asset forfeiture

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a new law that says police departments cannot keep assets seized as part of an investigation unless the owner is convicted of a crime. 

Prosecutors have used civil actions to seize assets as part of a strategy to combat drug dealing. But critics says the seizures violate due process rights.

Governor Whitmer is a former county prosecutor who says it was a solution that became a problem.

House and Senate move on criminal justice changes

Apr 25, 2019

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Legislature held key votes Wednesday on bills that would make various changes to the state’s criminal justice system.

The state Senate passed a series of bills that some lawmakers say will make the criminal justice system fairer for young people.

The so-called “Raise the Age” legislation would automatically treat 17-year-olds as juveniles for certain crimes. Right now, they’re automatically tried as adults.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Michigan lawmakers may be close to giving final passage to legislation that would restrict the government's ability to take ownership of property seized in drug cases unless there is a 

conviction.

The House approved the bills on 107-3 votes Thursday. Similar legislation previously passed the Senate, though lawmakers must iron out which ones go to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Law enforcement could still take ownership of seized property in drug cases if the cash and other assets are worth more than $50,000, excluding the value of contraband.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   This year state lawmakers will try to rein in Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture law. 

Under current law Michigan police may seize cash, cars or other property from people suspected of crimes—even if they’re never convicted of committing a crime.

State House Speaker Lee Chatfield [R-Levering] is backing legislation that would require a conviction to forfeit property worth up to $50,000.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The government would have a harder time taking ownership of property seized in drug investigations under legislation advancing in Michigan. 

The state House on Tuesday voted 83-26 for the bill next headed to the Senate.

It would prohibit the forfeiture of property worth less than $50,000 that is taken in drug cases unless the defendant is convicted, deported or relinquishes ownership.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some state lawmakers want to make it harder for law enforcement to take property involved in a suspected crime. 

A committee plans to work on the bills after spring break, but don’t expect a rush job.

Jim Runestead is chair of the committee the bills are in. He says he and other stakeholders have been working on changes to a series of bills. But changes might not be as aggressive as originally planned.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Some state lawmakers want to end the practice of allowing police agencies to seize and hold onto cash, cars, and other assets that they think might have played a role in illegal activity.

State law currently allows police departments to keep seized assets even if a suspect is never charged or convicted of a crime. Officials say it happened about 500 times in 2016 -- people who were never convicted of a crime still lost their seized property.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Law enforcement agencies in Michigan reported seizing $15.2 million in cash and property over 11 months of 2016. 

MLive.com reports the figure is from a new report from the Michigan State Police. The report says that in about 10 percent of the 5,290 cases, no one was charged with the violation for which the forfeiture was authorized.

The report says many of those accused of crimes "cooperated with authorities, resulting in criminal charges not being pursued."

Most of the cases were drug-related.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   People whose property is seized by law enforcement will no longer have to pay a bond to contest the forfeiture under legislation signed by Governor Rick Snyder.

The law enacted Wednesday is the latest move by lawmakers to address concerns about police taking cash, vehicles and assets from people not convicted of crimes.

Under the old law, people contesting a seizure had to pay a bond worth 10 percent of the property's value, or at least $250 and not more than $5,000.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Law enforcement will have to adhere to new reporting requirements and meet a higher evidentiary standard for seizing and taking ownership of people's property under laws signed by Governor Rick Snyder.  

The measures approved Tuesday seek to address concerns about police taking cash, vehicles and assets from people not convicted of crimes.

Agencies that seize or forfeit property will have to give detailed reports to state police every year.

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