National Group Gives Michigan a ‘D’ for Forfeiture Laws

Bills that would raise that grade languish in legislature

The national grassroots group FreedomWorks, which has 6.9 million members and supports limited government, gives Michigan a “D” in a new report about civil asset forfeiture.

The report card, “Civil Asset Forfeiture: Grading the States,” bases their ratings on the standard of proof the government must meet to forfeit property, who has the burden of proof (the state or the individual), and what percentage of forfeiture funds go to law enforcement.

In explaining the grade for Michigan, the report says, “The standard of proof is too low; the government may forfeit property by showing a preponderance of the evidence. The government must prove the property owner was not an innocent owner, if the owner claims this defense. Law enforcement receives 100 percent of forfeiture funds. A package of eight separate reform bills has passed the Michigan House with strong bipartisan support.”

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The bills raising the standard of proof (although not as high as what is needed for a criminal conviction) and establishing strong transparency laws passed overwhelmingly in the state House. They are now sitting in the state Senate where they have not been taken up.


Related Articles:

Former State Trooper: Cops, Prosecutors Misuse Problematic Asset Forfeiture Law

Michigan Needs To Stop Charging Residents To Get Their Property Back

Michigan Should End Civil Asset Forfeiture

Michigan Forfeiture Laws Improving, But State Transparency Still Falls Behind

Key Part of Civil Asset Forfeiture Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Michigan Must Stop Keeping Peoples’ Property Without Conviction

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The Republican Party fully controls most states and at the national level has captured the House, Senate and presidency. By many measures, the party has more power than it has had in many decades. But will that control last? And, more importantly, what policy priorities are coming about from these political victories?

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