A February 2019 article in USA Today discusses a US Supreme Court unanimous ruling stating, that states cannot impose excessive fees, fines and forfeitures as criminal penalties.

“The decision, which united the court’s conservatives and liberals, makes clear that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against “excessive fines” applies to states and localities as well as the federal government. ”

This decision could have a impact on many facets of local government and is referenced in a recent article, also from USA Today discussing a $103,559 bill for overgrown vegetation and a stagnant swimming pool received by a Dunedin, FL woman on a property she lost to foreclosure.

Update (8/27/2019) USA Today now reports “The city of Dunedin, Florida, has dismissed the lawsuit. Click here for more details.

Update (9/5/19) Maura K. McKelvey, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP discusses a similar case still ongoing in Dunedin. In James Ficken v. City of Dunedin, Florida et al., Mr. Ficken, the homeowner, alleges that the city fined him $500/day for around eight weeks while he was out of town settling his mother’s estate. To view the report, please click here.

 

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