After Elizabeth Young’s son was arrested for selling $140 worth of marijuana, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office seized her Cobbs Creek home and her car through civil forfeiture—a controversial practice that has garnered widespread outrage throughout the country.

However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Thursday that prosecutors overstepped their authority in seizing the 71-year-old grandmother’s home, where the District Attorney’s Office said drug deals took place, because she was not a suspect in the case.

Prosecutors took Young’s home and car as punishment for not putting a stop to her 50-year-old son Donald Graham’s drug dealing.

By upholding a Commonwealth Court ruling that Young was an “innocent owner” caught in the middle of her son’s crimes, the state Supreme Court has limited Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies’ ability to seize private property by tightening the parameters for the use of civil forfeiture.

Jessica M. Anthony, a lawyer from Ballard Spahr, argued Young’s case before the justices.

“Our Supreme Court has firmly established that district attorney's offices in Pennsylvania can no longer trample on the rights of property owners, especially those who cannot afford a lawyer,” Anthony said in a statement Thursday. “It is a mandate to the government and to law enforcement and a victory for civil liberties.”

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