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Fulton et al v. City of Chicago

Plaintiff alleges that the City of Chicago ignored the automatic stay protection under the Bankruptcy Code. The City impounded Mr. Fulton’s car because he had unpaid fines and fees, and informed him that the vehicle would only be returned when the court debt was paid. Mr. Fulton declared bankruptcy, and the automatic stay provision required that vehicles be returned to debtors who file for bankruptcy. The City argued that impoundment as a deterrence helped to enforce traffic regulations. Debtors argued that the City was more concerned with revenue collection than public safety.

Iowa v. Jane Doe

Jane Doe, an indigent woman, was denied expungement for failure to pay court-appointed attorney fees. Doe argued that her equal protection rights were violated because defendants who owe fees to privately retained attorneys can expunge their criminal records, while defendants owing court-appointed attorney fees cannot.

Ficken v. City of Dunedin et al

Plaintiff James Ficken had grass over ten inches for about eight weeks during the summer of 2018 while he was out of town settling his mother’s estate. Without warning, he was hit with daily fines totaling $29,000. As a result of his inability to pay the $29,000 in fines, the City placed two liens on his property. Mr. Ficken requested a rehearing or reconsideration of the fines, but his request was rejected without explanation. He now faces imminent foreclosure because he does not have the money to satisfy the liens.

Johnson, et al. v. Jessup

Plaintiffs allege that the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles automatically revokes the drivers’ licenses of people who do not pay their traffic tickets in full within forty days.

Timbs v. Indiana

Petitioner used life insurance proceeds to purchase a Land Rover for $41,558.30. He used the vehicle to transport heroin worth a total of $385. He was arrested and his vehicle was seized. Petitioner argued that the forfeiture was excessive in violation of the Eight Amendment’s excessive fines clause.

McNeil v. Community Probation Services

Community Probation Services, LLC and PSI Probation, LLC, for-profit probation companies, provide probation services for Giles County, Tennessee. The companies add their own fees and surcharges to the court debts of probationers.

Stinnie v. Holcomb

This case challenges the constitutionality of a Virginia statute that requires the automatic suspension of the driver’s licenses of people who fail to pay court fines and fees.

Mendoza v. Garrett

This case challenges the state of Oregon’s policy of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who cannot afford to pay fines and fees for traffic violations.
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