Although the legal fictions of coverture and guilty property have been repudiated by statutes and the Court respectively, the Supreme Court implicitly resurrected and fused the coverture and guilty property myths in Bennis v. Michigan. In that decision, the Court approved the forfeiture of Ms. Bennis' interest in a car in which her husband engaged in sexual activity with a prostitute. This Article explores that resurrected conglomerate in three parts. Part I is a concise review of the feudal doctrine of coverture and the disabilities it imposed on married women. Part II focuses almost entirely on the decision in Austin, in which the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause applies to in rem forfeiture proceedings. Part III begins with a summary of the Bennis decision and ends with an expose of Bennis as the resurrection and fusion of both the guilty property and coverture fictions.
Amy D. Ronner,
Husband and Wife are One - Him: Bennis v. Michigan as the Resurrection of Coverture,
Mich. J. Gender & L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjgl/vol4/iss1/3