Does a New Supreme Court Ruling Mean Police Can No Longer Use Asset Forfeiture to Enrich their Departments

The Supreme Court affirmed that fines may not be excessive, and noted that states are currently using excessive fines for improper purposes, including raising revenue.

It did not expressly address the issue of fines-for-raising-revenue in this case because it was not before it—rather, the court said that fines may not be excessive, and noted that there is good reason to be concerned that fines sometimes are excessive because of the perverse incentives that exist to use fines as revenue-generators.

I’d thus characterize it as the Supreme Court affirming fines cannot be excessive, and putting jurisdictions on notice that if they are using fines to generate revenue, they are likely to have a constitutional problem.