Now we have dealt with plenty of extreme fines instances on behalf of purchasers who’ve had their property seized, or threatened to be seized by the federal government. For some background on this, see our weblog posts right here and right here.
The US Structure gives that extreme bail shall not be required, nor extreme fines imposed, nor merciless and strange punishments inflicted. U.S. Const., Amdt. eight. The Extreme Fines Clause “limits the federal government’s energy to extract funds, whether or not in money or in sort, ‘as punishment for some offense.’” Austin v. United States, 509 U.S. 602, 609-10 (1993). That constitutional safety applies in hashish instances, identical to in all places else.
On Wednesday, america Supreme Court docket heard oral arguments within the case of Timbs v. Indiana relating to whether or not the Eighth Modification’s Extreme Fines Clause is included towards the States below the Fourteenth Modification. The case includes the forfeiture of petitioner’s land rover as punishment for promoting heroin. The Indiana Court docket of Attraction held that the forfeiture of the land rover was grossly disproportionate to the gravity of the offense. The Indiana Supreme Court docket reversed and concluded that as a result of states should not topic to the Extreme Fines Clause, the forfeiture was not unconstitutional.
The anticipated final result is that america Supreme Court docket will apply the Extreme Fines Clause towards the states. The Timbs choice could have nationwide impacts for these accused of drug crimes and different offenses, and shall be an essential verify on the federal government’s energy to intervene with non-public property. That might be nice information for the hashish business.
As said within the petitioner’s opening transient:
“The correct to be free from extreme fines is elementary and applies to the States. The facility to high quality is—and has all the time been—a formidable one. And in contrast to each different type of punishment, fines and forfeitures are a income for the federal government, making them uniquely liable to abuse. The accompanying threat to life, liberty, and property may be very actual. “[I]n a free authorities,” in any case, “virtually all different rights would turn out to be totally nugatory, if the federal government possessed an uncontrollable energy over the non-public fortune of each citizen.” three Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Structure of america § 1784, 661 (1833).”
It’s a compelling argument, and you’ll learn the complete transient right here.
We shall be monitoring this case and can present an replace as soon as the choice is printed.