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Supreme Court Declares Ban on Excessive Fines Applies to States

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    The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits states from infringing on a citizens 8th Amendment right against excessive fines. I know that's a bit of a tongue twister, but this ruling will have a profound effect on police departments ability to seize private property under a program called asset forfeiture.

    It's hard to overstate how big of a ruling this is. While the ruling didn't explicitly prohibit civil asset forfeiture, it placed major restrictions on when and how it may be used and is a very important first step towards ending it entirely.

    That will be tremendous news for anyone who gets pulled over by police for a routine traffic stop only to have their entire life turned upside down after police search the car and find a small amount of marijuana. Or for anyone who gets stopped by police when they happen to have a large amount of cash on them, even if it's for entirely legal reasons. There are countless stories of people getting stopped by the police on routine stops only to have all of their cash and automobiles seized even though they weren't charged with any crime. Hopefully this ruling will begin to right all the terrible wrongs civil asset forfeiture has put people through.