SCOTUS: Excessive Fines Ban Applies to State Governments

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision potentially limiting states' civil forfeiture power.

The case of Timbs v. Indiana presented the issue of whether the ban against excessive fines in the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to state governments. (586 U. S. ____ (2019).) In the case, the government of Indiana wanted to keep the defendant's $42,000 Land Rover even though the maximum fine for his conviction was $10,000. The U.S. Supreme Court didn't decide whether forfeiture of the vehicle was okay in the case at hand, but it did determine that the excessive fines prohibition applies to the states (not just the federal government).

For more on the case, read about criminal sentencing.

Effective date: February 20, 2019