h1

When injustice becomes law (1)

September 26, 2013

The IRS seized Mr. Dehko’s cash because he was suspected of the crime of "structuring." He wasn’t charged or convicted, mind you — only suspected. So the Feds didn’t sue Mr. Dehko; instead they sued his $35,651.11. I’m sure that makes sense to some lawyer somewhere. To me it just sounds like a license to steal.

Thank Heaven for the Institute for Justice. If you want to lend a hand, here’s how.

United States v. $35,651.11
Feds Seize Family Grocery Store’s Entire Bank Account

Can the government use civil forfeiture to take your money when you have done nothing wrong—and then pocket the proceeds? The IRS thinks so.

For over 30 years, Terry Dehko has successfully run a grocery store in Fraser, Mich., 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.


Update from the Institute:

IRS Backs Down:
Michigan Forfeiture Cases Voluntarily Dismissed
Government Will Return Seized Money to Small-Business Owners; Federal Lawsuit Continues Over Right to Prompt Hearing

WEB RELEASE: November 15, 2013

Arlington, Va.—Just hours after the Institute for Justice announced it was joining another civil forfeiture lawsuit in Michigan against the federal government, the IRS filed motions to voluntarily dismiss two forfeiture actions against innocent Detroit-area small-business owners. Terry Dehko of Fraser, Mich., and Mark Zaniewski of Sterling Heights, Mich., will each get back all of the money seized without warning from their business’s bank accounts (over $100,000 in total) by the federal government.

While today’s victories vindicate the property rights of Dehko and Zaniewski, they do not solve the nationwide forfeiture problem. […] A separate federal lawsuit filed in September by the Institute for Justice on behalf of Terry Dehko and his daughter, Sandra Thomas, seeks to reform civil forfeiture law to protect the constitutional rights of property owners. That lawsuit will continue.

“The IRS should not be raiding the bank accounts of innocent Americans, and it should not take a team of lawyers to put a stop to this behavior,” said IJ Senior Attorney Clark Neily. “We are thrilled that Terry, Sandy, and Mark will finally get their money back, but their fight does not end today. Our constitutional lawsuit against the federal government seeks to rein in the shameful practice of civil forfeiture.”

Advertisements

One comment

  1. […] sounds like another case of injustice becoming law. I believe the medical people billed Mr. Eckert somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.000 for their […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: