Phil Parhamovich

In March 2017, Phil Parhamovich, a musician from Madison, Wisconsin, was pulled over by Wyoming Highway Patrol for allegedly not wearing his seatbelt and not staying in his lane. The trooper began aggressively questioning Phil about details of his trip that had nothing to do with the traffic stop. Several law enforcement officers searched Phil’s minivan, but found no drugs or anything illegal—only the $91,800 that he hidden in the speaker cabinet for safe keeping.

What happened next changed Phil’s life forever. The officers pressured Phil into signing a pre-printed waiver that stated he was “giving” the money to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and waiving his right to any court proceedings. After the officers got Phil to sign the waiver, they wrote him a $25 ticket for not wearing a seatbelt and sent him on his way. Other than the traffic citation, Phil was never charged with any crime, let alone convicted of one.

  • December 1, 2017    |   Private Property

    Wyoming Forfeiture

    Wyoming law enforcement pressures drivers to sign a form “giving” their cash to law enforcement agencies and waiving any right to court proceedings.

    The Institute for Justice successfully represented Phil Parhamovich, a musician from Madison, Wisconsin who had his life savings of $91,800 seized by Wyoming law enforcement during a traffic stop on I-80 near Cheyenne. Phil was never accused of—or charged with—a crime, but Wyoming refused to return his money until he challenged the forfeiture in court.…

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