On September 17, 2015, Alabama Circuit Judge Marvin Wiggins opened his court session by giving two options to people who did not have the money to pay their court fines and fees: give blood, or go to jail. This short clip was recorded by someone present in the court room that day, and the clip documents the judge’s comments as well as conversations between a blood bank worker, a defendant who felt forced to donate, and an employee of the local District Attorney’s office. A New York Times article written about the incident a month later states that the blood bank discarded most of the blood that was collected from defendants and some donors did not receive the $100 credit towards their debt they were promised by the judge. After the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a judicial ethics complaint, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary censured Judge Wiggins in January 2016.
Author(s): Southern Poverty Law Center