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.”
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.
Permission to reprint this blog post in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author (or authors) and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are properly cited.
Permission to reprint any comments below is granted only for those comments written by Mackinac Center policy staff.
Get insightful commentary and the most reliable research on Michigan issues sent straight to your inbox.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.