On Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it’s unconstitutional for states to steal people’s cars. That’s a great step forward in cracking down on civil asset forfeiture and the practice of states and cities seizing personal property as a means to raise money.
The decision is a victory for Tyson Timbs, an Indiana man who had been fighting the state to get his $42,000 Land Rover SUV back after it was seized during his arrest. He had purchased the vehicle with the proceeds from an insurance policy he received after his father’s death.
Nonetheless, the state thought that his guilty plea to selling a few hundred dollars in heroin to undercover police officers entitled them to the vehicle on the grounds that he had used it to transport drugs. As the Supreme Court explained, however, the forfeiture of the vehicle amounted to “more than four times the maximum $10,000 monetary fine assessable against Timbs for his drug conviction.” more here