“Carrying cash is not a crime,” Institute for Justice attorney Dan Alban informs us, “yet too often the government treats it like one.”
Musician Phil Parhamovich learned that the hard way. He was porting his life savings, almost $92,000 — earmarked for a down payment on a recording studio — when cop-robbers of the Wyoming Highway Patrol stopped him for not wearing a seat belt.
It turned out to be an extremely expensive infraction. The officers intimated that it was illegal to travel with so much cash and pressured him to hand it over. Scared and believing that his alternative was jail, Phil signed a preprinted waiver letting them grab his life savings.
Preprinted waiver? This means it’s routine for these guys to try to legitimate their actions as they premeditatedly intimidate and rob people.
The state of Wyoming tried to keep the money. Fortunately, the Institute for Justice took Phil’s case, and a judge accepted the facts presented by Phil and his IJ lawyer. After months of tribulation and suspense, the robbery victim got his money back.
Another win for the good guys.
Thankfully, the Institute for Justice’s freedom-defenders have won a great number of such cases. Yet, IJ lawyers certainly cannot litigate all the forfeiture injustices being committed by government authorities all across the country.
That’s why the group is pushing to reform civil asset forfeiture laws, requiring a criminal conviction before property can be forfeited.
And you can help. How? Launch efforts in your town or state, or work to push infant efforts to a higher level. Take the initiative.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.