LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos recently supported legislation to reform Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws.
“The protection of each American’s personal property was so important to our founders that it was included in the Fourth Amendment — prohibiting the unreasonable search and seizure of property by the government,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Michigan’s current laws allow for the seizure of property by law enforcement agencies if an individual is suspected of using the property in relation to a crime. Unfortunately, that property can then be sold — regardless of whether the person was convicted of a crime.
“I support this legislation to reform our civil asset forfeiture process so that it is fair, ethical and constitutional.”
House Bills 4499, 4500 and 4503-4507 would raise the minimum standard by which property can be seized through the requirement that there is clear and convincing evidence the property was used in connection to the illicit activity.
The reforms also include reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies to record seized and forfeited property, in addition to any resulting revenue.
“The people — through their police and government — sometimes must intervene and seize property, such as in illegal drug cases,” Proos said. “These reforms are about striking the right balance between public safety and personal rights. I believe these reforms will allow law enforcement to keep our communities safe while also protecting our constitutional rights.”
The bills were recently approved by the Senate and are now on their way to the governor.
Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.