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THIS MORNING: AG Nessel Testifying on Victims' Privacy, Organized Retail Crime Bills

LANSING - This morning Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will testify before the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety in support of three bills - House Bills (HBs) 4798 and 4974 and Senate Bill (SB) 691. 

The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. and can be streamed on Senate TV

SB 691 would add Organized Retail Crime to Michigan's Racketeering Statute, which Nessel supports in order to give law enforcement more resources to effectively combat and contain this growing problem. 

A portion of the AG's prepared remarks state: "We have all seen the news stories lately of the organized retail theft. A flash mob that swarms a store, overwhelming store employees, grabbing anything that isn't tied down, and escaping with tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise, often in full view of surveillance cameras, so it can be broadcast on the nightly news. It has happened all over the country. But Organized Retail Crime is more pervasive that that. Organized Retail Crime is not just an isolated shoplifting by someone who just wants the newest iPhone, but the large-scale theft of retail merchandise with the intent to resell the merchandise for financial gain." 

HBs 4798 and 4974 address safety concerns created last year when the Michigan Court of Appeals issued a decision in People of the State of Michigan v. Ricky Dale Jack. The ruling holds that a prosecutor must provide the addresses and telephone numbers of victims and witnesses when turning over discovery under the Michigan Court Rules. In September, Nessel provided testimony before the Michigan House Judiciary Committee in support of the bills. The House passed the legislation at the beginning of December, prompting the bills' move to the Senate Judiciary. 

"Above all else, the purpose of our laws is to protect the safety and security of victims," Nessel said. "I recognize there is a delicate balance between that protection and the due process rights of defendants, and believe these bills properly support both. I am hopeful the Senate will join their colleagues in the House and send these bills to the Governor's desk." 

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