Indiana Argues That the State Should Be Able To Take Everything You Own if You Commit a Drug Crime
In 2013, Tyson Timbs sold drugs to an undercover cop. Suffering from a history of addiction, he relapsed after the death of his father the previous year.
In 2021, the state of Indiana is arguing why it should have the right to steal his car, and the assets of those like him.
The two may seem entirely unrelated. That is because, in many ways, they are. Timbs purchased a $42,000 Land Rover in 2012 with his father’s life insurance payout; the transaction was divorced from any drug offense. But under a practice called civil asset forfeiture, states are permitted to seize property if someone is merely suspected of committing a crime, often even without an indictment. In Indiana, prosecutors may proceed simply with a preponderance of evidence.
Appearing before the Indiana Supreme Court yesterday, the state argued that it was plainly constitutional when they robbed Timbs of his Land Rover in 2013—the third time they have made such an argument before the state’s high court over the last four years.
In May 2020, Timbs reclaimed the car, but only after a legal saga that saw his case ping-pong up and down the rungs of the U.S. court system. Indiana’s high court rejected Timbs’ initial plea, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court had not yet ruled on whether the Eighth Amendment—which protects against excessive fines and fees—app
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