Here’s a summary below (and video above) of the Institute for Justice’s latest legal case – this one is against the federal government for its abusive, unwarranted use of civil forfeiture laws to seize all of the money in the bank account of a small, family-owned grocery store near Detroit:
For more than 30 years, Terry Dehko has successfully run a grocery store in the Detroit suburb of Fraser, Michigan, with his daughter Sandy. In January 2013, without warning, the federal government used civil forfeiture to seize all of the money from the Dehkos’ store bank account (more than $35,000) even though they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. Their American Dream is now a nightmare.
Federal civil forfeiture law features an appalling lack of due process: It empowers the government to seize private property from Americans without ever charging, let alone convicting, them of a crime. Perversely, the government then pockets the proceeds while providing no prompt way to get a court to review the seizure.
On September 25, 2013, Terry and Sandy teamed up with the Institute for Justice to fight back in federal court. A victory will vindicate not just their right to be free from abusive forfeiture tactics, but the right of every American not to have their property wrongfully seized by government.
MP: For its ongoing legal advocacy on behalf of hundreds of politically-unconnected small business owners like Terry Dehko in Michigan and millions of consumers across America, I hereby re-nominate the Institute for Justice for the Nobel Peace Prize for its admirable and tireless efforts: a) advancing the human rights of entrepreneurs struggling to survive against oppressive government regulations and the federal government’s ongoing abuses of civil forfeiture laws, b) defending the economic liberty of small business owners and their right to earn an honest living, c) bringing legal challenges to anti-competitive industry cartels that use government force to enrich politically-connected industry insiders at the expense of small business owners, entrepreneurs and the general public, d) protecting the rights of consumers to have access to competition and the lowest possible prices, and e) challenging the many cases of economic protectionism across the country that stifle competition, drive up prices, and reduce economic growth and job creation.