The Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported a package of bills that would improve the civil asset forfeiture process. This topic was covered at a recent forum hosted by Senator Shirkey. There it was explained that civil asset forfeiture is what happens when a law enforcement agency lawfully seizes property used in connection with a crime. The devoted officers who serve daily agree that although the ability to seize property can be a significant part of investigations, it is also important to establish safeguards against the abuse of this practice.
The legislation would promote closer monitoring of the forfeiture process and establish other clarifications for the benefit of all Michigan citizens, including law enforcement.
The package, composed of House Bills 4499, 4500, 4503, 4504, 4505, 4506, and 4507, would increase transparency and raise the standard for seizure so that evidence must be “clear and convincing” before action is taken. These amendments give law enforcement agencies a better definition of their legal abilities while protecting citizens’ rights.