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Mississippi HB 1352: The Criminal Justice Reform Act [Ends driver’s license suspension for unpaid fines and fees, failure to appear]

The bill provides that when a person fails to pay their fines and fees (whether for traffic, misdemeanor, or felony offenses), a clerk will provide written notice advising that failure to pay within the following 90 days will result in the court pursuing collection of the debt. Before this law was passed, courts suspended driver’s licenses for nonpayment.

Mississippi HB 387: An Act to Provide that Incarceration Shall Not Automatically Follow the Nonpayment of a Fine, Restitution, or Court Costs […]

This bill was proposed to enshrine Rule 26.6(b) of the Mississippi Rules of Criminal Procedure in state law. Its provisions are nearly identical: it mandates a determination of willfulness before a court may sanction a defendant for nonpayment of fines and fees, and provides alternatives for courts when failure to pay was not willful.

Kennedy v. City of Biloxi et al

This case alleged that the City of Biloxi operated a debtor’s prison, routinely jailing indigent people who could not afford to pay fines and fees imposed in traffic and misdemeanor cases. 

Thomas v. City of Gulfport

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.
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