Police in Indians arrested seized Tyson Timb’s for dealing in a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit theft. They seized his Land Rover that he had purchased for $42,000 with money he received from an insurance policy when his father died.Timbs pleaded guilty and the State sought forfeiture of his vehicle, charging that the SUV had been used to transport heroin.
The maximum monetary fine assessable against him for his drug conviction was $10,000 and the trial court denied the State’s request. The vehicle’s forfeiture, the court determined, would be grossly disproportionate to the gravity of Timbs’s offense, and therefore unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause. The Court of Appeals of Indiana affirmed, but the Indiana Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Excessive Fines Clause constrains only federal action and is inapplicable to state impositions.