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pexels-tim-samuel-5835325-300x200A recent case of roadside civil asset forfeiture put $346,000 in cash at stake. On November 17 of last year, federal officials pulled over a vehicle for an alleged moving violation. According to law enforcement records, the vehicle was a rental car cruising along in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

The driver was a woman who allegedly didn’t have a driver’s license. When asked, she allegedly showed the officers her Kuwaiti passport and an identification card that was not in English. The officer who performed the stop confronted two passengers in the vehicle and asked where they were headed. The police report indicates that the passengers seemed nervous and that their stories didn’t match.

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pexels-sora-shimazaki-5668772-300x192North Dakota recently scored an F for its civil asset forfeiture laws, according to the libertarian-leaning nonprofit Institute for Justice’s “Policing for Profit” survey. And it looks like lawmakers noticed.

Seizing assets using forfeiture is a legal prerogative of law enforcement agencies that was rationalized by the war on drugs. It allows authorities to take property if they believe it was used for a crime.

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pexels-karolina-grabowska-4386157-300x200Since the inception of the United States of America, the founding fathers strived to create laws that protect the freedom of the people. They authored the Bill of Rights to institutionalize the well-being of American citizens. The Declaration of Independence even provides the people with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Entrenched in the constitution are important amendments that declare the legitimacy of people’s rights. The Fourth Amendment states that the people hold rights over “their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” It also guarantees that issuing a warrant should have “a probable cause particularly describing things to be seized.”

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pexels-sora-shimazaki-5668481-300x200A retiree and his daughter filed a lawsuit against two government agencies in Pittsburg in January 2020 after his cash was allegedly confiscated at the airport using civil asset forfeiture.

The plaintiffs sued the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the suit, the retiree kept his money at home because he mistrusted the banking system. Due to a recent change of residence, however, he had no choice but to deposit his savings in a bank.

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pexels-krisztian-kormos-3526039-300x200President Biden’s new nominee for Associate Attorney General, Vanita Gupta, is under scrutiny by Senate Republicans. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have called for her to undergo a second hearing before letting her appointment advance due to various concerns, including some surrounding civil asset forfeiture.

The reason for the pause in deliberations of Ms. Gupta’s appointment is her alleged misleading answers to committee questions on her advocacies. According to the Republican senators, she was dishonest in her “support for eliminating qualified immunity, her support for decriminalizing all drugs, her support for defunding the police, and her death penalty record” as well as civil asset forfeiture.

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