Alabama Law Review to Host Symposium on Civil Asset Forfeiture

The Alabama Law Review has scheduled a one-day symposium, Timbs v. Indiana One Year Later: The Future of Civil Asset Forfeiture, on March 6 at the Law School. The symposium will explore the consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court case.

In its landmark 2019 opinion, Timbs v. Indiana, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is an incorporated protection applicable to the states and may, as a result, regulate state civil asset forfeiture. This symposium will feature three panel discussions with prominent law professors and practitioners and a keynote address from Wesley Hottot, the senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, who argued the Timbs case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The symposium will address crucial questions that remain about the decision’s impact in the context of civil asset forfeiture. While the Court said that the Excessive Fines Clause applies to Mr. Timbs’s civil asset forfeiture case, it did not say that his case violates the Excessive Fines Clause. Nor did the court’s decision set any standards regarding the regulation of such forfeiture. Since the Timbs decision, civil asset forfeiture practices have come under sharp criticism, especially in Alabama, where the practice is regularly used to fund law enforcement operations. Some organizations and lawmakers have called for reform, including the possible outright appeal of the practice.

In this symposium, a distinguished group of legal scholars and practitioners will discuss the future of civil asset forfeiture by analyzing the history of the practice and its current use, both on a federal and state level. The symposium will feature three panel discussions and a luncheon with keynote speaker Hottot. 

The three panel discussions will cover the following topics: the history of civil asset forfeiture and its current practices, civil asset forfeiture’s impact on race and class, and the future of civil asset forfeiture in Alabama, specifically. Panelists will include esteemed law professors from around the country, practicing Department of Justice attorneys, and reform advocates.

In addition to Hottot, confirmed presenters are:

  • Kevin Arlyck, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Tom Borton, Assistant U.S. Attorney​ for the Northern District of Alabama
  • Anita Cream, Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief of the Asset Recovery Division for the Middle District of Florida
  • Carla Crowder (’09), Executive Director, Alabama Appleseed
  • Emily Early, Senior Staff Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center Economic Justice Project
  • Brian Kelly, Associate Professor, Economics, Seattle University
  • Louis Rulli, Practice Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law

For more information or to RSVP, please visit law.ua.edu/TimbsvIndianaRSVP