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Should people be jailed over simple unpaid fines?

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posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:35 PM
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Seems that the practice of jailing poor people for their inability to pay fines for things as simple as traffic or disorderly conduct isn't really legal in the United States, but yet more and more judges and states are leaning towards this practice. I know in my home state of Wisconsin, this is a common practice. This has even happened to myself. I was pulled over for speeding and didn't even realize I had an unpaid fine. I was handcuffed and arrested on the side of the highway and got a ride to the county jail in the back of a squad car...over a $209 fine. Fortunately, my wife was able to come and pay the $209 to have me released right away. But, imagine the vast numbers of poor folks in this country who can't bail themselves out. In Wisconsin, the cash equivalent for sitting it out in jail is $25 per day. So, over my simple $209 fine, I would have had to sit for 9 days in jail!

How debtors' prisons are making a comeback



Critics are calling the practice the new “debtors’ prison” — referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off.

Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union say it’s been reborn in local courts which may not be aware it’s against the law to send indigent people to jail over unpaid fines and fees — or they just haven’t been called on it until now.


So, what do you think ATS? Is it right to imprison poor folks (because they are the only ones who would have problems paying their fines) for their inability to pay?



The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law released a “Tool Kit for Action” in 2012 that broke down the cost to municipalities to jail debtors in comparison with the amount of old debt it was collecting. It doesn’t look like a bargain. For example, according to the report, Mecklenburg County, N.C., collected $33,476 in debts in 2009, but spent $40,000 jailing 246 debtors — a loss of $6,524.


It seems that even the costs of imprisoning folks for unpaid fines costs more to the taxpayer.



The ACLU found that seven out of 11 counties they studied were operating de facto debtors’ prisons, despite clear “constitutional and legislative prohibitions.” Some were worse than others. In the second half of 2012 in Huron County, 20 percent of arrests were for failure to pay fines. The Sandusky Municipal Court in Erie County jailed 75 people in a little more than a month during the summer of 2012. The ACLU says it costs upwards of $400 in Ohio to execute a warrant and $65 a night to jail people.




posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:40 PM
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If you want to really understand the depth of the racket they are running, do some research into "contempt of court".

American judges are using this little piece of judicial tyranny every single day as there own personal NDAA in violation of the very spirit of the Constitution and the American justice system.

When you go to court for contempt, almost always you face the same judge who has charged you with contempt which would obviously be biased towards your position and ensure you will not have a fair hearing in the first place. Add onto that you can not request a jury trial for contempt so it's completely up to the judge, you know, the one who said you were guilty of it. Oh yeah, they can just sentence you to whatever they feel like on top of that, without trial by your peers, a month, a year, whatever.

Contempt of court............ Not the way American justice was meant to be. Look into it.


+2 more 
posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:45 PM
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This crap started in that wonderful police state we call Florida, and because it was successful here other states pick up on it.
Debtors Prison Again

The problem is that Florida makes about $30 million a year in fines, restitution, and the like, so they were not going to allow anyone to get away without paying. The problem of course is that when you start policing for profit, you have a vested interest in making criminals out of all your citizens.
And THAT, dear friends, is NOT justice.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:46 PM
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reply to post by Helious
 


That's why every time I have been in a court room, I'm on my best behavior. These judges are on a power trip and contempt of court is their secret weapon. You're right...the whole system is a racket!



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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This sounds like it could be very beneficial to the homeless in our country! Minor offense, unpaid fine = 3 squares, warm shelter and a hot shower...plus indoor plumbing!
Guess we need to build more prisons now......



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:48 PM
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news.yahoo.com...

Texas, at first if you don't secede
try, try again.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:50 PM
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nugget1
This sounds like it could be very beneficial to the homeless in our country! Minor offense, unpaid fine = 3 squares, warm shelter and a hot shower...plus indoor plumbing!
Guess we need to build more prisons now......

I've got a better idea... Why not throw these judges that are making unconstitutional decisions in prison, and let the homeless have their jobs and houses?



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:51 PM
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defcon5
This crap started in that wonderful police state we call Florida, and because it was successful here other states pick up on it.
Debtors Prison Again

The problem is that Florida makes about $30 million a year in fines, restitution, and the like, so they were not going to allow anyone to get away without paying. The problem of course is that when you start policing for profit, you have a vested interest in making criminals out of all your citizens.
And THAT, dear friends, is NOT justice.


Great article you linked Defcon. Thanks.


Jail time for being broke is no way to help people get back on their feet after a run-in with the legal system. Judges should be exercising the option in state law that allows them to convert court-ordered obligations into community service. But with the Florida Legislature looking for revenue to fund the courts and other state services, judges are under pressure to wring every available penny out of those who owe.


And it cost nearly the same amount collected, so in the end, it does nothing for the state coffers to put people in jail, except cause much more hardships on families who are already struggling to survive.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:53 PM
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Rezlooper
And it cost nearly the same amount collected, so in the end, it does nothing for the state coffers to put people in jail, except cause much more hardships on families who are already struggling to survive.

While that's true the idea here was to establish case law in support of this, then when you go after the majority of people who do have the assets, they will be afraid to not pay. Again the whole thing here is police for profit as we do not have state or city taxes. Again Florida makes around $30 million/year above budget based solely on policing for profit.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by defcon5
 


That's because most people pay the fines and go without...rather than face being incarcerated.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 07:58 PM
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your answer is send them to britain cause your lucky we even jail people for murder these days so anything just below that your guaranteed freedom.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:01 PM
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reply to post by Rezlooper
 


I'm not sure where there is something new on this? Is this something other states haven't done in the past?

Missouri has it right in the State Constitution regarding NO incarceration for debt. Period. The catch is (always is one, huh?) that doesn't extend to amounts due by the courts. Child support, tickets, fines...whatever.

The reason I ask about the new aspect is that I had buddies in the 80's I hung out with who spent occasional weekends in county jail to work off a bench warrant on an unpaid ticket or something. Usually a day or two or three but pay it off or work it off was about what I recall those options being once someone failed to appear on a citation.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:05 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 

The “catch” in this case is that they arrest you for “failure to follow a court order” rather then failure of paying the fine.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:08 PM
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reply to post by Rezlooper
 


simple answer is No, no one should ever go to jail over not paying a speeding fine. They should lose the privilege to drive a car but making them pay a fine is only there for a Government money grab. Money is the root of all evil.::
edit on 26-12-2013 by AthlonSavage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:09 PM
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reply to post by defcon5
 




While that's true the idea here was to establish case law in support of this, then when you go after the majority of people who do have the assets, they will be afraid to not pay. Again the whole thing here is police for profit as we do not have state or city taxes.


So basically what we have here is the more affluent pay and the poor end up in jail, for now. Just wait until they start to squeeze those who barely have anything (but do have something) and this can be turned into a new method of asset seizure.



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:11 PM
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reply to post by Rezlooper
 


Everyone should be jailed exept jailors.
edit on 26-12-2013 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:21 PM
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reply to post by Rezlooper
 


Might as well jail anyone for anything. Just make it up as ya go along and always do your SWATS on FRIDAY which is a minimum and guarantee of 3 nights in jail b4 ya see a schemer of the ROYAL COURT


Seems to be working thus far for the reptiles wouldn't ya say?
cheerio
edit on 26-12-2013 by superluminal11 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by Rezlooper
 


Play God?

I am God



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:24 PM
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reply to post by defcon5
 


Depends on the state I think... Some major hassles to come from my Dad's estate and some flaming incompetent Attorneys has given me some experience I'd have been happy never having. Cross state stuff with bad business. California people have tried that B.S. once. I've been told that had I lived in California, it would have seen me doing time too... (Unfrigging-believable)

You're right too..that's exactly the game. A private civil debt becomes a judgement, then they call a discovery hearing to collect on assets and in Missouri? Well..that's optional if you don't care to know what is being looked at to take (not a problem I've had outside that California business). In California? oooo..That isn't optional. Failure to show is contempt and bench warrant.

..and that, I learned, is how a 100% private debt (like a credit card) becomes a jail sentence in some states. Thank GOD I live in one that outright wrote that possibility out by Constitutional amendment. Some folks think of states as homogenized like a big vat of milk and in some ways that's true. Absolutely not in ALL ways tho...


edit on 26-12-2013 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2013 @ 08:29 PM
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These are the sorts of abuses you see when a state starts getting starved for funds. They start finding ways to take that pound of flesh one way or another hoping, of course, that you were just being coy and will really cough up that money.



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