Defendants in the Gardendale Municipal Court are placed on probation when they are unable to pay court fines and fees in full. Professional Probation Services, Inc. (PPS) is the sole probation provider through a contract with the City and the Municipal Court judge. PPS charges a $40 monthly fee which is paid before the court’s fines and fees.
Plaintiffs argue that by budgeting for revenue from fines and fees, Doraville creates a perverse incentive for the city’s police, prosecutors, and judges.
This case challenges a marijuana diversion program operated by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. People who can afford to pay finish the program in 3 months. Those who can’t pay must stay in the program for at least six months or until they pay the fees owed, even if they have satisfied every program requirement other than payment.
Plaintiffs allege that the Michigan Department of State’s automatic suspension of driver’s license of persons who owe court fines and fees, regardless of their ability to pay violates due process and equal protection.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.