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."
In 2015, Ms. McKee was arrested for failing to appear at hearings for traffic citations including speeding, driving without a valid license, and no insurance. After two days in jail, Ms. McKee appeared before the judge and pled guilty to all of the charges. Having no regard for her indigence, the court ordered her to pay $1727 in biweekly payments of $232.00. Ms. McKee had to pay $25 to activate the payment plan and make a down payment of $200.00.
Current law establishes procedures for when a sentence includes the payment of a monetary amount. This bill clarifies that the procedures also apply whenever a court enters a judgment or issues an order obligating a defendant to pay an amount to the court.
This article summarizes the research, advocacy, and communications tools the ACLU of Ohio used to successfully combat debtors’ prisons and provides guidance on how to execute similar strategies in other states.
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.
In this essay, Marsh and Gerrick challenge the most common justification for why debtors’ prisons still exist in present-day America: generating revenue to fund local government and courts. The authors argue that revenue generation is an “incomplete explanation” for debtor’s prisons and point to a variety of other factors that could help complete the picture.
This report documents how and when youth and families face fines, fees and restitution and the economic and legal consequences for failure to pay.
The article provides an overview of criminal justice fines and fees; applies the Sixth Amendment jury trial right to these fines and fees; considers the question of “when criminal justice debt rises to the level of punishment; and suggests several solutions to the problem.