The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and a diverse group of national and state groups filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in Timbs v. Indiana, a case wrestling with issues at the heart of civil asset forfeiture abuse.
Mr. Timbs was arrested during an undercover drug enforcement operation, pled guilty, paid approximately $1,200 in fees, and was sentenced to home detention and probation. Months after his arrest, the state initiated a civil proceeding to forfeit a personal vehicle that he had purchased with the proceeds of his father’s life insurance policy. The trial court in Indiana concluded that the forfeiture was unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause. The Indiana Supreme Court disagreed, stating that the Excessive Fines Clause does not apply to the state, and it reinstated the forfeiture. Mr. Timbs filed a petition for review, and the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
The amicus brief filed by DPA brings together groups across the political spectrum in the call to restrain governmental overreach and abuse of the civil forfeiture program. Signatories to the brief include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, Americans for Prosperity, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, FreedomWorks, Independence Institute (Colorado), Libertas (Utah), Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i, Rio Grande Foundation (New Mexico) and Alabama Appleseed.