"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
There was a win this past week for the little guy which went largely unnoticed in the media. And when we say little guy, let us add that this particular little guy was also in the right. Too often, politicians talk about the little guy as if he can do no wrong. But sometimes there's a regular joe out there, who's treated so awfully by a government agency, or multiple agencies, that the story is noteworthy. And somebody, worthy or not, should note it.
Back in August, a woman named Rebecca Brown was stopped at Pittsburgh International Airport and quizzed by a DEA agent. She had $82,000 in cash on her. Which is unusual, but not illegal. She was on her way back to Boston, with her father's life savings, to deposit in a bank the next morning.
Her father, 79-year-old Terry Rolin, is experiencing cognitive decline, and when Ms. Brown put him on the phone to explain the situation to the DEA agent, "He just handed me the phone and said, 'Your stories don't match. We're seizing the cash.'"
And with that, the money was gone. Or at least in the care of your government, which did Terry Rolin and his daughter no good.
They filed suit, and with the help of the Institute for Justice, got the money back Friday.
Without saying why the money was taken, without a suspicion of a crime, without so much as a packet of rolling papers in a suitcase, the government took a man's life savings and held onto it for longer than a football season. Then gave the money back.
"There's zero explanation and zero apology," Ms. Brown told The Washington Post. (Outside The Post, and the Pittsburgh papers, we've seen little media attention on this matter. Which is another editorial.)
"It's unfortunate the government is able to do this to people," Ms. Brown added. "It's just not fair."
Unfortunate is the nice way to put it.
It's also unconstitutional.
And giving the money back without explanation or apology is also rude. As mama would say, shame, shame. But, as folks notice on frequent occasion, government has little shame.
Editorial on 03/08/2020
Print Headline: Government at work