Contributor, The Volokh Conspiracy

(Here is the latest edition of the Institute for Justice’s weekly Short Circuit newsletter, written by John Ross.)

Back in January 2016, San Diego law enforcement raided James Slatic’s legal medical marijuana business. Even though the district attorney never filed criminal charges, that didn’t stop them from seizing over $100,000 from the Slatic family’s bank accounts, including college savings for James’s teenage daughters. But last week, following a 15-month legal battle with procedural twists and turns that almost rival Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, a judge finally ordered the DA to return the Slatic family’s life savings. Read more here.

On last week’s podcast: A spooky cellphone warning, a sign on a stick, a “ruminating” judge, and an update from the civil forfeiture hotbed of Tenaha, Tex. Click here for iTunes.

Following many high-profile stories of wrongful seizures, on Tuesday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed a new conviction requirement for civil forfeiture. Though the requirement does not apply to property worth more than $5,000, Iowa’s new law should still protect the vast majority of innocent Iowans from abusive forfeitures. Read more about the bill here. Over in Colorado, lawmakers have overwhelmingly backed a bill that would shine a light on civil forfeiture in the Centennial State. Some of the new requirements include: obliging agencies to report if they filed criminal charges when seizing property and disclosing where that money goes (hopefully not toward Zambonis and margarita machines). The bill also closes a lucrative loophole for forfeiture funding. Click here to read more.