This Note presents a brief review of the historical underpinnings of statutory in rem civil forfeiture in American jurisprudence and then examines the relatively recent contributions of United States Supreme Court cases, most notably Austin v. United States, which introduced constitutional protections available to owners in in rem forfeiture actions. Bennis v. Michigan is then introduced and analyzed, highlighting the Court’s inconsistent reasoning in upholding the forfeiture in Bennis despite its holding in Austin, which was decided only three years earlier. Finally, this Note proposes a threshold test for application of the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment.
Eric N. Bergquist,
Statutory In Rem Civil Forfeiture, the Punishment of Innocent Owners, and the Excessive Fines Clause: An Analysis of Bennis v. Michigan, 116 S. Ct. 994 (1996),
76 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol76/iss1/5