The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that states cannot impose excessive fees, fines and forfeitures as criminal penalties.
You may recall earlier in this thread a vid or two about the cops doing this shit.
The decision, which united the court's conservatives and liberals, makes clear that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against "excessive fines" applies to states and localities as well as the federal government.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just back in court this week after lung cancer surgery, wrote the majority opinion and announced it from the bench.
"The protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal law-enforcement authority," Ginsburg wrote. Quoting in part from the court's ruling in 2010 that Second Amendment gun rights apply to the states, she said, "This safeguard, we hold, is 'fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty.' "https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/2919411002
Liberals and libertarians alike have groused for years about what they see as increasingly greedy governments. A study by Harvard University and the National Institute of Justice found that about 10 million people owe more than $50 billion as a result of the fines, fees and forfState and local governments increasingly use funds collected in criminal and civil cases to pay for municipal services. The 100 cities with the highest proportion of revenue from fines and fees in 2012 financed 7 percent to 30 percent of their budgets that way, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Imposing monetary penalties that bury people under mountains of accumulating debt has devastating consequences on individuals, families and entire communities, particularly low-income communities of color,” said Nusrat Choudhury, deputy director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program.
The practice often leads low-income defendants further into poverty, crime, prison and recidivism, the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center and libertarian Cato Institute argued in court papers. The American Bar Association noted that nearly two-thirds of prisoners have little prospect of paying the fines and fees after their release.
This probably means we can’t steal el chapo’s money now but it’s a small price to pay.
Fuck the pigs!