Written by Robert Andretz
This important decision provides renewed momentum into the fight against civil forfeiture actions involving doctors accused of improperly prescribing controlled substances. The Excessive Fines Clause now covers doctors in both the Federal and State courts.
Supreme Court Result
The United States Supreme Court’s landmark 9-0 decision in Timbs v. Indiana gives new hope to doctors who have been facing the civil forfeiture of assets that took them a lifetime to earn. In Timbs, the State sought civil forfeiture of property valued at more than four times the maximum monetary fine that could even be assessed for a criminal drug conviction. The Indiana Supreme Court held that the Excessive Fines Clause applied only to federal action and was inapplicable to the individual States. However, the United States Supreme Court vacated that decision and unequivocally held that the protections of the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause also apply to the States under the Fourteenth Amendment.
This important decision breathes new life into the fight against civil forfeiture actions involving doctors accused of improperly prescribing controlled substances. The United States Supreme Court had already ruled years ago in Austin v. United States that civil in rem forfeitures in the federal context fall within the protection of the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause when they are at least partially punitive. This new decision in Timbs extends that protection to State civil in rem forfeitures. In light of this groundbreaking decision, the argument can now be made that the civil forfeiture of an excessive amount of a doctor’s assets amounts to nothing more than an unconstitutionally excessive punitive fine.
For the full United States, Supreme Court ruling Click Here
We Can Help
If you are a doctor facing a civil forfeiture action in a state or federal court, act right away to protect your hard-earned assets by calling the Chapman Law Group now.