IRS Must Pay Fees in Civil Forfeiture Case

I’m a huge fan of the Institute for Justice. Last week, the Institute for Justice won a case for a man who had $107,702.66 seized from him. Last May, Lyndon McLellan won the right to get back his $107,702.66 that was seized in a wrongful civil forfeiture action. Last week, he won the approximate $20,000 in legal and other fees he incurred in getting back his own money.

Judge John C. Fox (no relation) noted:

Certainly, the damage inflicted upon an innocent person or business is immense when, although it has done nothing wrong, its money and property are seized. Congress, acknowledging the harsh realities of civil forfeiture practice, sought to lessen the blow to innocent citizens who have had their property stripped from them by the Government. …This court will not discard lightly the right of a citizen to seek the relief Congress has afforded.

I am not a fan of civil forfeiture as currently practiced: It’s being abused widely by the government. Indeed, some government police agencies consider it a part of their normal funding! This is an issue that those both on the left and right can agree on (that there is abuse) so maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some bipartisanship and some reigning in of this.

If you’re thinking of making a charitable donation and wondering about a good organization to donate to, you could do far, far worse than the Institute for Justice.

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