The future of civil asset forfeiture law in the United States now revolves around a single car: Indiana resident Tyson Timbs’ $42,000 Land Rover. It’s a nice ride. So nice, in fact, that Timbs argues his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment were violated when the state seized it in 2015 after Timbs was arrested for selling heroin to two undercover cops. The SUV, which Timbs did not purchase with drug money, is worth four times the maximum fine for the crime he committed, a “grossly disproportionate” penalty, a lower state court found.
The Indiana Supreme Court, however, ruled that the Eighth Amendment had yet to be applied to the states, unlike much of the rest of the Bill of Rights. So Timbs took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he found a more receptive audience.