Texas Case Illustrates Raw Tyranny of Civil Asset Forfeiture, by Brian McGlinchey

Yes, you can lose your money and property to the government without being guilty of any crime under an abomination known as Civil Asset Forfeiture. From Brian McGlinchey at starkrealities.substack.com:

“Cash is not a crime,” says victim of $42,300 plunder by Harris County Sheriff’s Office

On May 14, 2019, Ameal Woods drove from rural Mississippi to Houston with $42,300 in cash. He was ready to achieve a major goal he and his wife had worked, saved and borrowed for: Purchasing a second semi truck for the fledgling trucking business he operated with his brother, and perhaps a trailer, too.

Along Interstate 10 in Texas, however, his entrepreneurial dream turned into a nightmare. It started when Woods was pulled over by a Harris County sheriff’s deputy who claimed Woods had been following too closely behind the truck in front of him.

Jordan Davis and Ameal Woods (Photo: Institute for Justice)

The deputy asked Woods if he was carrying drugs or money. Seeking to be cooperative, Woods said he was carrying cash in the trunk and consented to a search of his vehicle.

The deputy proceeded to the trunk, took the money, handed Woods a receipt, and sent him on his way without charging him with anything.

“All my cash. All my life savings. All my dreams. He got it,” says Woods in an Institute for Justice video profile embedded at the end of this article.

Woods had become a victim of civil asset forfeiture, a controversial practice that authorizes police to seize money, cars, trucks, houses or anything else they merely accuse of having a link to criminal activity—regardless of whether the property owner is charged with a crime.

Woods says all his money was legally acquired: $22,800 from his own savings, $13,000 borrowed from his niece and another $6,500 lent to him by his wife, Jordan Davis.

Davis says she’d worked overtime shifts in her job as a restaurant cashier to help accumulate the money Woods needed to pursue his business goals.

“I worked hard for that money,” says Davis. “There were days that I didn’t even want to go to work because I’m tired, and to just have it taken, with no explanation is terrible. How do you start over?”

It was an even more devastating blow for Woods: “All of my drive, all of my motivation, everything was gone.” He went into a deep depression. Rather than expanding his business, he’s been reduced to doing odd jobs.

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