Plaintiff alleges that the City of Chicago ignored the automatic stay protection under the Bankruptcy Code. The City impounded Mr. Fulton’s car because he had unpaid fines and fees, and informed him that the vehicle would only be returned when the court debt was paid. Mr. Fulton declared bankruptcy, and the automatic stay provision required that vehicles be returned to debtors who file for bankruptcy. The City argued that impoundment as a deterrence helped to enforce traffic regulations. Debtors argued that the City was more concerned with revenue collection than public safety.
Plaintiff James Ficken had grass over ten inches for about eight weeks during the summer of 2018 while he was out of town settling his mother’s estate. Without warning, he was hit with daily fines totaling $29,000. As a result of his inability to pay the $29,000 in fines, the City placed two liens on his property. Mr. Ficken requested a rehearing or reconsideration of the fines, but his request was rejected without explanation. He now faces imminent foreclosure because he does not have the money to satisfy the liens.
Petitioner used life insurance proceeds to purchase a Land Rover for $41,558.30. He used the vehicle to transport heroin worth a total of $385. He was arrested and his vehicle was seized. Petitioner argued that the forfeiture was excessive in violation of the Eight Amendment’s excessive fines clause.
This law review article makes the case that the Eight Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause may be a better, albeit underdeveloped, provision to address the epidemic of debtor’s prisons.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a landmark report detailing the disproportionate harms that communities of color suffer from 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 challenges the imposition of a surcharge by the City of Missoula that is not authorized by state law.
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 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.
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.