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TRENTON, NJ – Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey (AFP-NJ) issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling Wednesday that the Constitution’s prohibition on excessive fines applies to state and local governments, potentially limiting their ability to impose overly harsh fines and seize property from individuals who haven’t been charged with a crime.
Erica Jedynak, New Jersey State Director of Americans for Prosperity released the following statement:
“In unanimous fashion, the Supreme Court has rightly declared that states cannot continue violating the constitution by saddling people with excessive fines that go far beyond what appropriate punishment looks like. Hopefully, this brings an end to the days of our government being able to unjustly seize private property without even charging someone with a crime. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ isn’t a loophole in the law – it’s the very bedrock of the American justice system. It’s time for New Jersey to abolish civil asset forfeiture and honor the constitutionally-protected rights of its people.”
The defendant in Timbs v Indiana, Tyson Timbs, argued that, by seizing his $42,000 Land Rover as part of an arrest for a drug sale of less than $250, Indiana law enforcement levied an excessive fine against him since the value of his car far exceeded the maximum fine he would have faced as a punishment for his arrest.
Today, the Supreme Court agreed that the 8th amendment ban on excessive fines, like the one imposed on Timbs, should be incorporated by states. To learn more about the case, click here.
In September, Americans for Prosperity signed an joined a diverse group of national and state groups in signing the Drug Policy Alliance’s amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court case Timbs v Indiana. To learn more, please click here.