The seizure of Rhonda Cox’s truck at the hands of Arizona cops was just the beginning of her education in civil asset forfeiture. Attorney J Cabou discusses her case.
Arlington, Va.—Two months ago, U.S. Attorney Steve West told Lyndon McLellan that any attempt to garner publicity about his civil forfeiture case “doesn’t help. It just ratchets up feelings in the agency. My offer is to return 50% of the money.”
Yesterday, just two weeks after the Institute for Justice took on the case and brought it to the attention of the nation, the IRS and Department of Justice moved to voluntarily dismiss the case and give Lyndon back 100% of his hard-earned money. “I’m relieved to be getting my money back,” said Lyndon McLellan.
“What’s wrong is wrong, and what the government did here is wrong. I just hope that by standing up for what’s right, it means this won’t happen to other people.” Even after he recovers his bank account, Lyndon is still out tens of thousands of dollars, thanks to the government’s actions. Lyndon paid a $3,000 retainer to a private attorney before IJ took the case on pro bono, and he also paid approximately $19,000 for an accountant to audit his business and to provide other services to help convince the government he did nothing wrong.
The government is refusing to pay those expenses. And the government also is refusing to pay interest on the money.
We’ve created a new de facto criminal class (although they cant be charged) from among representatives of the state: “Don’t even bother getting a lawyer. The money always stays here.” That’s what the Tenaha Police Department told 27-year-old Arkansan James Morrow after they confiscated $3,900 from his car for “driving too close to the white line.” The police reported the…
Looks like Washington, D.C. is prepared to end the practice of police seizing property without criminal charges or even an arrest (‘your property is guilty until proven innocent’). Another vote on restriction on seizure of ordinary people’s property to stuff police coffers will take place on December 2nd: The D.C. Council on Tuesday agreed to…