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Civil Forfeiture Violates Property Rights and Freedom

03/30/2015

Personal Freedom and Prosperity 102: Acquiring and Possessing Property

That all Men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Right…; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety. —Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776) by George Mason

Civil Forfeiture Violates Property Rights and Freedom

For 38 years, Carole Hinders has owned Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Mrs. Lady’s only accepts cash payments. In August 2013, the Federal government seized Carole Hinders’ entire bank account of $33,000 because she had a cash-only business. In the best of scenarios, the Federal government merely surmised Hinders was hiding illegal activity. In the worse case, it was simply a shakedown to confiscate her money, and put more money away for the Federal government.

In 2014, the Institute for Justice (IJ) began defending Carole Hinders. With the help of the IJ, Carole Hinders subjected herself to a deposition by Federal prosecutors, which was sworn testimony that could be used against her in a court of law. In time, the Federal government asked the judge to dismiss their lawsuit, and Carole Hinders had her money returned...nearly two years later!

Property rights and the Rule of Law are absolutely essential for our, personal freedoms. George Mason appreciated the importance of acquiring and possessing property when he wrote the Virginia Declaration Rights in 1776.

That all Men (People) are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Right…; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.

Tragically, Carole Hinders is not an isolated case. Do you know about a Federal, highway, interdiction program has had 61,000 warrantless seizures amounting to $2.5 billion.

To protect people from governmental abuse, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) introduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act. The FAIR Act requires:

  • A court hearing within 14 days to establish probable cause or the property is returned to the owner.
  • The property seized was instrumental in the commission of a crime.
  • The government produces clear and compelling evidence before assets are forfeited.
  • Proceeds from forfeited goods goes to the General Fund instead of the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund.

The FAIR Act will effectively halt the very, predatory abuses by the Federal government, and will restore our property rights as well as the Rule of Law. Through the FAIR Act, our personal freedom will be significantly enhanced in America, so it's important to tell your Senator and Member of Congress to support the FAIR Act.