Wright v. Riveland
- Case Date: 9/9/1998
- Project Name: Protecting America's Freedom: National Security and Defense
On March 9, 1998, WLF filed a brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit seeking to uphold a State of Washington law requiring all incarcerated felons to pay 5 percent of any funds they receive while they are in prison to the state's victim compensation fund, and to pay 20 percent to help defray the cost of their incarceration. The prisoners and their attorneys claim on appeal that the deductions constitute a seizure of property in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. WLF focused its brief on the Excessive Fines Clause issue and argued that the Eighth Amendment is not implicated since the deductions are not punishment, but rather are remedial measures. WLF argued in the alternative that if the deductions did constitute a "fine" under the Eighth Amendment, they are not "excessive" because they bear a rational relationship to the harm caused by the felon.