Class-action lawsuit says the New Orleans court system preys on poor people for funds, jails them indefinitely when they can’t pay.
The New York Times reports that a new class-action lawsuit has been filed alleging that New Orleans courts are jailing people indefinitely when they can't pay criminal fines and court fees. The courts are illegally using the fees to fund the court system, including its premium health care plan, according to the lawsuit.
One woman spent a week in jail even though she had the money to pay her fine. A man spent six days in jail on a warrant issued in error. Another was kept in jail for weeks for unpaid debts despite his protests that he had a job waiting that would allow him to earn the money.
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.
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