The Barton Morris Law Firm of Royal Oak and The Institute for Justice, based in the state of Washington, today filed a complaint in Federal Court in Detroit aimed at stopping what they call “unreasonably seizing (of) vehicles and other property” by the Wayne County Sheriffs Department.
The 48-page complaint alleges that Wayne County has been “unreasonably seizing vehicles and other property, even in the face of no evidence that a crime has been committed.”
“Simply put, people are losing their property often based solely of their proximity to other peoples’ alleged crimes,” says Barton Morris, founder and CEO of the Barton Morris Law Firm. “For example, an individual leaves a house suspected of dealing drugs or some involvement in prostitution and they are victims of this process.
“Innocent property owners then find themselves in the crosshairs of the law with no good reason,” he continues. “Rarely are these people even arrested let alone charged and convicted. They just lose what rightfully belongs to them. Once this happens, their only means to get their property back is to pay hefty fines and fees which go to support huge budgets that law enforcement and prosecutors have.”
Morris says the practice is unconstitutional and that courts in other states and the nation’s highest courts agree. “The authorities are incentivized to seize property without probable cause and any sort of due process,” he continues.