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Despite Rulings In Timbs' Favor, Seized Vehicle Still Not Returned

timbs

5 years later Timbs' Land Rover still hasn't been returned. (Steve Burns, WTIU/WFIU News)

Police seized an Indiana man’s vehicle more than five years ago, and despite a U.S. Supreme Court and an Indiana Supreme Court ruling in his favor, he still hasn’t got it back.

Tyson Timbs’ $40,000 Land Rover was taken by police because he used it to transport around $400 worth of heroin. His case was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court where they ruled that excessive fines apply to state as well as federal law enforcement agencies.

Following that decision the case went back to the Indiana Supreme Court. And last week they said in a 4-1 ruling that the seizure of Timbs’ vehicle constituted an excessive fine and created new tests to help make those determinations in the future.

Watch: Tyson Timbs On Why He Brought The Lawsuit

Sam Gedge is an attorney with the Institute for Justice and represents Timbs, he says that ruling is a move in the right direction.

“The Indiana Supreme Court majority applied a much more nuanced and I think a much more reasonable test for determining whether taking someone’s property is excessive,” he says.

But the victory doesn’t mean Timb’s vehicle will be returned to him. The state Supreme Court sent the case back down to the trial court it originated from five years ago.

They asked the trial judge there to apply the new tests they created to the Timbs case.  Gedge says he is not sure how that trial will be conducted.

“It’s possible I think that the trial court could try to have another trial and try to hear new evidence with this new legal standard as the lens for looking at that evidence," he says.

Gedge says there is typically a 30-35 day waiting period after a ruling before the case is sent back down to a trial court.

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