Articles Tagged with Class-action lawsuit

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philadelphia-224464_1920-300x200If anyone knows how unjust civil asset forfeiture can be, it’s Philadelphia resident Norys Hernandez. Law enforcement attempted to seize the house she owned with her sister even though she had done nothing wrong. The authorities attempted to take her home after her nephew was arrested for dealing drugs on the property.

It took years, but Norys eventually got her house back. She was part of a class-action lawsuit that was settled for $3 million last year.

Civil asset forfeiture is the legal process where police may take someone’s property if it is suspected of being involved in a crime. A criminal conviction is not required in most states. In fact, of the four plaintiffs named in the class-action lawsuit who had their houses seized, none were accused of having committed a crime. In three cases, the houses were seized because a relative had been caught selling drugs in the house.
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On July 2, 2015, police officers pulled Stephen Nichols over in Lincoln Park near Detroit, Michigan. When they discovered Stephen didn’t have valid insurance for his 1998 Toyota Avalon, they seized it and impounded it in a lot in nearby Brownstown Township.

In cases where property is seized, the law is clear: cases must be brought to court promptly. However, it is over three years since his car was taken, and Stephen still hasn’t had his day in court.
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