Fleming v. Missouri Board of Probation and Parole

Fleming filed writ of habeus corpus alleging he was unlawfully confined because his probation was revoked solely because of his indigency. Fleming pled guilty to two counts of domestic assault in the second degree and was sentenced to seven years in prison for each count, to be served consecutively. Execution of the sentences were suspended, and he was placed on five years of probation. He was ordered to pay $4,263.50 within the first three years of probation and was required to attend anger management and mental health programs. His only source of income was SSI, which gave him $449.34 per month. Fleming agreed to pay $118.00 per month for the court fines and fees.  He violated his probation because he missed payments.  At the probation revocation hearing, the court ordered him to pay $50 a month. He missed some payments but paid $864.95 over 19 months. At the next probation revocation hearing, he admitted his violation of the probation because of his missed payments, and the court revoked his probation. No inquiry was made into his ability to pay, his bona fide efforts to acquire resources to pay, or alternative measures of punishment.


The writ was granted. Fleming’s due process and equal protection rights were violated when his probation was revoked without any inquiry as to his ability to pay.

You can find a detailed summary here, as well as the full text of the complaint. 

42 USC § 1983 (alleging due process and equal protection violations)
No. SC95764 (Mo. 2017)
September 2016
Amy E. Lowe of the Public Defender’s Office in St. Louis