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Fant et al. v. City of Ferguson

The City of Ferguson jails people when they cannot afford to pay their traffic debt and cash bonds for other minor offenses. No inquiry is made into the person’s ability to pay, no alternatives to payment are offered to the individuals, and no counsel is provided.

Reed v. City of Ferguson

This case challenges the constitutionality of the warrant recall fee, letter fee, and failure to appear fee imposed by Ferguson Municipal Court, alleging that these fees were enacted for profit and not to promote the welfare of the public.

Mitchell v. City of Montgomery

Unable to pay debt from traffic tickets, impoverished defendants were given the options of paying the debt immediately or sitting out their debt in jail at the rate of $50.00 a day. Those in jail were given the further option of performing janitorial services at the rate of $25.00 a day. No inquiry was made as to the defendant’s ability to pay.

The Burden of Criminal Justice Debt in Alabama

Foster Cook’s report includes quantitative and qualitative survey results from 943 participants from 13 counties in Alabama. The report includes information about the collateral consequences of increased court costs on incarcerated people in Alabama, including harsh penalties for nonpayment and the phenomenon of defendants turning to crime as a funding source to pay their fines and fees.

Hawaii §706-641: Criteria for imposing fines

This Hawaii law specifies criteria that must be satisfied before a court can sentence a person to pay a fine. If the fine is the only punishment included in a sentence, the court cannot assess the fine unless “the person is or will be able to pay the fine,” and “the fine will not prevent the defendant from making restitution to the victim.”
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