Alexander v. United States
In Alexander v. United States, U.S. 113 S.Ct. 2766, 125 L.Ed.2d 441 (1993), the defendant argued that the in personam criminal forfeiture order (in addition to his six-year sentence and $100,000 fine) was disproportionate to the gravity of his offenses and therefore violative of either the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause or the Excessive Fines Clause. Alexander, U.S. at 113 S.Ct. at 2775.
The court of appeals rejected Alexander's argument, holding that proportionality review is not required when the sentence is less than life imprisonment without parole. Id.
The Supreme Court did not take issue with the holding of the court of appeals as it related to Alexander's cruel and unusual punishment argument, but rejected the holding as it applied to his argument under the Excessive Fines Clause. Id.
The Court explained that the proposition that proportionality review is not required when the sentence is less than life imprisonment without parole "has relevance only to the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments." Id.
The Court went on to state that the in personam criminal forfeiture at issue should be analyzed under the Excessive Fines Clause. Id. at 113 S.Ct. at 2775-76