Court Fines and the Poor

  • Justice Dept. tells state judges to stop targeting the poor, By Cathaleen Chen, March 14, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “As part of the Obama administration’s latest civil rights initiative that examines individual states, the Justice Department is now calling out state court systems for operating ‘unconstitutional’ policies that unfairly target poor people in a cycle of fines, debt, and imprisonment.  ‘This unconstitutional practice is often framed as a routine administrative matter,’ Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department’s top civil rights prosecutor, wrote to chief judges and court administrator warning them against procedures like using arrest warrants to collect fines and debts…”
  • Justice Dept. condemns profit-minded court policies targeting the poor, By Matt Apuzzo, March 14, 2016, New York Times: “The Justice Department on Monday called on state judges across the country to root out unconstitutional policies that have locked poor people in a cycle of fines, debt and jail. It was the Obama administration’s latest effort to take its civil rights agenda to the states, which have become a frontier in the fight over the rights of the poor and the disabled, the transgender and the homeless…”

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