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Proposed legislation looks to close civil asset forfeiture loophole

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MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Proposed legislation is hoping to close yet another loophole in the civil asset forfeiture laws.

State Representative Peter Lucido says the bipartisan measure is common sense and protects citizens’ rights.

Civil asset forfeiture is when, for instance, law enforcement seizes someone’s property if they believe it was involved in a crime, or could help lead to a criminal conviction.

Rep. Lucido says changes are needed to make the current law more fair.

Rep. Lucido has introduced House Bill 4629, which seeks to get rid of the provision saying if your property is seized you have to pay ten percent of whatever police feel it is worth within 20 days in order to get that property back.

Rep. Lucido says that impacts low-income families more than anyone. He says what often happens is that law enforcement seizes money or property that families need to survive, even if they’re never convicted and it’s then on those families to pay to get that property back.

“We don’t what those that are lost in the system, and it’s a complex system, to be punished or hurt or have their property rights stripped from them because police can,” said Rep. Lucido. “That’s unfair, that’s unjust.”

Rep. Lucido says the next step is outlawing seizure of property unless there’s a conviction. In the future he wants law enforcement to keep track of property using serial numbers and pictures and to instead issue orders that individuals cannot get rid of the affected property until court proceedings are complete.

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