US Supreme Court Weighs in on Civil Forfeiture and Protection from Excessive Fines

US Supreme Court Weighs in on Civil Forfeiture and Protection from Excessive Fines
court, munns, exceive, supreme, fines, indiana, legal, clause, land, trial

The State of Indiana thereafter brought a civil suit for forfeiture of the defendant’s Land Rover, charging that the Land Rover had been used to transport heroin.  The trial court denied the requested forfeiture, finding that the cost of the vehicle was more than four (4) times the maximum $10,000 monetary fine assessable against the defendant for his drug conviction.  The trial court concluded that forfeiture of the Land Rover would be grossly disproportionate to the gravity of the defendant’s offense, thereby being unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause.  While the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed.  In doing so, the Indiana Supreme Court did not decide whether the forfeiture would be excessive but rather held that the Excessive Fines Clause restrains only federal action and is inapplicable to states.

In reversing the Indiana Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause to protect against excessively punitive economic sanctions; consequently, when a Bill of Right protection is incorporated, the protection applies identically to both the federal government and state government, including a state’s subdivisions like counties and cities.  The U.S. Supreme Court further held that civil in rem forfeitures fall within the Excessive Fines Clause’s protection when the forfeitures are at least partially punitive.

The United States Supreme Court concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause to protect against excessively punitive economic sanctions…

If you have been arrested and your property has been seized, please know that Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A. can help you.  Matt Boomershine is an experienced criminal trial attorney who is available to help you fight to recovery your property.

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To consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer today, call 855-686-6752

– For more information, call Andrew Lannon of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 407.578.9696, where he practices in the areas of code enforcement, land use, and business litigation. He is a 6-time Florida Trend Legal Elite designee and winner of the Albert Nelson Marquis 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Mr. Lannon can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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