Lawmakers hammered for confiscating cash for no reason

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Choo Choo

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‘This will lead to innocent people losing their money’

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.”  Psalms 95:6 (KJV) 

The Institute for Justice for years has taken up the cause of Americans who, for various reasons, were traveling with cash and had it confiscated by various law-enforcement agencies.

It’s won many cases, and in some instances states or other governments even have changed their procedures to step back from absconding with money that belongs legitimately to travelers.

But now one state is moving in the wrong direction, the organization is reporting.

In a statement this week, the IJ condemned a decision by Michigan lawmakers to undo helpful reforms that had been made to the state’s civil forfeiture system.

Under the guise of fighting “drug trafficking,” the IJ explained, the state is planning to step up the confiscation operations it has.

“This new change will imperil the rights of air travelers to travel with cash, a completely legal and legitimate activity,” the IJ said.

“Last Thursday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law which gets rid of the requirement that airport authorities obtain a conviction or guilty plea before using civil forfeiture to permanently take money from individuals traveling through Michigan airports, if they have more than $20,000 and police suspect the money was ‘related’ to a drug offense,” the organization reported.

“Traveling with cash is not a crime. People regularly fly with large amounts of cash for a wide variety of completely legitimate reasons related to their business or personal finances,” explained IJ lawyer Dan Alban, who helps lead IJ’s National Initiative to End Forfeiture Abuse.

“Allowing authorities to take air travelers’ cash without a criminal conviction, simply because they have a large sum of money, is a blatant violation of their rights. This will lead to innocent people losing their money and is a massive step in the wrong direction by Michigan lawmakers.”

The institute explained it has fought such fights “throughout the country,” when people have been victimized by police taking their mon…

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