You can’t fight city hall, the saying goes, but you apparently can fight the state of Indiana in the U.S. Supreme Court and win. That’s what former addict Tyson Timbs learned today, after the Court returned a unanimous decision that overturned a ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court.
It seems the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause does apply to individual states. The fight that began over a seized $42,000 Land Rover led to a victory for those fearing financial ruin from sky-high fees, fines, and asset seizures.
Will the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause soon keep you safe from sticky-fingered state governments or local law enforcement? Right now, it doesn’t, but one man’s desire to get his hands on a seized SUV might change that.
If it rules in favor of an Indiana man seeking the return of his 2012 Land Rover LR2, the U.S. Supreme Court will extend this section of the amendment to the state level. Civil asset forfeiture could cease being as serious an issue as it is today.
When a police cruiser lights up behind you, a driver usually fears two things: a costly speeding ticket, or a roadside breathalyzer test.
The driver probably isn’t worrying about having the contents of his or her bank account seized, followed by a long and possibly fruitless journey to recoup their lost cash, but that’s the power local law enforcement has over its citizens.
And technology is now making it easier to use that power more and more often.