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Support Justice and Liberty for All Americans

Help the Institute for Justice fight civil forfeiture at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gerardo did nothing wrong. But under current civil forfeiture laws, that doesn’t matter. Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize and keep innocent Americans’ cash, cars, and homes without even charging them with a crime. Help IJ end it.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency seized and held Gerardo Serrano’s truck—parked here in front of the U.S. Supreme Court—for over two years never granting him a hearing to get it back.  The CBP took the truck because he mistakenly left five low-caliber bullets inside the console, which the CBP called “munitions of war.”  (Photo courtesy of the Institute for Justice www.ij.org.)

Gerardo’s case started in 2015, when he was traveling to Mexico to visit family in his brand-new F-250. As he was crossing the border, Customs and Border Protection officers searched his truck, where they found five low-caliber bullets he had forgotten in the bottom of his center console. Calling the bullets “munitions of war,” the agents seized his truck.

Five forgotten bullets are all it took for the government to argue that Gerardo was an international arms smuggler, rob him of his property and refuse to take the matter before a judge for years. The truck sat in a government impound lot until 2017, when the Institute for Justice got involved in Gerardo’s case. In all of that time, Gerardo never had an opportunity to plead his case before a judge.

Now, with the help of the Institute for Justice, Gerardo is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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The Institute for Justice protects the constitutional rights of all Americans. IJ defends ordinary people who want to earn an honest living, own and enjoy their property, speak freely, and give their children a good education but find that the government is standing in their way—and we win 75% of our cases.

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How Your Donation Helps

  • Your contribution enables us to represent our clients at no cost to them—and to stand with them no matter how long their cases take. And when we win for our clients, we secure precedent that protects the rights of all Americans.
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IJ has litigated 9 U.S. Supreme Court cases since 2002, including 7 victories.

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IJ has a 75% success rate through litigation and legislation.

IJ litigates nationwide, with 79 active cases in 32 states.

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"I was given an incredible gift—to have my story told. Getting the chance to fight back, win or lose, was truly life-changing."

—IJ client Charlie Birnbaum, whose home IJ saved from eminent domain abuse.

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