I am pleased to read that the U.S. Supreme Court has leveled the playing field in state’s and counties’ self-proclaimed entitlement and virtual free reign in enforcing civil and criminal seizure and forfeiture actions.
The unanimous decision penned by Ruth Bader-Ginsburg in Timbs v. Indiana has ruled that state laws fall under the principles and protections of the Eight Amendment, protecting citizens from excessive bail. States have previously, but will no longer be able to successfully argue that the Eighth Amendment only applies to federal actions.
These ill-defined seizure policies can and possibly have led to corruption among local jurisdictions, seeking alternate funding sources for their basic services and expansion projects.
Justice Clarence Thomas aptly stated in a concurring opinion that the system has become “widespread and highly profitable. This system – where police can seize property with limited judicial oversight and retain it for their own use – has led to egregious and well-chronicled abuses.”
Local jurisdictions that have received millions in windfall seizures should be on notice. The extent and magnitude of these funds are now under a high level of scrutiny and may not be a reliable source of revenue for the future.
Gregory Harold, Front Royal