Criminal justice changes continue to move through state Legislature

Apr 19, 2019

Lawmakers at the state Capitol have made changing the state’s criminal justice system a priority this session.

Two packages of bills are close to the governor’s desk – with crucial votes taking place earlier this week.

One would raise the age for when a person is automatically considered an adult for certain crimes from 17 to 18.

Another would change the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws.

Democratic Representative David LaGrand is a bill sponsor for civil asset forfeiture. He says the legislation is aimed at preventing police from taking small amounts of property without a high level of evidence.

Rep. David LaGrand, (D) Grand Rapids

“We have low level takings that people don’t fight because of the cost of getting a lawyer to fight them. And so we can’t really sort between who was a drug dealer and who just happened to have 300 dollars in their pocket.”

LaGrand says the Legislature also plans to work on changes to the state’s law for removing convictions from people’s records.