This case challenged Benton County, Washington’s practice of incarcerating indigent defendants for failure to pay court fines and fees without any inquiry into their financial status or ability to pay.
In Alexander City, municipal court defendants must pay their court fines and fees from traffic debt in full by the end of the court day, usually 3:00 p.m. Persons unable to pay are forced to sit out their time in city jail, at the rate of $20 per day until someone pays their debt.
Summary of the cause of action The New Orleans Parish Criminal District Court jails indigent defendants who are unable to pay post-judgement court fines and fees. Court costs are imposed …
Plaintiff, a 20 year old college student, was sentenced to jail because he was unable to pay a $206 statutory fine with $33 in court costs for throwing a cigarette butt out of his car window.
Plaintiff’s complaint requested that the Circuit Court for the County of Macomb take superintending control over the 38th District Court, requiring Judge Carl F. Gerds III to refrain from imposing pay or stay sentences on indigent defendants who are unable to pay their court debt.
Red Hills Community Probation, LLC contracted with local governments to supervise probation. Defendants unable to pay their court fines and fees were placed on probation.
Mr. Clark was convicted of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and sentenced to 38 months in prison, and to pay $1846.62, which included a $500 fine – the maximum permitted under Washington law. Mr. Clark appealed asking for a review of the $500 fine.
The Municipal Court judge asks the defendants if they wish to pay or be put on a payment plan but rarely discloses the option of community service. If an individual asks for a payment plan, JCS sets the amount owed each month. No inquiry is made into the person’s ability to pay. The standard minimum payment is $140 per month.
The complaint alleged that impoverished city residents were jailed solely because of their inability to pay court fines and fees from traffic and other municipal violations.
Mr. Thompson was jailed for five days due to his inability to pay fines and fees. He was not informed of his right to request court-appointed counsel, and was ultimately not provided with counsel, nor a pre-deprivation indigency hearing prior to being jailed.