Press Releases

  • November 19, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability Private Property

    ARLINGTON, Va.—On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that a lawsuit filed by a Texas woman whose home was destroyed by a SWAT team may move forward. This is a first step toward holding the city of McKinney accountable for destroying Vicki Baker’s home. “The court recognized that the city of McKinney is not exempt from…

  • November 17, 2021    |   Private Property

    New York Residents Fight to Defend Their Homes

    County Development Authority Threatens to Take Homes So It Can Hand Them Over for a Private Development Project

    Syracuse, N.Y.—Today, residents and supporters of the Burnet Road neighborhood in Clay, New York, announced the formation of a new group, the Save Burnet Road Coalition. The group of homeowners and local business owners is organizing to stop the Onondaga County Industrial Development Authority (OCIDA) from destroying a multi-generational rural neighborhood in order to expand…

  • November 16, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Entrepreneur Barred from Competing with Colorado’s Transportation Monopoly Vows to Appeal Case’s Dismissal

    Lawsuit argues that government allowing existing transportation companies to veto new competitors violates the Colorado Constitution.

    DENVER—Today, Abdallah Batayneh, an entrepreneur in Steamboat Springs, announced that he will appeal the dismissal of his lawsuit challenging Colorado’s transportation monopoly law. The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2021, argues that the law protects existing transportation companies from competition by giving them the power to veto new competition. That hurts customers, the public…

  • November 16, 2021    |   Private Property

    Small Business Owner Sues to Stop Ohio’s “Whenever, Wherever” Inspections

    Asking officers to follow the Fourth Amendment and get a warrant should never be a crime

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Jeremy Bennett literally built his business from the ground up, teaching himself taxidermy and deer processing and then constructing his shop just yards from his home in Logan, Ohio. The shop is a private space, and Jeremy allows customers in by appointment only. He even has signs to that effect posted in and around…

  • November 12, 2021    |   Private Property

    IJ Files Amicus Brief Challenging 24/7 Warrantless Video Surveillance

    Americans shouldn’t lose privacy rights because technology has advanced

    ARLINGTON, Va. – If the government points cameras at your home and films you 24/7 for 18 straight months without a warrant, is that a “search” under the Fourth Amendment? The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case called United States v. Tuggle, recently said “no.” But in a new amicus brief supporting…

  • November 10, 2021

    New Class Action Lawsuit Aims to End For-Profit Prosecutions in Indiana

    In many counties, private lawyers prosecute civil forfeiture cases—and take a cut of the money

    INDIANAPOLIS—A new federal class action lawsuit from the Institute for Justice (IJ) aims to end a corrosive feature of Indiana’s civil-forfeiture system: the practice of giving private lawyers a personal financial stake in forfeiture prosecutions. Unlike every other state in the nation, Indiana outsources forfeiture prosecutions to private lawyers on a “contingency fee” basis. Forfeit…

  • November 3, 2021    |   Immunity and Accountability

    5th Circuit Reverses Qualified Immunity for Police Who Arrested Citizen-Journalist

    Priscilla Villarreal can now seek justice for her unconstitutional arrest and prosecution

    ARLINGTON, Va. – Earlier this week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s grant of qualified immunity to police officers who used an unconstitutional law to arrest and prosecute a citizen-journalist. The reversal means the citizen-journalist, Priscilla Villarreal, can now seek justice for her unconstitutional arrest by Laredo, Texas, police. As…

  • November 2, 2021    |   Private Property

    Roseau River Watershed District Audaciously Shuts Down Public Feedback on Controversial Roseau Lake Project

    Critical board meeting may be impossible for public to speak at, much harder for public to see

    ROSEAU, Minn.—Four days before a crucial Roseau River Watershed District (RRWD) meeting that will include discussion of the controversial Roseau Lake Rehabilitation project, the RRWD Board made an unusual announcement: board meetings will no longer be viewable online, and individuals wishing to address the board must give 10 days’ notice. Other attendees will only be…

  • October 29, 2021    |   Private Property

    New Orleans Man Will Get His Life Savings Back; Federal Government Agrees to Dismiss Case, Clearing His Name

    DEA seized cash from Lower Ninth Ward resident at Columbus, Ohio, airport without any evidence of a crime

    NEW ORLEANS—Kermit Warren, a New Orleans grandfather and head deacon of his Lower Ninth Ward church, will get his life savings back after the federal government agreed to dismiss its civil forfeiture case with prejudice, effectively clearing Kermit’s name. In November 2020, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents seized Kermit’s money at the Columbus, Ohio, airport.…

  • October 27, 2021    |   Private Property

    Georgia Nonprofit Challenges Calhoun’s Ban on Building Small Homes

    People live in smaller homes for a variety of reasons, but cities throughout Georgia make these choices illegal

    CALHOUN, Ga.—Your home is your castle. But in cities and towns throughout Georgia, the kind of home you are allowed to buy is limited not just by the price tag but by something unexpected: the government. Tiny House Hand Up (THHU), a Calhoun nonprofit that wants to use donated land to fill a niche for…

  • October 25, 2021

    Annual South Side Pitch Competition Crowns Mental Wellness Business Winner for 2021

    Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness bested more than 100 competitors to win top prize

    CHICAGO—Late last week, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship (IJ Clinic) live-streamed its Eighth Annual South Side Pitch and declared the winners with the help of an online audience from around Chicagoland and beyond. Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness took first place among the six finalists from the more than 100 businesses who applied.…

  • October 20, 2021    |   Private Property

    First-of-Its-Kind Study Takes Detailed Look at Victims of Policing for Profit

    People who faced civil forfeiture call the process frustrating, corrupt, unfair

    PHILADELPHIA—The federal government and most states use civil forfeiture to take cash, cars and more without charging owners with a crime. The proceeds often flow into accounts controlled by law enforcement, sometimes including the same police and prosecutors who seized and forfeited the property. Yet few Americans realize this legal process exists until they find…

  • October 15, 2021    |   Private Property

    Orange City Landlords and Tenants Score Major Win in Challenge to Unconstitutional Home Inspections

    Orange City threatens Iowans with non-consensual, pointless searches of unwilling tenants

    ORANGE CITY, Iowa—Yesterday afternoon, the Iowa District Court for Sioux County issued an opinion denying an attempt by Orange City, Iowa, to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its rental inspection ordinance. This ordinance allows the government to enter the most intimate confines of tenants’ homes—including bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and closets—in search of housing code violations, even…

  • October 8, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    Kentucky Parents Vow to Appeal Ruling Against School Choice Program 

    A legal attack seeks to end Kentucky’s bold school choice program 

    Frankfort, Ky.—Today, the Franklin County Circuit Court ruled that Kentucky’s bold Education Opportunity Account Program, enacted in 2021 to give thousands of low- and middle-income families in Kentucky greater educational choice, is unconstitutional under Sections 59 and 184 of the Kentucky Constitution. Akia McNeary and Nancy Deaton, two parents who planned to use the program,…

  • October 7, 2021    |   Educational Choice

    Nevada Supreme Court Rules Against Families Challenging Reduction in Tax Credits for Scholarships

    Nevada Supreme Court holds the Legislature did not violate the state constitution when it reduced tax credits that supported scholarship program

    LAS VEGAS—Today, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled against families in their constitutional challenge to a law that reduced the amount of tax credits available for donors to the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program. Three mothers of scholarship students, a scholarship granting foundation and two donors to scholarship programs were represented by the Institute for Justice…

  • October 6, 2021    |   Other

    Yesterday, the Institute for Justice (IJ) took home the “Best in Show” award in the Non-Profit category at the w3 Awards, one of the premier honors for “digital excellence.” IJ’s award-winning video, titled “IJ Helps Ordinary People Fight Back,” was one of more than 1,000 entries, and was one of only 34 to receive best…

  • October 5, 2021    |   Private Property

    Arizona Forfeiture Victims Score Win At Federal Appeals Court

    Decision means Terry and Ria Platt will have the chance to have their constitutional rights vindicated

    PHOENIX–Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Terry and Ria Platt can continue to litigate the unconstitutional forfeiture of their car. The federal appellate court ruling reinstates the Platts’ long-running constitutional challenge against forfeiture abuse in Arizona, in which they are represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ). The Platts, an elderly couple from eastern Washington,…

  • October 4, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Victory for New Jersey Home Bakers

    New Jersey becomes the final state to allow the sale of home-baked goods

    Trenton, N.J.—Today, New Jersey legalized the sale of home-baked goods like cookies, cakes and muffins with new rules published by the Office of Administrative Law. This move by New Jersey’s Department of Health means that home bakers in every state and D.C. can now sell homemade foods to their neighbors. The victory for New Jersey…

  • September 29, 2021    |   Economic Liberty

    Aspiring Addiction Counselor Sues to End Virginia’s Past-Conviction Discrimination

    A former drug user wants to work to help others recover, but Virginia’s “permanent punishment” law makes that impossible. Now he’s suing for his right to work.

    By all accounts, Rudy Carey had a hard childhood. When he was 18, his father—who raised him alone—was in a car accident. Rudy was forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to take him off life support. Like so many others faced with trauma, Carey turned to drugs and alcohol, which, in turn, led to a…

  • September 24, 2021    |   Private Property

    Landlords and Tenants Challenging Illinois City’s Unconstitutional Home Inspections Score Major Win

    Zion's ordinance threatens ruinous fines unless landlords force warrantless searches on unwilling tenants

    Zion, Ill.—Yesterday evening, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued an opinion denying a motion from Zion, Illinois, to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its rental inspection ordinance. The inspection program allows the city to enter residents’ homes without cause or their consent—subjecting landlords to $750 daily fines for every day…

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