News Story

No Charge For Vehicle Seizure Data Over Three Years, But Wayne County Wants $19k This Time

In 2017, officials of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office stopped cars driven by people leaving a medical marijuana dispensary, seizing the vehicles of those who purchased marijuana without a medical marijuana card. In some cases, the individuals purchased as little as $10 in marijuana, according to the police reports.

The seizures happened in Detroit and were part of “Operation Push-Off,” a program that has been in force for years.

In 2017 and 2018, Wayne County seized more than 2,600 vehicles under the program, which brought $1.24 million into its coffers when ownership of the vehicles was formally forfeited to the county by courts.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has tracked this program for several years, submitting Freedom of Information Act requests for records related to the vehicle seizures and forfeitures.

Last year, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Mackinac Center’s open records law request with documents showing the total number of vehicles seized and money realized from their forfeiture. It turned these documents over without charge.

Earlier this year, the Mackinac Center submitted the same request for updated figures. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office replied that it wanted $19,520 to look up the information and send it out. Last year, it provided the information at no charge.

The office did not respond to an email asking for an explanation.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.