Governor Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Civil Asset Forfeiture Law
Yesterday I agreed with an action taken by Michigan’s Democrat Attorney General Dana Nessel and today I can agree with Governor Whitmer’s action on the civil asset forfeiture law in Michigan.
As I always say look at the policies or actions taken by an elected politician or their party and judge them on those policies and actions not what party they are coming from or the words that they speak about the issues.
Yesterday Governor Whitmer signed into law bipartisan legislation to reform state civil asset forfeiture rules. These new rules will require a conviction before a Michigan police department can permanently confiscate property in most cases.
The bill was sponsored by Republican state Senator Pete Lucido of Shelby Township. This new law will take effect in 2020 and will require a conviction on any property seized that is worth less than $50,000 for the state to keep and sell the property.
Why there is a $50,000 threshold I do not know because I have not seen or heard of any explanation for that threshold. What is the difference between $40,000 of property seized and $80,000? The number of seizures above $50,000 is a very small percentage of the total amount seized.
Republican state Senator Pete Lucido stated:
No one should profit from criminal activity…But to take somebody's goods and deprive them before there’s been due process delivered is an injustice.
According to a Michigan State Police report to the Legislature, state and local agencies confiscated $11.8 million in cash and $1.3 million in property, including eight homes, 711 weapons and 7,999 vehicles. Of the 2017 forfeitures, 736 people were not charged with a crime, with another 220 were charged but not convicted. Another 228 weren’t charged because they cooperated with prosecutors. Only 43 percent of those whose property was forfeited were charged and convicted.
Governor Whitmer stated that the law had:
deprive people of due process and quite frankly created bad relationships between law enforcement and the communities that they served…And I think those injustices will now be made right.
Finally we bring due process back into the law in Michigan.