Close

White et al. v. Shwedo et al.

Plaintiffs allege that South Carolina’s policy and practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of individuals who cannot afford to pay traffic fines and fees without first holding hearings to determine an individual’s ability to pay and the willfulness of their nonpayment(s) punishes individuals for their poverty.

Personal Narrative: Jean Butler

Jean Butler didn't know her license was suspended until an officer told her during a routine traffic stop. Her license was suspended for nonpayment of traffic tickets she received years prior. Just when she thought she had taken care of all of her court debt, her license was revoked and she faced additional issues after she relocated.

Personal Narrative: Tomia Valdez

Tomia Valdez, 42, of Rapid City, is on disability for a degenerative genetic condition and has custody of her 17-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum. She said her driver’s license has been suspended since 2017 because she owes the state $4,000.

Proportionate Financial Sanctions: Policy Prescriptions for Judicial Reform

In this report, the Criminal Justice Policy Program (CJPP) at Harvard Law School proposes a framework where courts would impose means-adjusted fines as a proportionate sentence for an offense. The authors assert that by adopting the proposed recommendations, courts can ease or prevent the worst harms that excessive financial sanctions create for poor people without waiting for legislative reforms.

Rodriguez v. Mach

Plaintiffs argue that their Equal protection and Due process rights were violated because of the inadequate notices, lack of inquiry into their ability to pay, and the suspension of their licenses solely because of their inability to pay.

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.
Close