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Mahoney et al. v. Derrick

Arkansas secures payment of court debt through incarceration, driver’s license suspensions, and probation, for which an additional fee is charged. Judge Derrick is a District Court Judge who presides in ten departments in ten towns. His practices are extreme. He routinely requires persons to pay at least $100 monthly for court debt. Judge Derrick has a zero-tolerance policy. Failure to pay results in an arrest warrant, driver’s license suspension, incarceration and an additional $450 to $670 in fines and fees. Driving with a suspended license results in $650 in fines and fees with a $100 reinstatement fee. Further, those convicted of driving on a suspended license are placed on 6 months’ probation, which carries an additional monthly fee of $35. Community service is sometimes added to the debt, jail, time and probation. No inquiry is made into the person’s ability to pay. People are jailed for non-payment while they live in tents or shelters. They are jailed for weeks or months until they pay their entire debt in cash. The time spent in jail does not credit the debt; it’s in addition to the debt. People lose their jobs, homes, vehicles, and custody of children trying to make these payments. Record keeping methods are also very inconsistent.

Status

Pending before the Circuit Court of Pulaski County.

You can read the full text of the complaint here, as well as an article about the case. You can also read more about a plaintiff, Tina Marie Phares.

42 U.S.C. § 1983 (alleging due process and equal protection violations)
No. 60CV-18-5616 (Cir. Ct. Pulaski Co. 2018)
August 2018
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
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