Plaintiffs alleged that the Sherwood’s “hot check” court routinely jailed indigent persons unable to pay court fines and fees without inquiry into their ability to pay.
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.
As budgets tighten, municipalities have turned to fines and fees to fill empty coffers. The result is that the rich may walk away, while the poor must pay or stay.
Levi Lane owed $4300.49 in traffic warrants. He was arrested for his inability to pay fines and fees. Mr. Lane was incarcerated for 24 days.
This case challenged the City of El Paso’s payment policy for Class C misdemeanors – usually parking tickets.
At the time this report was written, by California law, counties were authorized to recoup the costs of their juvenile justice systems by charging administrative fees to juvenile defendants and their families. This policy report takes a close look at Alameda County’s system of administrative fees.
In March 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Office for Access to Justice sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to State Court Administrators and Chief Justices in each state clarifying the legal framework that governs the enforcement of fines and fees, including the importance of procedural protections and, in appropriate cases, the right to counsel.
This Note makes the case for considering state constitutional and statutory prohibitions on debtors’ prisons alongside Bearden v. Georgia claims in legal advocacy opposing excessive fines and fees.
The complaint alleged, among other things, that the City’s conduct related to the imposition and enforcement of fines and fees for traffic and other municipal code violations was unconstitutional.
Amarillo residents were jailed through the City’s “pay or lay” policy. It stated, “…except as otherwise provided, the Court shall require the defendant to remain in custody… until the fine, State imposed fees and other penalties are paid."