Ninth Circuit rules Los Angeles’ $63 parking meter fine not ‘excessive’ under Eighth Amendment

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that the Los Angeles $63 expired parking meter fine is not an “excessive fine” with the meaning of the US Eight Amendment (“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”) but remanded the case to the lower court for further consideration.

Under the Los Angeles ordinance, individuals who park beyond their allotted time limit, forcing people to drive in search of other parking spaces, must pay a $63 fine. Any individual who fails to pay the fine within 21 days has to pay an additional late-payment penalty of $63.

The suit, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenged the parking ordinance. The district court granted summary judgment to the city and ruled that the fines were not “grossly disproportional” to the underlying offense, and therefore did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause.