At FoxNews.com, Institute for Justice President Scott Bullock and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul have a joint op-ed on civil forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to confiscate property without filing criminal charges. To improve federal forfeiture laws, Sen. Paul has introduced the FAIR Act, which would strengthen due process protections for innocent property owners and “end the perverse incentives that encourage police to pursue cash over criminals.”
To give just one example of forfeiture abuse, their op-ed discusses the case of IJ client Russ Caswell, who owned a motel in Massachusetts:
Although Russ was never charged with a crime, the federal government and local police claimed his motel “facilitated” criminal activity.
The reason? Prosecutors identified 15 “drug-related incidents” that occurred out of 196,000 rented rooms.
It was later revealed that a federal drug agent was found combing through public records, searching for properties the government could seize.
Thankfully, after the Institute for Justice took on his case pro bono, Russ won in federal court and could finally sell his motel and retire.
Read the whole piece here.