Civil Asset Forfeiture

State Legislators Reconsider Forfeiture Laws That Turn Cops Into Robbers

As reports of abuse mount, Michigan may join New Mexico and Montana in limiting legalized larceny.


Michigan House of Representatives

Michigan cops seem to have have developed a habit of using forfeiture laws to commit what amounts to armed robbery of medical marijuana patients and caregivers. In my latest Forbes column, I note that state legislators, including the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, have responded to these heists by supporting reforms that would make them harder to pull off:

When the cops raided Ginnifer Hency's home in Smiths Creek, Michigan, last July, "they took everything," she told state legislators on Tuesday, including TV sets, ladders, her children's cellphones and iPads, even her vibrator. They found six ounces of marijuana and arrested Hency for possession with intent to deliver, "even though I was fully compliant with the Michigan medical marijuana laws," which means "I am allowed to possess and deliver." Hency, a mother of four with multiple sclerosis, uses marijuana for pain relief based on her neurologist's recommendation. She also serves as a state-registered caregiver for five other patients.

Hency's compliance with state law explains why a St. Clair County judge last week dismissed the charges against her. But when she asked about getting back her property on Friday, she reported, "The prosecutor came out to me and said, 'Well, I can still beat you in civil court. I can still take your stuff.'" When she heard that, Hency said, "I was at a loss. I literally just sat there dumbfounded."

Hency told her story at a meeting of the Michigan House Judiciary Committee, which was considering several bills that would make this sort of legalized larceny more difficult.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Might as well get tried for murder then. The sentence will be much lighter if convicted.

    1. “Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony.”

      1. Bravo. I read ‘The Prince’ a million years ago – clearly I’m due for a re-read.

  2. Well, yeah, sure, when you parade in front of legislators someone who was victimized by policing for profit. But what about all those batons and battering rams and cappuccino machines law enforcement were able to purchase with the booty that allowed police to go home safe at night?

  3. “The prosecutor came out to me and said, ‘Well, I can still beat you in civil court. I can still take your stuff.'”

    I always expect to read at the end of these stories – “In the week that follwed the prosecutor was found dead and mutilated at the end of a blind alley. Police are still looking for a suspect.” but that never seems to happen.

    1. Because the people they pick on aren’t the types.

  4. State Legislators Reconsider For[f]eiture Laws That Turn Cops Into Robbers

    Wait… Are there any other kind?

  5. even her vibrator.

    You go too far, sir!

    1. I understand Ms. Hency is shaken, not stirred….

  6. If only Hency was black, then NPR would take notice of shit like this.

    1. And it wouldn’t matter a single fucking whit, because they’d play up the racial angle rather than the forfeiture angle and nothing else would happen.

      1. Yeah, but at least you’d get some ear/eyeballs on the story.

        1. I apologize on this actually, I’m not trying to suggest that Reason or Jesse as a guest columnist at Forbes is playing to an empty house.

          Maybe I’ve come to believe that progressives are largely in control of the message, so we need to speak to them on this issue.

          1. *Jacob*

            Sorry, Jacob. My B.

          2. No, I get you. Not to an empty house, but certainly to the choir. But that’s the problem with progressivism, their compassion is a mile-wide and an inch deep.

  7. I am truly puzzled. What cops are doing this? If she is not breaking Michigan law, who is arresting her?

    1. Anyone who feels like it.

    2. Since when did actual lawbreaking become an excuse to take all your property?

  8. Well, I, as a citizen of the Police State of Michigan, am glad that our brave Boys in Blue? are protecting me from drug mutants like Ms. Hency! I have three kids myself. Yeah, they’re 27, 24 and 20…..but WHATEVER. Stranger Danger – don’t need criminals like her turning them on to the Mary Hootchie now.

    So – thanks Michigan Cops!

    *throws up*

  9. This is not hard to solve.

    No property used in connection with an alleged crime may be seized by the state on that basis until after a criminal conviction is obtained.

    The state may freeze assets used in connection with an alleged crime, except for funds used to pay for the defense and ordinary living expenses, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

    There. Fixed. Why is this so fucking hard?

    1. Where’s the juice for the cops?

      That’s why it’s so hard.

    2. “Why is this so fucking hard?”

      Because your fucking hard cock with its shimmering tiny pond of a million semen surfing and ripping currents on your pre-ejaculating holed vagina bomb has more IQ in it than the entire fucking United States government?

      1. *looks at watch*

        It’s a little early to be hittin it, in’t it?

        1. Geez, Paul. Get rid of your fucking watch, you adorable chunk of flesh. Grind your time into a pulp, man. This is a minor request. I’m not asking that you ride infinity into the big bang on a roller coaster create from knotting shit tons of worm holes into a morbid, curvaceous, and curious matter trip.

          1. Get rid of your fucking watch

            Far out, man.

      2. Oh Good! Glad to see you’re okay, Cyborg. I was a teensy bit worried cause it looked like you were on a bad trip last time. But here you are back in fine form!

  10. This demonstrates that the state can be rolled back.

    1. which was considering several bills that would make this sort of legalized larceny more difficult.

      If by ‘rolled back’ you mean given some lipservice to tighter controls and inventory-taking on what we steal, ok.

      So far, I’m wholly unimpressed with most of the CF reform bills we’ve seen.

  11. “The prosecutor came out to me and said, ‘Well, I can still beat you in civil court. I can still take your stuff.'”

    “Bring it, punk. And have fun trying to save your law license from the ethics charges I’m going to bring against you if you try.”

    1. She beat the rap, but she’s not beating the ride.

  12. “The prosecutor came out to me and said, ‘Well, I can still beat you in civil court. I can still take your stuff.'”

    What… turns a presumable genetically human being into someone who can say that?

    1. Is the answer Hitler?

      1. People like to tell themselves that there was something special about hitler, there wasn’t, things just went his way for awhile.

        There are millions of people out there with the same potential.

  13. ” Hency, a mother of four with multiple sclerosis, uses marijuana for pain relief based on her neurologist’s recommendation. She also serves as a state-registered caregiver for five other patients.”

    Do these jackbooted thugs ever wake up in the middle of the night and thing – “wait, am I a good person?”

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