Civil Asset Forfeiture: What Michigan Lawmakers Are Doing About it.

Civil asset forfeiture, when mismanaged, is a form of legalized thievery!

We’ve shared with our readers many times in recent years about the issues involved in civil asset forfeiture in Michigan. Specifically, how improperly managed civil asset forfeiture robs citizens of their belongings and destroys trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. However the need for change has become a major topic of discussion in recent years, and laws have been changing as more and more legislators realize the depth of the problem here in the Great Lakes State.

So when an announcement was made recently that Michigan legislators plan to tackle civil asset forfeiture this year, we were excited to hear it. The long outdated laws that Michigan currently operates under make us one of the most reviled states in the nation when it comes to this subject specifically. (The 2015 ‘Policing for Profit‘ study, commissioned by the Institute for Justice, gave Michigan a D – avery poor grade indeed.)

Things are changing in Michigan – for the better!

Change is always slow at a bureaucratic level. So the fact that this promised change in Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws comes on the heels of a major change made just last year to our laws is very promising. Signed into law in May of 2018, a new law did away with the old civil asset forfeiture requirements that a person whose property has been seized, pay a cash bond before they can challenge the original seizure.

Prior to January 3, 2017 a person whose assets had been seized by law enforcement had to post bond those same officers who took their belongings. The amount was usually about 10 percent of the value of the items. So change is already underway, but it looks like Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws are going to be overhauled again, and this time legislators are hoping to get to the bottom of the problem.

The new plan involves protecting civilians property rights!

When the Michigan House of Representatives reconvened this year for their first meeting, one of the subjects raised was a bipartisan plan to address civil asset forfeiture. Specifically, changing the law to require that a person be convicted of a crime (in most cases) before the police can permanently confiscate their belongings, including cash, cars or any other property.

The fact that this issue is seen as a problem on both sides of the party line is very encouraging. And as Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield pointed out at the first meeting this year of the 100th Legislature, “We can work together, and we will work together. This is a step in the right direction for the people of our state, and for law enforcement.”

Protect yourself against this and other police abuses!

If you or a loved one have had your property seized, or your rights violated by law enforcement, whether it was an illegal search and seizure, or an improperly handled arrest, contact us immediately.

The skilled defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have many years of experience battling abuses by police officers, and violations of your Constitutional rights. We’ll fight aggressively to protect your rights, and to ensure that you’re treated fairly and with dignity. Call us today at 866-766-5245. An attorney is standing by to discuss your case with you at any hour, day or night.

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