More good news.
At issue was the important question of whether the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause applied to the states and whether the excessive fines clause applied to a practice called in rem civil-asset forfeiture. Under this practice, law-enforcement officials often engage in two separate punitive legal processes against criminal defendants. The first is the criminal prosecution itself, which can impose prison sentences and fines according to statutorily defined punishments. The second is often a civil action against the criminal defendant’s property. Yes, the government will file suit against trucks, cars, jewelry, boats, and cash — leading to absurd case captions like, say, Texas v. One Gold Crucifix — claiming that the property was used for criminal purposes and then seize that property under a lower, civil, burden of proof.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, civil-asset forfeiture now faces a new and substantial constitutional obstacle. I particularly liked how Justice Ginsburg traced objections to the excessive fines all the way back to the Magna Carta:
PD's around the country have abused this over and over for profit. I'm happy to see it being addressed. I'm also happy that Ruth is doing better.