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Feenstra v. Sigler

The complaint alleges Judge Jared Sigler, Judge John Gerkin, and former Judge Curtis DeLapp (Judicial Defendants) failed to conduct inquiries into individuals’ ability to pay before imposing fines and fees or before sanctioning individuals for nonpayment.

Hiskett v. Lambert

The Superior Court lacked the statutory authority to order that Hiskett bear the cost of electronic monitoring during his pretrial release.

State v. Lipski

Mark Lipski was charged with operating a vehicle with suspended registration. He requested appointed counsel, but the court advised him that he was not entitled to the assistance of appointed counsel because if convicted, he would be sentenced to pay a fine and not to serve a term of incarceration.

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.

Cook v. Taylor

This class action alleges that Alabama’s driver’s license suspension practices violate equal protection and due process because people are being punished without any determination of their ability to pay.

Cain v. New Orleans

Plaintiff-Appellees were former criminal defendants in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court (OPCDC) who pleaded guilty to various criminal defenses and were assessed fines and fees. All were arrested for failure to pay their assessed fines and fees; bond was set at $20,000 each; and, they each spent between six days and two weeks in jail. The court’s collection of fines and fees funded about one quarter of the Judicial Expense Fund (JEF); the Judges had exclusive control over how the JEF was spent and generally used it for court staff salaries as well as other administrative and maintenance expenses.

Too Poor to Pay: How Arkansas’s Offender-Funded Justice System Drives Poverty & Mass Incarceration

This report identifies several promising issue areas for fines and fees reform in Arkansas, including nonpayment incarceration, driver’s license suspension for unpaid fines and fees, and probation fees. The authors interviewed 205 people who were charged and/or incarcerated over inability to pay fines and fees; performed court-watching in 8 counties; sent almost 300 records requests; and interviewed Arkansas criminal justice and social service stakeholders.
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