Michigan Senate approves changes in police confiscation of assets

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Law enforcement would have to adhere to new reporting requirements and meet a higher evidentiary standard for seizing and taking ownership of people’s property under legislation nearing Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

The Michigan Senate unanimously approved seven bills Wednesday. The House is expected to concur this week.

The bills seek to address concerns about police taking cash, vehicles and assets from people not convicted of crimes. Prosecutors can permanently confiscate assets in civil court thought to be associated with criminal activity.

The legislation would require agencies that seize or forfeit property to make detailed reports to state police and raise the standard for civil forfeiture to one of clear and convincing evidence. Reporting is required for forfeited assets related to suspected drug crimes, but not for other suspected criminal activities.

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