LANSING, Mich. (May 10, 2018) – On Tuesday, the Michigan House passed a bill that would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction in most cases. But the legislation leaves a loophole in place allowing police to circumvent stricter state laws by passing cases off to the feds.
Rep. Pete Lucido (R-Shelby Township) introduced House Bill 5779 (HB5779) on Apr. 11. The legislation would reform Michigan law by requiring a criminal conviction before prosecutors could proceed with asset forfeiture in cases involving an aggregate net equity value of property less than $50,000. Under current law, the state can seize assets even if a person is never found guilty of a crime. The $50,000 threshold would cover most forfeiture cases in Michigan. A study in Colorado found that 85 percent of cases fell below the $50,000 level.
The House passed HB5779 by an 83-26 vote.
According to the Institute for Justice, the state of Michigan earned a D- grade for its civil asset forfeiture laws. Michigan law enforcement agencies may presently keep up to 100% of all the forfeiture proceeds that come from seized assets.
Passage of HB5779 would not …
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