Michigan Looking to Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture
Article from Reason by C.J. Ciaramella.
In 2017, Michigan police seized property from nearly 1,000 people who were never convicted of a crime. Some of them were never even arrested.
Those numbers—the result of new reporting requirements passed by the state in 2015—have spurred a bipartisan push among Michigan lawmakers to further restrict the practice of civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to seize cash and property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner is never convicted, or sometimes never charged, with a crime.
The Michigan Senate passed a civil asset forfeiture reform bill last week that would require police to obtain a criminal conviction to seize assets valued under $50,000, or consent from the owner to relinquish the property. The bill is now being considered by the state house.
Jarrett Skorup, a researcher at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank, used a public records request to get the underlying data the state used to prepare its annual reports. Skorup’s data showed that in 2017, the latest year for which information is available, Michigan police seized $13 million in cash and property—everything ranging from guns to TVs to Playstation 4s to grow lights for marijuana. Bowling balls, jumper cables, power tools, and Beats headphones also made the list.
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Tony Webster [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons