The cops take your stuff and never give it back, but you’re never convicted of a crime. Sounds like something out of a dystopian movie that ripped off George Orwell’s Animal Farm. But it isn’t. Horrifyingly, it’s actually a description of civil asset forfeiture. This is a very real issue we face right here in Michigan. (And if you followed our blog you would already know all about it!)
Civil Asset Forfeiture is a problem all over the country.
All over the United States, the subject of civil asset forfeiture has been fiercely debated in recent years. Some states have worked hard to update their laws, giving the accused protection against having their rights violated by having their assets seized by the government without due process (like Colorado, Minnesota and Connecticut). And then there are states like Alaska, where cops only need a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that your personal belongings were used in a crime for them to take your stuff and never give it back.
Things are getting better in Michigan, but not in every state.
Michigan has seen significant progress in recent years, and while we’ve still got some ground to cover, we’re one of only a few states that now requires clear and convincing evidence for law enforcement to confiscate your belongings. However a recent case in Indiana proves that there’s hope for states where the asset forfeiture laws are even further behind our own. And when the Supreme Court steps in, the big guns come out.
What’s the story here?
It’s interesting to think that the case of a small-time drug dealer from the Hoosier state could have an impact on civil asset forfeiture all over the country. It all started with Tyson Timbs, who used life insurance proceeds to buy himself a Land Rover. He later sold $225 worth of heroin to undercover officers and was busted. They took his vehicle, although when the cops searched it they found no drugs at all. So how exactly did the police justify taking a vehicle that was clearly purchased with money that wasn’t from drug sales? That’s where the case gets interesting.
Protecting your rights sometimes requires a fight!
Join us next time to see how the United States Supreme Court ruled in this case, and what those implications are for other civil asset forfeiture cases in the future. Until then, if you’ve been arrested, and you’re afraid your Constitutional rights are being violated, you’ll need an attorney who’s tenacious, hard working, and not afraid to stand up and fight for you. So if that sounds like your situation, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and make sure that you’ve got experience and a proven success rate on your side. Remember, the right attorney is critical.