Civil Asset Forfeiture laws struck down by Michigan Court of Appeals
LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Michigan Court of Appeals rules it's unconstitutional to force a low income person to have their day in court only after they pay bond.
Michigan House Republicans say this new ruling is a step in the right direction and want to take this ruling a step further.
Newschannel 3’s Political Reporter Nick Minock talked with Republican State Representative Pete Lucido, who said no one - rich or poor - should have to post bond before they get their day in court.
Lucido and House Republicans are working to reform Civil Asset Forfeiture laws.
Civil Asset Forfeiture is a Michigan law that allows police officers to seize your property if they believe it’s in connection to a crime.
Guilty or not, you must post bond to get your property back.
It’s a lengthy and expensive process that Representative Lucido says is unfair and un-American, but that’s not all.
Lucido says police departments are actually profiting from this state law.
Lucido said, “You should not profit from criminal activity because that is disingenuous to law abiding citizens. There's an incentive in my eyes to go ahead a grab property. The more (police) grab the more that comes into the police coffers and as a result they can go ahead and pay the departments and or use it for resources for criminal activity. The unfortunate part is they are lumping innocent along with possible guilty."
He said it's unconscionable to have a law like this and police departments are profiting $19 million on average every year from items officers seize from their communities.
Those items include cars, cell phones, computers, and even houses and now Republicans in Lansing are working to change that.