Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Ind. Gov't. - Institute for Justice files suit challenging Indianapolis civil forfeiture system
The ILB has posted many entries on civil forfeiture and on Indiana's system.
Today the national Institute for Justice has announced that it has filed suit in Marion County challenging the constitutionality of Indianapolis' civil forfeiture practices. From the 26-page complaint:
1. This case seeks to put a stop to Indianapolis law enforcement’s practice ofThe lawsuit has its own website; access it here.
diverting millions of dollars of civil-forfeiture proceeds for its own benefit, when the
Indiana Constitution requires that all forfeiture proceeds go to public schools.
2. Article 8, Section 2 of the Indiana Constitution requires that “all forfeitures
which may accrue” go to the common school fund, and nowhere else.
3. Police and prosecutors in Indianapolis and Marion County are neglecting this
constitutional command and retaining all of the proceeds of civil forfeitures for their own
4. Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of private property—even
millions—is the subject of civil-forfeiture actions in Marion County courts, but police and
prosecutors have sent not a single penny of civil-forfeiture revenue to the common school
fund in at least the last five years.
5. Instead, all forfeited property—everything from currency to cars to
Xboxes—is being retained by and often sold for the benefit of the police and prosecutors
responsible for seizing and forfeiting it.
6. Rather than aiding public schools, therefore, the forfeiture program in
Indianapolis has evolved—in the words of the current Marion County Prosecutor—into a
“revenue source” for law-enforcement agencies.
ILB: What is the Institute for Justice? The ILB checked Wikipedia:
The Institute for Justice (IJ) is a non-profit libertarian public interest law firm in the United States. It has litigated five cases considered by the United States Supreme Court dealing with topics that included eminent domain, interstate commerce, public financing for elections, school vouchers, and tax credits for private school tuition. The organization was founded in 1991. As of 2012 it employed a staff of 65 (including 33 attorneys) in Arlington, Virginia and five regional offices across the United States. Its 2014 budget was $12.8 million.
William H. "Chip" Mellor and Clint Bolick co-founded the organization in 1991 with seed money from libertarian philanthropist Charles Koch.