The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

It’s time for the Supreme Court to end asset forfeiture

Tyson Timbs, an Indiana man desperate for money to support his heroin habit, did exactly what the undercover cops asked him to do: sell them 4 grams of the drug in two transactions for a total of $385. His reward was a year of home detention, five years of probation and $1,200 in court-ordered fees.

Adding insult to injury, police seized the 2012 Land Rover that Timbs had bought with $42,000 from his father’s life-insurance payout. In a case that could lead to limits on the system of legalized theft known as civil asset forfeiture, the Supreme Court is considering whether Timbs can challenge the confiscation of his car as a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on “excessive fines.”

An Indiana judge rejected the forfeiture on that basis, deeming it “grossly disproportional to the gravity of [Timbs’] offense.” A state appeals court agreed, noting that Timbs’ car cost four times the maximum fine for his drug felony.

The Indiana Supreme Court reversed that decision. “The United States Supreme Court has never enforced the Excessive Fines Clause against the States,” it said, “and we opt not to do so here.”



Anonymous said...

This is one of those things that the feds need to dictate to the states. The law is there, just follow it in the way it was meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Get caught growing 1 marijuana plant on your property and you could lose your home and property no matter how valuable. Legal theft.

Anonymous said...

A lot of laws have been intentionally misinterpreted 10:39.

Anonymous said...

The only time asset forfeiture makes sense is if it can be proven that the asset being seized was obtained via illegal proceeds.
Too many law enforcement agencies use the law to meet their budgets.
Just ask Wicomico County.