County Clerks in Tennessee automatically suspend the driver’s license of persons who fail to pay their traffic debt within a 30-90 day window.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a landmark report detailing the disproportionate harms that communities of color suffer from fines and fees.
Plaintiffs allege that defendant’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses indefinitely until all court fines and fees are paid regardless of ability to pay violates equal protection and due process.
In Thompson v. State of Florida, the plaintiff, an indigent mother of three, had her probation revoked for failure to pay fines and fees.
The plaintiff alleged that the two defendant-judges instituted an “Amnesty Program” that forgave fees owed by probation clients to the plaintiff, which interfered with the contractual relationship that existed between the plaintiff and its probation clients. Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant judges used their judicial office and powers to unlawfully take plaintiff’s substantial property rights without due process of law.
This case alleges that Lexington County operates a modern-day debtors’ prison pursuant to a Default Payment Policy and a Trial in Abstentia Policy.
Individuals must pay their unrelated LaGrange Municipal court fines and fees before gaining access to basic utility services. Further, the City charges $50 for a public defender. Unable to pay for a public defender, most people plead guilty or nolo contendere.
Plaintiffs allege that the Michigan Department of State’s automatic suspension of driver’s license of persons who owe court fines and fees, regardless of their ability to pay violates due process and equal protection.
In misdemeanor and felony cases, Tennessee automatically revoked a person’s driver’s license if they failed to pay court fines and fees one year after they were imposed.
This case challenges the imposition of a surcharge by the City of Missoula that is not authorized by state law.