Personal Narrative: Nora Ann Corder

In 2016, Nora Ann Corder’s annual income was far below $12,060, the 2016 federal poverty guideline for a one-person household. She received food assistance through SNAP. With no real income, her car insurance policy lapsed. She was issued a citation for failure to return her license plate and registration upon the loss of insurance. Ms. Corder was required to pay a $230 fine and a $100 reinstatement fee for the driver’s license that was suspended as a result of the citation.

Ms. Corder drove to work with a suspended license because her job was her only source of income. She was stopped by law enforcement, received three new citations, and her car was impounded.  As a result, she owed $1320 in fines and fees. She tried to make alternative travel arrangements to get to work but it was difficult because she worked the night shift. She lost her job.

In 2017, she began working at Waffle House. She earned $290 a week and paid $10-$15 per day for people to take her to work. On her court date, she could not secure transportation. There was no public transportation and she could not walk to the court because she lived 9 miles away. The Magistrate Court found her guilty of all the charges in her absence. Ms. Corder neither received a notice of the conviction nor her sentence. A bench warrant was issued for her to pay $1320 in full or be jailed for 90 days. Ms. Corder was arrested when she went to the Court to file forms related to an eviction action. She was incarcerated for 54 days. She lost her job and suffered emotional distress because she knew she would be homeless and unemployed after her release.

Related: Brown v. Lexington County