Philadelphia drops civil asset forfeiture case against family

The city of Philadelphia has dropped its attempt to seize two homes using civil asset forfeiture laws.

The city’s seizure of the homes made national headlines and became the basis for a lawsuit that challenges Philadelphia law enforcement agencies’ use of civil asset forfeiture in drug cases. That lawsuit will continue even though the city has dropped these two cases.

Chris Sourovelis and his family lost their home earlier this year after his son was caught by police selling $40 of heroine.

Their case, as we’ve reported on before, demonstrated some of the worst aspects of Philadelphia’s civil asset forfeiture program. The city’s police department and district attorneys’ office regularly seizes homes, cars and other property from suspected criminals without any conviction — and in some cases, without any charges being filed.

“I’ve lived in Philadelphia for over 30 years. I never thought it was possible for the police to just show up at my doorstep without notice and take my house when I’ve done nothing wrong,” Sorovelis said Thursday in a statement. “But that’s exactly what happened to me and my family.”

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