For the third time in almost eight years, the Indiana Supreme Court is hearing a case on whether police in Grant County have the authority to seize a man’s vehicle after an arrest for selling heroin.
In 2013, police seized Tyson Timbs’s $35,000 Land Rover after he was arrested for selling heroin to an undercover officer in Marion. Timbs pleaded guilty to the drug charge, but prosecutors refused to return his vehicle because it was used in commission of a felony.
Timbs had used money from a life insurance policy to purchase the vehicle. He appealed to the Supreme Court under the Eighth Amendment, which has a clause banning excessive fines and seizures.
The high court directed the State Supreme Court to define the standards of excessive forfeiture.
“They didn’t decide whether forfeiting Tyson’s car violates the excessive fines clause, instead they kind of did what the U.S. Supreme Court did, and said we’ve announced the legal standard here, now we are sending it back to the trial judge in Marion,” said Timbs’s attorney Sam Gedge.
The trial judge ordered the return of Timbs’ vehicle in May 2020.
However, on Feb. 4 , the State Attorney General’s Office appealed the lower judge’s ruling. The State Supreme Court has not said when it will issue a ruling.