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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Supreme Court strikes blow against states that raise revenue by hefty fines, forfeitu

    Supreme Court strikes blow against states that raise revenue by hefty fines, forfeitures

    Richard Wolf, USA TODAY
    Published 10:17 a.m. ET Feb. 20, 2019 | Updated 11:45 a.m. ET Feb. 20, 2019


    Tyson Timbs' case against Indiana over the seizure of his Land Rover went all the way to the Supreme Court. (Photo11: Jenna Watson, AP)


    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that state governments cannot impose excessive court fees, fines and forfeitures as a means of raising money.

    The decision, which united the court's conservatives and liberals, makes clear that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "excessive fines" applies to the states.


    Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just back in court after lung cancer surgery, wrote the majority opinion and announced it from the bench.


    "The protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority," Ginsburg wrote. Quoting in part from the court's 2010 ruling that Second Amendment gun rights apply to the states, she said, "This safeguard, we hold, is 'fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty.'"


    It was a victory for Tyson Timbs, who sold less than $400 worth of heroin to undercover police officers in 2013.

    Upon conviction, Indiana seized his Land Rover, which he had purchased for more than $42,000.


    War or Peace: Does a 40-foot Latin cross honoring World War I veterans violate the Constitution? The Supreme Court will decide.


    Liberals and libertarians alike have groused for years about what they see as increasingly greedy governments. A study by Harvard University and the National Institute of Justice found that some 10 million people owe more than $50 billion as a result of the fines, fees and forfeitures.


    Many of the fines and forfeitures eventually are contested and reduced. But the court's ruling could cut down on their imposition in the first place.

    State and local governments increasingly use funds collected in criminal and civil cases to pay for municipal services. The 100 cities with the highest proportion of revenue from fines and fees in 2012 financed between 7 percent and 30 percent of their budgets that way, according to the Americal Civil Liberties Union.

    The practice often leads low-income defendants further into poverty, crime, prison and recidivism, the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center and libertarian Cato Institute argued in court papers. The American Bar Association noted that nearly two-thirds of prisoners have little prospect of paying the fines and fees after their release.


    Timbs' conviction resulted in a year's home detention, five years' probation and about $1,200 in fees. But it was the seizure of his SUV, purchased with life insurance proceeds after his father's death, that led to the lawsuit.

    The 2012 Land Rover LR2 is even a named plaintiff.


    The seizure was defended by several national municipal groups. They argued in court papers that the vehicle was used in heroin trafficking that could have generated hefty profits, and that its forfeiture properly left Timbs without the ride he needed for his craft.


    The case came to the Supreme Court from Indiana's highest court, which ruled that the excessive fines clause doesn't apply to the states. It represents the latest effort to determine what portions of the Bill of Rights apply to the states.


    Most rights, such as the Second Amendment's right to bear arms for self-defense, have been extended. But the right to a unanimous jury verdict under the Sixth Amendment has not.


    Ginsburg noted that other elements of the Eighth Amendment already are applicable to the states. The amendment states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...es/2919411002/

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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    "Strike a BLOW against state governments" who are harboring, aiding and abetting illegal aliens and Strike a BLOW against those Judges who are releasing them into our communities!

    The States cannot disregard our Federal Immigration & Visa Laws!!!

    Start prosecuting the Governor's and Mayor's who are awarding illegal aliens OUR taxpayer funded benefits including medical care, school, welfare, food stamps, Section 8 housing, drivers licenses, taxpayer funded lawyers and ALL taxpayer funded assistance using OUR money!
    TO BECOME AN AMERICAN YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR VALUES ...NOT YOUR LOCATION

    STAY HOME AND BUILD AMERICA ON YOUR SOIL

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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