Public Health Code amended to eliminate forfeiture bond requirements
Public Act 418 of 2016 amended MCL 333.7523(1)(c) of the Public Health Code to eliminate the requirement that a person post a cash bond in order to file a written claim expressing an interest in property that is the subject of a forfeiture notice required by MCL 333.7523(1)(a). All other provisions in MCL 333.7523(1)(c) were unchanged.
Officers are reminded that the written claim must be signed by the claimant and must be filed within 20 days after receipt of the forfeiture notice or of the date of the first publication of the forfeiture notice with the local unit of government that seized the property or the state, if the property was seized by the state.
Act No. 418
Public Acts of 2016
Approved by the Governor
January 3, 2017
Filed with the Secretary of State
January 4, 2017
EFFECTIVE DATE: April 4, 2017
STATE OF MICHIGAN
REGULAR SESSION OF 2016
Introduced by Rep. Lucido
ENROLLED HOUSE BILL No. 4629
AN ACT to amend 1978 PA 368, entitled “An act to protect and promote the public health; to codify, revise, consolidate, classify, and add to the laws relating to public health; to provide for the prevention and control of diseases and disabilities; to provide for the classification, administration, regulation, financing, and maintenance of personal, environmental, and other health services and activities; to create or continue, and prescribe the powers and duties of, departments, boards, commissions, councils, committees, task forces, and other agencies; to prescribe the powers and duties of governmental entities and officials; to regulate occupations, facilities, and agencies affecting the public health; to regulate health maintenance organizations and certain third party administrators and insurers; to provide for the imposition of a regulatory fee; to provide for the levy of taxes against certain health facilities or agencies; to promote the efficient and economical delivery of health care services, to provide for the appropriate utilization of health care facilities and services, and to provide for the closure of hospitals or consolidation of hospitals or services; to provide for the collection and use of data and information; to provide for the transfer of property; to provide certain immunity from liability; to regulate and prohibit the sale and offering for sale of drug paraphernalia under certain circumstances; to provide for the implementation of federal law; to provide for penalties and remedies; to provide for sanctions for violations of this act and local ordinances; to provide for an appropriation and supplements; to repeal certain acts and parts of acts; to repeal certain parts of this act; and to repeal certain parts of this act on specific dates,” by amending sections 7523 and 7524 (MCL 333.7523 and 333.7524), section 7523 as amended by 2006 PA 130 and section 7524 as amended by 2011 PA 161.
The People of the State of Michigan enact:
Sec. 7523. (1) If property is seized under section 7522, forfeiture proceedings shall be instituted promptly. If the property is seized without process under section 7522, and the total value of the property seized does not exceed $50,000.00, the following procedure shall be used:
(a) The local unit of government that seized the property or, if the property was seized by this state, the state shall notify the owner of the property that the property has been seized, and that the local unit of government or, if applicable, the state intends to forfeit and dispose of the property by delivering a written notice to the owner of the property or by sending the notice to the owner by certified mail. If the name and address of the owner are not reasonably ascertainable, or delivery of the notice cannot be reasonably accomplished, the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property was seized, for 10 successive publishing days.
(b) Unless all criminal proceedings involving or relating to the property have been completed, the seizing agency shall immediately notify the prosecuting attorney for the county in which the property was seized or, if the attorney general is actively handling a case involving or relating to the property, the attorney general of the seizure of the property and the intention to forfeit and dispose of the property.
(c) Any person claiming an interest in property that is the subject of a notice under subdivision (a) may, within 20 days after receipt of the notice or of the date of the first publication of the notice, file a written claim signed by the claimant with the local unit of government or the state expressing his or her interest in the property. Upon the filing of the claim, the local unit of government or, if applicable, this state shall transmit the claim with a list and description of the property seized to the attorney general, the prosecuting attorney for the county, or the city or township attorney for the local unit of government in which the seizure was made. The attorney general, the prosecuting attorney, or the city or township attorney shall promptly institute forfeiture proceedings after the expiration of the 20-day period. However, unless all criminal proceedings involving or relating to the property have been completed, a city or township attorney shall not institute forfeiture proceedings without the consent of the prosecuting attorney or, if the attorney general is actively handling a case involving or relating to the property, the attorney general.
(d) If no claim is filed within the 20-day period as described in subdivision (c), the local unit of government or this state shall declare the property forfeited and shall dispose of the property as provided under section 7524. However, unless all criminal proceedings involving or relating to the property have been completed, the local unit of government or the state shall not dispose of the property under this subdivision without the written consent of the prosecuting attorney or, if the attorney general is actively handling a case involving or relating to the property, the attorney general.
(2) Property taken or detained under this article is not subject to an action to recover personal property, but is deemed to be in the custody of the seizing agency subject only to this section or an order and judgment of the court having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceedings. When property is seized under this article, the seizing agency may do any of the following:
(a) Place the property under seal.
(b) Remove the property to a place designated by the court.
(c) Require the administrator to take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location for disposition in accordance with law.
(d) Deposit money seized under this article into an interest-bearing account in a financial institution. As used in this subdivision, “financial institution” means a state or nationally chartered bank or a state or federally chartered savings and loan association, savings bank, or credit union whose deposits are insured by an agency of the United States government and that maintains a principal office or branch office located in this state under the laws of this state or the United States.
(3) Title to real property forfeited under this article shall be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction. A forfeiture of real property encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to the interest of the secured party who neither had knowledge of nor consented to the act or omission.
(4) An attorney for a person who is charged with a crime involving or related to the money seized under this article shall be afforded a period of 60 days within which to examine that money. This 60-day period begins to run after notice is given under subsection (1)(a) but before the money is deposited into a financial institution under subsection (2)(d). If the attorney general, prosecuting attorney, or city or township attorney fails to sustain his or her burden of proof in forfeiture proceedings under this article, the court shall order the return of the money, including any interest earned on money deposited into a financial institution under subsection (2)(d).
Sec. 7524. (1) When property is forfeited under this article, the local unit of government that seized the property may do any of the following, or if the property is seized by or in the custody of this state, the state may do any of the following, subject to section 7523(1)(d):
(a) Retain the property for official use.
(b) Sell the property that is not required to be destroyed by law and that is not harmful to the public. The proceeds and any money, negotiable instruments, securities, or any other thing of value as described in section 7521(1)(f) that are forfeited under this article shall be deposited with the treasurer of the entity having budgetary authority over the seizing agency and applied as follows:
(i) For the payment of proper expenses of the proceedings for forfeiture and sale, including expenses incurred during the seizure process, maintenance of custody, advertising, and court costs, except as otherwise provided in subsection (4).
(ii) The balance remaining after the payment of expenses shall be distributed by the court having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceedings to the treasurer of the entity having budgetary authority over the seizing agency. If more than 1 agency was substantially involved in effecting the forfeiture, the court having jurisdiction over the forfeiture proceeding shall equitably distribute the money among the treasurers of the entities having budgetary authority over the seizing agencies. A seizing agency may direct that the funds or a portion of the funds it would otherwise have received under this subsection be paid to nonprofit organizations whose primary activity is to assist law enforcement agencies with drug-related criminal investigations and obtaining information for solving crimes. The money received by a seizing agency under this subparagraph and all interest and other earnings on money received by the seizing agency under this subparagraph shall be used only for law enforcement purposes, as appropriated by the entity having budgetary authority over the seizing agency. A distribution made under this subparagraph shall serve as a supplement to, and not a replacement for, funds otherwise budgeted for law enforcement purposes.
(c) Require the administrator to take custody of the property and remove it for disposition in accordance with law.
(d) Forward it to the bureau for disposition.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), this state or local units of government may donate lights for plant growth or scales forfeited under this article to elementary or secondary schools or institutions of higher education that request in writing to receive those lights or scales under this subsection, for educational purposes. This state or local units of government shall donate lights and scales under this subsection to elementary or secondary schools or institutions of higher education in the order in which the written requests are received. This state or local units of government may limit the number of lights and scales available to each requestor.
(3) In the course of selling real property under subsection (1)(b), the court that has entered an order of forfeiture may, on motion of the agency to whom the property has been forfeited, appoint a receiver to dispose of the real property forfeited. The receiver is entitled to reasonable compensation. The receiver has authority to do all of the following:
(a) List the forfeited real property for sale.
(b) Make whatever arrangements are necessary for the maintenance and preservation of the forfeited real property.
(c) Accept offers to purchase the forfeited real property.
(d) Execute instruments transferring title to the forfeited real property.
(4) If a court enters an order of forfeiture, the court may order a person who claimed an interest in the forfeited property under section 7523(1)(c) to pay the expenses of the proceedings of forfeiture to the entity having budgetary authority over the seizing agency.
Enacting section 1. This amendatory act takes effect 90 days after the date it is enacted into law.
This act is ordered to take immediate effect.
Clerk of the House of Representatives
Secretary of the Senate