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Supreme Court weighs constitutional case on excessive fines

November 28, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking up the case of an Indiana man who says the Constitution should have barred local authorities from seizing his $40,000 Land Rover after his arrest for selling less than $400 in heroin to undercover officers.

The court is hearing arguments Wednesday in the case of Tyson Timbs, of Marion. A judge ruled that taking the car was disproportionate to the severity of the crime, which carries a maximum fine of $10,000.

But Indiana’s top court said the justices have never ruled on whether the Eighth Amendment’s ban on excessive fines — like much of the rest of the Bill of Rights — applies to states.

The case has drawn interest from liberal and conservative groups that oppose excessive civil penalties.

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