Your editors, if you haven’t noticed by now, are fairly libertarian in our philosophy about government.
So we were thrilled to learn of a victory for the rule of law in a case brought by our friends at the Institute for Justice. Back in 2021, FBI agents raided the premises of the U.S. Private Vaults in Beverly Hills, California, in search of evidence of money laundering.
They took quite a haul, with over 700 boxes carted away.
The government then initiated civil forfeiture proceedings against any property confiscated worth over $5,000 – even though the box holders weren’t even accused of wrongdoing and were never charged with a crime. The total haul was $85 million in cash and millions more in property. None of the box renters have been charged with a crime. Two of the victims, Paul and Jennifer Snitko, sued the government for wrongful taking of their property.
The federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously against the government last week, comparing the FBI’s actions to the British authorities who performed limitless searches prior to the American Revolution. The court noted: “It was those very abuses of power, after all, that led to the adoption of the Fourth Amendment in the first place.”
Under Joe Biden our system of justice is badly broken, the FBI is out of control, and prosecutor abuse is rampant.
Bravo to the Snitkos and IJ for standing up against this rampant tyranny.