after state regulators ordered the business to terminate its unlicensed threaders, Ushaben is no longer permitted to thread in the studio.
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.
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.
Samantha Harris hired Sally Ladd, a New Jersey-based entrepreneur, to manager her short-term vacation rental in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. But when Pennsylvania wanted Ladd to obtain a real-estate broker’s license, which requires her to spend three years working for an established broker, Sally felt forced to shut down her business.
After working in the food service industry for several years, Troy King purchased his first food truck in 2014—a gourmet chicken food truck called Pollo. But in September 2016, Troy was operating Pollo in downtown Louisville when a city inspector threatened to issue a citation and tow his truck simply because Troy was serving customers within 150 feet a restaurant that also serves chicken. Troy was forced to abandon his vending location and his customers.
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.
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.”
Michael Jensen would like Dr. Birchansky to perform his next needed eye surgery at the outpatient center next to Dr. Birchansky’s office because it is a safe, less costly, convenient, and familiar environment. Unfortunately Iowa’s CON law is denying him that choice.
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.
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.