Do Value of Seized Property or Gravity of the Offense Effect on the Maximum Fine ?
Can the Maximum Fine for an Offense be Compared With Value of Seized Property or Is Gravity of the Offense a Relevant Factor in Determining Maximum Fine ?
In People ex rel. Waller v. 1996 Saturn, VIN 1G82H5282TZ113572, 298 Ill. App. 3d 464, 699 N.E.2d 223, 232 Ill. Dec. 776 (1998) the State secured the forfeiture of a vehicle on the basis that it had been used in the commission of burglaries involving the theft of about $ 100 in cash and other property.
In affirming the forfeiture, the majority indicated that the value of the seized property is germane to assessing the harshness of the penalty, but noted that "a court must consider not only the monetary value of the property forfeited but also the intangible value of the property." 1996 Saturn, 298 Ill. App. 3d at 472.
Forfeiture of personal property is less harsh than forfeiture of real estate. 1996 Saturn, 298 Ill. App. 3d at 472.
The majority specifically rejected the claimant's argument that the court should simply compare the value of the forfeited property with the value of the stolen property. 1996 Saturn, 298 Ill. App. 3d at 471.
As far as the gravity of the offense is concerned, the majority stated that relevant factors include whether the crime was one of violence; whether the offense was a completed crime (as opposed to an attempted one); whether the conduct involved was intentional or negligent; and whether the claimant was convicted, acquitted, or never charged with a criminal offense. 1996 Saturn, 298 Ill. App. 3d at 471-72.
The majority explained that comparing the maximum fine for the offense with the value of the seized property is not a proper way to gauge excessiveness, although the maximum fine for the offense is relevant to determining the gravity of the offense. 1996 Saturn, 298 Ill. App. 3d at 471.