Can a state impose any fine on someone, no matter how outrageous?
Or does the U.S. Constitution prohibit states and local governments from imposing excessive fines and fees, just as it does with the federal government?
These are the questions that arise out of Timbs v. Indiana, a case the Institute for Justice is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case shines a spotlight on the excessive fines and fees often imposed by governments, and showcases yet another example of the inevitable abuse of power that results when government employs civil forfeiture, a process through which police and prosecutors seize someone’s property and keep the proceeds for themselves, thus giving law enforcement an incentive to maximize profits rather than seek the neutral administration of justice.
Civil forfeiture laws pose some of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation today, too often making it easy and lucrative for law enforcement to take and keep property—regardless of the owner’s guilt or innocence. This updated and expanded second edition of Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture makes the…