Supreme Court Rules on Landmark Civil Forfeiture Case
Updated On: Feb 22, 2019

February 20, 2019:  The Supreme Court ruled on a case that will affect civil forfeitures.  In Timbs v. Indiana the defendant's $42,000 Land Rover was seized by law enforcement in civil forfeiture as part of the defendant's arrest for selling $225 of heroin.  Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits "excessive fines," can be used to analyze whether a civil forfeiture by state law enforcement is excessive relative to the crime.  It does not prohibit civil forfeiture entirely but will open it to further scrutiny.  Additional cases will likely be needed to determine what is considered "excessive."

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By Robert Costic

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