Monday, July 6, 2015

Civil asset forfeiture has gotten out of control in Michigan

Michigan CJR

In 2008, Detroit’s Contemporary Art Institute held a party called “Funk Night.” This get-together occurred regularly, and the attendees enjoyed time dancing, drinking, and socializing with other guests. But then Detroit police officers, without prior notice, entered and forced guests onto the ground, taking cars and other possessions with them. All without convicting anyone.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Detroit police, arguing that the confiscation of property without prosecution of crime was illegal. So why did the police feel justified in their actions? Apparently, the party organizers had not complied with an extra city permit to sell alcoholic beverages at their party. Four years after the event, Judge Victoria Roberts ruled in favor of the ACLU and the attendees who had their property stolen.
The ACLU addressed what was a highly controversial practice: civil asset forfeiture.