In March of 2021, 30-year-old Brian Moore was waiting to board a plane from Atlanta to Los Angeles. The man had $8,500 in his possession, money he received from the sale of his late grandfather’s car. He hoped to start a music career, using all the money he had in the world.
That’s when his fate took a sour turn… care of the federal government.
Several plainclothes DEA officers took Moore away from his gate. They questioned him behind closed doors, seemingly suggesting he was up to no good. After pressing him repeatedly, he allowed them to search his belongings. The officers took all of Moore’s money, leaving him penniless. He returned home and discovered a convenient law that allows federal officers to seize a person’s property, without a warrant or accusing them of a crime. After spending a year pursuing justice, the case resolved in his favor. But he still lost big.
From Fox News:
Moore had never heard of civil asset forfeiture, which allows the government to seize and keep property it suspects is connected to criminal activity, until he found himself knee-deep in a complex, yearslong legal battle against the Justice Department. But even after he won and got his property back, a federal court rejected his request for the government to repay him $15,000 in legal fees…
Now owing nearly twice the amount of his original seized property, Moore got in touch with the Institute for Justice, which is appealing to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the unpaid legal fees.
Moore had done nothing wrong. The DEA did not even accuse him of a crime or serve him with a warrant. But they did confiscate all the money he owed. And even after he won his case and a judge ordered the DEA to pay back his $8,500–he still owed $15,000 in legal fees.
The court had rejected Moore’s request that the government pay his legal fees. In criminal cases, if a defendant wins he is often repaid by the state or federal government. That is often the case in some civil cases. Yet, for some reason, the judge did not grant Moore this request, leaving him worse off than he was before.
Perhaps that is why the DEA and other federal agencies take advantage of civil asset forfeiture. How many Americans are willing to get back what they lost, if they end up losing more in the process? Critics are very harsh with this law, which appears to give officers the power to go after law-abiding citizens, simply for how they look.
- Brian Moore won a case against the DEA but owes more than what was taken from him.
- The DEA seized $8,500 from Moore while at the airport. A court ordered the agency to return it.
- The court did not grant Moore’s request for the government to pay his legal fees, which were over $15,000.
Source: Fox News