The Buckeye Institute Calls on U.S. Supreme Court to Hold the Government Accountable When It Unjustly Seizes Private Property

Dec 19, 2019

Columbus, OH – The Buckeye Institute, along with other prominent national scholars and think tanks, filed an amicus brief on Tuesday in Salgado v. the United States urging the United States Supreme Court to hold the government accountable under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act when it unjustly seizes private property.

“Civil asset forfeiture unjustly allows the government to take property from people who have not been convicted and in some cases have not even been charged with a crime, as was the case here for Ms. Salgado. This ongoing miscarriage of justice was why The Buckeye Institute tirelessly championed civil asset forfeiture reform in Ohio.” said Robert Alt, president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute. “By allowing the government to escape its duty to pay Ms. Salgado’s attorneys’ fees—which she incurred only because the government unjustly seized her life savings—the court in effect would be telling the government that it has no responsibility to right the atrocious wrong it has committed against her.”

In 2015, based on a false tip that her husband was a drug trafficker, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Ms. Salgado’s home. In addition to cash from her husband’s garment business, agents seized Ms. Salgado’s entire life savings of $15,000. Ms. Salgado eventually won her fight to have her life savings returned in court, but to avoid paying her attorneys’ fees of $5,000—one-third of her life savings—the government returned her money and had the case dismissed without prejudice. Using this technicality, the government avoided accountability and stuck Ms. Salgado with the bill its wrongful actions caused her to incur.

Salgado v. the United States is being argued by the Institute for Justice.

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UPDATE: April 6, 2020, cert was denied by the Supreme Court of the United States.