Forfeitures in drug cases eyed

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation advancing in Michigan would limit law enforcement’s ability to take ownership of cash and other property in drug cases that don’t result in convictions.
The Senate voted 36-2 Wednesday, sending the bill to the House. It was the first vote on a bill by either chamber this year, though the Republican-led House last week passed a resolution rejecting an environmental order issued by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The Senate measure would prohibit prosecutors from permanently confiscating assets thought to be associated with drug crimes unless a defendant is convicted, has entered into a plea agreement, no one claims any interest in the property or the owner relinquishes it. The measure would not apply in seizures of property and currency worth more than $50,000, excluding the value of contraband.