For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 8

AND

GPF F

office to handle all of the office's forfeiture suits,
but did not explain its constitutional significance.
It also acknowledged the 4-to-1 ratio of the value
of the vehicle to the maximum fine under Indiana
law but did not explain the significance of that
fact either. Most of the court's analysis was spent
chastising Indiana for arguing that the excessive
fines clause should not apply to civil forfeitures. The
opinion noted that, even if the protection against
excessive fines is not "deeply rooted" with regard
to civil forfeitures, it is still incorporated against the
states, because once a right is incorporated, it is fully
incorporated.
The court missed a good opportunity to provide
additional insight into Indiana's unique practice of
paying private attorneys to bring civil forfeiture
suits on behalf of the local district attorney on a
contingent fee basis, thereby converting forfeiture
into another opportunity for the plaintiff's bar. The
court likewise said nothing about the due process
violation inherent in earmarking a significant part
of the forfeited money for the prosecutor's office, as
Indiana and half of the states do. Marshall v. Jerrico,
Inc., 446 U.S. 238 (1980).

LLC

Timbs involved two legal actions initiated in
Indiana. First, the petitioner, Tyson Timbs, pled
guilty to one count of dealing in a controlled
substance and one count of conspiracy to commit
theft. In a second legal action, the county, through
a private attorney, initiated a civil forfeiture suit
against Timbs's Land Rover SUV, which he had
purchased with proceeds from a life insurance
policy that he received when his father passed.
In the civil forfeiture suit, the government only
charged one drug transaction as the basis to forfeit
the vehicle. The trial court found that there was a
legal basis to forfeit the vehicle, but it determined
that forfeiture of the new vehicle would violate
the excessive fines clause. The trial court noted
that the vehicle cost approximately $42,000, but
the maximum fine under state law for a drug
transaction was $10,000. A ratio of more than 3-to1 often leads courts to find that the forfeiture is
excessive in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Justice Ginsburg's opinion provided no analysis
of these issues. It did mention that the county's
case was prosecuted for personal profit by a
private attorney hired by the district attorney's

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8

For The Defense

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Vol. 4, Issue 2


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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 9
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 10
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 15
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 16
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 20
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 27
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 28
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 31
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 32
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 33
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 35
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 37
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 40
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For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 44
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 45
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 2 - 46
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