Complaint to the Department of Justice Regarding National Origin Discrimination in the First Parish Court of Jefferson Parish

After being convicted of traffic violations, the four complainants were sentenced to pay for and attend English classes and charged high fees for interpreter services in addition to court fines and fees. They requested an investigation by the Department of Justice and elimination of the interpreter services fee and the English classes as a requirement of probation. Only Latino defendants attended the classes and their English proficiency was never assessed. The students paid $55 on the first day of class for materials and the session, $25 on the other class days, $40 if a class was missed, $25 for the diploma, $3 to process the diploma, and $10 for the mandatory commemorative dinner. Each complaint spent at least $273 on the class. The complaint alleges that this is a violation of their due process and equal protection rights because individuals are entitled to meaningful access to the courts, according to DOJ Guidance.



You can read the full text of the complaint here.

Southern Poverty Law Center
March 30, 2016