NFIB joins ACLU and others to advocate against abuses of civil asset forfeiture
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Sept. 17, 2020) – NFIB filed an amicus brief in the South Carolina Supreme Court case Richardson v. $20,771 in U.S. Currency, arguing that South Carolina must reevaluate its excessive fines test to comply with federal and state constitutional protections. NFIB also argues that South Carolina should join other states in considering individual financial circumstances in an excessive fines analysis.
“Small businesses work hard to comply with the many government-mandated laws and regulations and they simply cannot afford to worry about law enforcement seizing their property without an actual crime,” said NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned. “It is important for the Court to protect South Carolina small businesses and set a new civil asset forfeiture test.”
The case primarily concerns civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the government to seize private property from a citizen or small business owner without ever charging them with a crime or providing evidence prior to seizing the assets.
NFIB South Carolina State Director Ben Homeyer said, “Our members put their life’s savings into building their businesses, and it isn’t right that the government can come in and take their belongings even if they haven’t been charged with a crime.”
NFIB filed the amicus brief with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina Foundation, Inc., South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, South Carolina for Criminal Justice Reform, Root & Rebound, and Project Not A Statistic in Support of Respondents $20,771 in U.S. Currency and Travis Green.
The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.