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Court: Constitutional ban on high fines applies to states

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is ruling unanimously that the Constitution’s ban on excessive fines applies to the states. The outcome Wednesday could help an Indiana man recover the $40,000 Land Rover police seized when they arrested him for selling about $400 worth of heroin.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the court’s opinion in favor of Tyson Timbs, of Marion, Indiana. The ruling also could buttress efforts to limit the confiscation by local law enforcement of property belonging to someone suspected of a crime. Police and prosecutors often keep the proceeds.

Ginsburg read a summary of her opinion from the bench. She missed arguments last month, but returned to the bench Tuesday.

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