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“Danny Bearden, a young man charged with breaking into a trailer. Bearden was fined several hundred dollars, but then he lost his factory job. He knocked on neighbors' doors asking to mow lawns. When he couldn't pay the rest of his fines, he was sent to jail. In Bearden, the Supreme Court ruled that judges can't send someone to jail simply because they're too poor to pay their court debt, only if the person had the ability to pay but had willfully refused.”
“NPR looked at courts around the country and found in the three decades since Bearden, there's been an explosion in the use of fines and fees. Services long considered free now carry a charge, sometimes hundreds of dollars. NPR reviewed the laws in 50 states. Forty-three states now allow people to be charged for their public defender. When someone goes to jail, they can be charged room and board in 41 states.
When they're assigned a probation or parole officer, in 44 states they can be charged for that too. We also found wide variation in how judges determine who's too poor to pay, and so every day, all around the country, poor people go to jail because they can't come up with the money.”
We've been learning about the growing practice of charging criminal defendants fees to fund the justice system. An NPR investigation finds defendants and offenders are charged fees at every step of the system, from the courtroom to jail, even probation. Some say this practice violates the constitutional rights of the poor.
In the next part of the series, Guilty and Charged, NPR's Joseph Shapiro goes to New Orleans to look into one fee that may surprise you: The charge for a public defender.
Dinelli estimates a 1,000 people every month are going to jail in Alabama because they cannot afford to pay a fine.
originally posted by: chiefsmom
Wow. Wish I would have known about this.
I can state for a fact, here in MI, my son spent 15 days, because he could not afford his 600+ fine and court cost.
So obviously nobody in the "justice" systems gives a rats behind what the supreme court ruled.
We/They should request community service in lieu of fines. - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...