Goodbye to Detroit’s Asset Forfeiture Racket
A federal appeals court has dealt a welcome victory to vehicle owners and a scathing rebuke to Detroit’s asset forfeiture racket.
A panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit unanimously ruled in late August that Detroit’s practice of seizing people’s cars for months at a time before giving them a chance to contest the seizure violates vehicle owners’ 14th Amendment right to due process. The panel found that Michigan’s Wayne County, which includes Detroit, “violated that Constitution when it seized plaintiffs’ personal vehicles—which were vital to their transportation and livelihoods—with no timely process to contest the seizure.”
The 6th Circuit ruled that Wayne County must provide car owners a post-seizure court hearing within two weeks.
The ruling is the latest development in a series of lawsuits arguing that Wayne County uses civil asset forfeiture to seize cars and then forces owners to pay a $900 settlement fee, plus towing and storage fees, to get them back—or wait months, even years, for a court hearing.
The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, filed a class-action lawsuit in 2020 on behalf of three Wayne County residents whose cars were seized for crimes they were either acquitted of or never charged with, arguing that the shakedown v
Article from Reason.com
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