This Guide for Policy Reform by Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program is organized into four issue areas: conflicts of interest, poverty penalties and poverty traps (when people are forced to pay more or face harsher sanctions because of their poverty), the ability-to-pay determination, and transparency and accountability. Under each of these sections, a description of the problem is followed by legislative, judicial, and executive reform suggestions for people at the state level to use and incorporate into their efforts.
This study uses US Census data and Uniform Crime Reporting data to assess whether law enforcement participation in revenue collection affects police departments’ ability to solve violent crime.
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.
This case challenged the constitutionality of a $3 surcharge imposed on litigants in municipal court for the sheriff’s retirement fund. The trial court dismissed for lack of standing. The appellants claimed to have standing as taxpayers, administrators, and as one who paid the surcharge.
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.
On September 17, 2015, Circuit Judge Wiggins from Perry County Alabama threatened defendants who appeared before him for a previously scheduled “pay-due” docket. He informed them, “If you do not have any money and you do not want to go to jail…you can give blood today…bring in a receipt indicating that you gave blood…”
Hakes could not afford to make any payments. Probation was revoked because he was unable to pay. Hakes filed a complaint stating payment for the bracelet is punitive and does not promote public safety.
This report provides granular data on the imposition and payment of fines and fees in Alabama. The authors gathered and analyzed 200,000 court records over the last two decades to provide a comprehensive picture of the assessments of fines and fees across the state.
This article compares the fines and fees practices of Ferguson, Missouri and other municipal governments with the older economic technique of sharecropping.