The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments over the constitutionality of civil forfeiture involving individuals with no criminal culpability. In Commonwealth v. 1997 Chevrolet, the justices reviewed the seizure of Elizabeth Young's West Philadelphia home and her car by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office's as punishment for her negligence in allowing her son to sell drugs on the property.

Jessica Anthony of Ballard Spahr, who has represented Ms. Young throughout the case, said the property owner's culpability needs to be considered and weighed against punishment. She said a negligent property owner not involved in any criminal activity could be handed the same fine as the individual who carried out the criminal conduct if Young's forfeiture were deemed acceptable.

Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor asked Anthony how Young's negligence should be handled.

"What do you do with a property owner like this?" Saylor asked. "They're trying to protect the neighborhood."

The question at the heart of the matter, Anthony said, is "what was reasonable under the circumstances?"

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