The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that current civil
forfeiture laws wrongly require a plaintiff to post a bond before they can
petition a court to hear arguments on their rights to have impounded property
returned to them.
In declaring this requirement unconstitutional, the Court has
sided with legislation supported by NFIB and introduced by State Representative
Peter Lucido (House Bill 4629) that would repeal this bond requirement. The Michigan
House passed the bill and it now awaits action on the Senate floor.
Civil forfeiture laws allow the government to seize private
property from a citizen or small business owner without ever charging them with
a crime or providing evidence prior to seizing the assets. Government
authorities (typically police departments) often pocket the proceeds while
providing no prompt way to get a court to review the seizure. There is no
incentive or requirement for the government to charge the business owner with a
crime. Once the property is seized, government agencies are free to keep the
property until the business owner pursues return of the property, which is
often a costly and lengthy legal process that is stacked in favor of the
Many small business owners carry large cash sums to the bank
and to other business locations for use in making change or deposits and other
small business owners still use cash to make large supply purchases. All of
these and other scenarios create a situation where small business is exposed to
the potential of civil forfeiture seizures.
To learn more about NFIB efforts to protect private property
and reform civil forfeiture laws go HERE.