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ARLINGTON, Va. – Americans for Prosperity 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.
Americans for Prosperity Policy Manager David Barnes had this to say:
“Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision sends a clear message that government should not be in the business of violating people’s constitutionally-protected civil liberties. Excessive fines, which civil asset forfeiture laws allow for, have no place in a justice system rooted in the principle that a punishment should fit the crime. Moreover, allowing government to seize property from citizens without first charging them tramples on the Bill of Rights-enshrined notion that people are innocent until proven guilty. We hope today’s ruling leads to important criminal justice changes that restore personal property rights, due process, and the presumption of innocence for all Americans.”
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.
For further information or to set up an interview, please send an email to GBraud@afphq.org.
Through broad-based grassroots outreach, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is driving long-term solutions to the country’s biggest problems. AFP activists engage friends and neighbors on key issues and encourage them to take an active role in building a culture of mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping one another. AFP recruits and unites activists in 35 states behind a common goal of advancing policies that will help people improve their lives. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org