MIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy praised Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and lawmakers for enacting a new law that will protect individuals’ property and due process rights by requiring law enforcement to convict a person in a court of law prior to permanently keeping their property through civil asset forfeiture.
“This is a huge win for all Michiganders,” said Jarrett Skorup, director of marketing and communications, who has written extensively and testified on the issue for the Mackinac Center. “Just a few years ago, Michigan had the worst-rated forfeiture laws in the country and here we are today, joining the states with the best civil asset forfeiture protections.”
Skorup is the coauthor of a study, published jointly between the Mackinac Center and the ACLU of Michigan, titled “Civil Forfeiture in Michigan: A Review and Recommendations for Reform.”
The bills lawmakers passed are House Bills 4001 and 4002 and Senate Bill 2. These had wide bipartisan support and came after years of tweaks to Michigan’s civil forfeiture system. This included a bill package in 2015 raising the standard of evidence for forfeiture and establishing transparency requirements, and a 2016 law that repealed a bond requirement for people challenging forfeitures.
The 2019 bills would require a criminal conviction before someone could lose their assets via civil asset forfeiture. The reforms would also speed up the process by which a person can get their assets back if they were seized by law enforcement. The bills would not apply to forfeiture cases involving money or assets valued at more than $50,000.
For more information about civil asset forfeiture in Michigan, visit www.mackinac.org/forfeiture.
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.
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