Chris and Markela Sourovelis live in a middle-class neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia. They 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 based on the sale of $40 worth of drugs by their son, even though Chris and Markela did nothing wrong. In addition to the seizure of their home, Philadelphia officials coerced the Sourovelis family into banning their son from their home—a practice Philadelphia has since stopped, thanks to Chris and Markela’s strong advocacy. With IJ’s help, they are fighting back against Philadelphia’s forfeiture machine to make sure no one else has to go through their ordeal.
Fighting the Philadelphia Forfeiture Machine: Philadelphia Deprives People of Their Rights While Trying to Forfeit and Profit from Their Property
Police and prosecutors use civil forfeiture to strip thousands of Americans of their rights and property. Nowhere is the problem more rampant than in Philadelphia.