MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Police Seized Property of Close to 1,000 People in Michigan—Without Ever Convicting Them of Crimes – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Posted by M. C. Fox on July 12, 2018

https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/11/police-seized-property-of-close-to-1000

Close to 1,000 people in Michigan had their property seized by police or government officials last year even though they were neither convicted nor sometimes even charged with committing a crime.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have this information at all. In 2015 Michigan passed legislation that mandated local law enforcement agencies report more information to the state about the extent of their seizures. The Department of State Police just released its first report that encompassed all agencies for a full calendar year.

Law enforcement agencies across the state seized more than $13 million in cash and property in 2017. And while State Police Director Kriste Etue claims in the report’s introduction that all those seized assets were “amassed by drug traffickers,” that’s not really what the numbers show…

Thus citizens can have their stuff taken by the government without being first convicted. There’s been a growing backlash to the use of civil asset forfeiture, and some states are attempting to restrain the police by requiring convictions before money and property can be taken. Michigan does not currently require a conviction, but some lawmakers are working on changing the rules. The state’s House passed a bill in May that would require convictions before forcing somebody to forfeit property and cash valued at less than $50,000. It has not yet been taken up by the state Senate.

Perhaps knowing that more than one out of 10 folks who have their property taken from them aren’t even convicted might be helpful information to convince senators to vote for change.

Be seeing you

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