Included in the appellant’s sentence was “court costs” of $234. The appellant appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to support the amount of the costs.
Two appellants convicted of misdemeanors offered participation in the pretrial diversion program upon payment of $230 in fees. They filed a complaint alleging removal from the program because of their inability to pay the fees is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Harrison County Jail was a modern day debtors’ prison. Officers went to predominantly African American neighborhoods arbitrarily checking people to see if they had paid their court fines and fees.
An indigent's equal protection rights are violated when defendants can avoid prosecution by paying a fine, without determining an individual’s ability to pay the fine.
In Bearden v. Georgia, the Supreme Court held that courts may only revoke probation and/or sentence the defendant to imprisonment if the defendant willfully refused to pay.
Petitioner’s due process rights were violated because he is entitled to a hearing before a disinterested and impartial judge in the first instance. The mayor was neither.