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Forfeiture of Criminal Proceeds are Punitive and Subject to 8th Amendment Scrutiny, But Not Excessive Here

By FindLaw Staff on April 02, 2010 4:37 PM

In US v. Centra Bank, Inc., No. 08-5172, the Fourth Circuit addressed the district court's denial of government's request for the forfeiture of approximately $358,390.22 in criminal proceeds from a motel owner following his conviction for conspiracy to violate the anti-prostitution provision of the Mann Act. 

First, in addressing the government's contention that forfeiture of particular types of property, such as the criminal proceeds in this case, is nonpunitive, the court cited Supreme Court precedents in rejecting that contention.   Next, having decided that the forfeiture of criminal proceeds is punitive and subject to scrutiny under the Eight Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause, the court held that the forfeiture in this case was not "grossly disproportionate" to the gravity of the offense, given the seriousness of defendant's offense and his individual significance of culpability.

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