Civil forfeiture discussed at Constitution Day event

Clark Neily, vice president of criminal justice of the Cato Institute, will join a Friday, Sept. 15 panel discussion at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus on the constitutionality of civil forfeiture.

The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.

Joining Neily will be Daniel Lemisch, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren will make closing remarks.

Earlier this year, the federal government strengthened the controversial process of civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to take assets from persons suspected of criminal activity without issuing criminal charges against the asset owners.

The event is scheduled from noon to 2 pm. in room 145 of WMU-Cooley Law School’s Auburn Hills campus, 2630 Featherstone Road.

It is hosted by the WMU-Cooley Auburn Hills chapter of the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies and is free and open to the public.

WMU-Cooley Auburn Hills is producing the event as part of the law school’s annual Constitution Day activities, which are held at each of the law school’s four campuses.

Neily is a well-known litigator and public speaker and, during his career, has challenged the government for unconstitutional incursions on the rights of individuals.

He leads Cato’s efforts on criminal justice issues and related topics.

Neily spent four years in the trial department of the Dallas law firm Thompson and Knight before joining the Institute for Justice. He also clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, District of Columbia.

Lemisch is the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. He previously served as the first assistant, chief of the criminal division and was a deputy chief of the controlled substance unit.

Lemisch also provides international assistance on behalf of the Department of Justice on trial advocacy, public corruption and criminal procedure code reform.

Before joining the Department of Justice, Lemisch was a trial lawyer and chief of appeals at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office in Pontiac.

Warren has served on the Oakland County circuit court bench since 2002.

Individuals interested in attending should email