Civil Asset Forfeiture To Be Overhauled Under Michigan Bills
A package of bills designed to reform Michigan’s Civil Asset Forfeiture procedure has now been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives.
The Republican sponsored bills would do a variety of things; House Bill 5702 (sponsored by Rep. Jim Runestad) would require law enforcement and prosecutors to notify the owner of seized property twice, and would also require prosecutors to review the seized property and obtain a court order before the property can be considered forfeit. If the seized property is not evidence in a criminal proceeding, and if the prosecutor doesn’t approve the seizure or get a court order, the property must then be returned to its owner, which isn’t currently required under law.
HB 5703 (sponsored by Rep. Gary Glenn) would require law enforcement officers to undergo training regarding civil forfeiture law, and also require a commission to set the standards for that training. HB 5704 (sponsored by Rep. Beau LaFave) would prevent local governments from setting their own laws and regulations regarding civil forfeiture.
All three bills were co-sponsored by a variety of Republican representatives; Battle Creek's Rep. Dr. John Bizon co-sponsored HB 5702 and 5703.
The bills were referred to the House Judiciary Committee.