State Rep. Jeff Irwin wants to curb forfeiture abuses
Published: September 5, 2012
"It seeds more forfeitures," Irwin says. "Teams of agents who perform these raids, their future funding is dependent on their success in asset forfeiture revenue. These drug interdiction forces that do the raids and seize the assets, there's a built-in perverse incentive for those agents to be even more aggressive and continue because it funds their operations."
When Irwin does submit his legislation, cannabis activists in Michigan plan an information campaign in support of it. Michigan Moms United to End the War on Drugs (MMU) is one group that has been working with Irwin to craft the legislation. "We want to restore right relations between communities and law enforcement," says MMU cofounder Charmie Gholson.
It is indeed a perverse situation that is about as undemocratic as you can get. Which makes one of the beneficiaries of asset forfeitures a very odd connection. The 2010 state police report on forfeitures details that, "In 2009, seizing agencies donated 237 plant growth lights and 274 scales with a combined estimated value of $38,770 to 34 elementary and secondary schools."
Note that the report refers to "seizing agencies" rather than law enforcement agencies. That's a heck of a civics lesson right there.
Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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