This report examines in detail the collateral consequences of Alabama’s court debt system and explores the ways in which it undermines public safety and drives the state’s racial wealth divide.
This case challenges a marijuana diversion program operated by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. People who can afford to pay finish the program in 3 months. Those who can’t pay must stay in the program for at least six months or until they pay the fees owed, even if they have satisfied every program requirement other than payment.
The American Bar Association developed ten guidelines to ensure that fines and fees do not punish people disproportionately for their poverty.
This report documents that the families of children charged with crimes are forced to pay for the cost of legal counsel in all but 10 U.S. states – despite the Constitution’s guarantee that young people who are indigent are entitled to court-appointed counsel.
In the summer of 2018, New Orleans became the first city in the South to abolish fees charged to youth involved in the juvenile justice system.
This bench card is meant to educate Washington State judges about procedural protections owed to defendants who are ordered to pay fines and fees in criminal court.
The author argues for an exception to the Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971) abstention doctrine (Younger abstention) in cases challenging the criminalization of poverty.
This 2018 bill - which did not pass - marks the third consecutive year that Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) introduced legislation to end driver’s license suspension for nonpayment of fines and fees in Florida. This bill would also have required courts to provide reasonable payment alternatives for poor defendants, including payment plans and performing community service to pay fines.
The Mecklenburg County working group requested the assistance of Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program, which helped the group develop two bench cards. One bench card provides guidance for judges when imposing fines and fees; the other outlines a process for sanctioning defendants who fail to pay fines and fees.
This case study of municipal courts in Colorado is based on a multi-year ACLU investigation which revealed that despite a bipartisan reform effort in the state legislature, many of Colorado’s municipal courts persistently ignore both constitutional standards and state law and continue to employ practices that punish defendants for their poverty.