Monday, March 14, 2016

Greensboro Personified; "Justice Department warns local courts about unlawful fines and fees"

"The Justice Department is asking local courts across the country to be wary of how they slap poor defendants with fines and fees to fill their jurisdictions’ coffers, warning that such practices often run afoul of the U.S. Constitution and have serious real-world consequences.

City Council is onboard with the practices
as they use the money to pay for discretionary spending fiascos

...illegal enforcement of fines and fees had been receiving increased attention in recent years, and the Justice Department had a “strong interest” in making sure the rights of citizens were protected.

Greensboro's City Council uses the police department 
to steal from our poor to maintain power

“Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs; and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape,” Gupta and Foster wrote.

How much money would Greensboro lose
by doing what they should instead of ripping off poor blacks?

“Furthermore, in addition to being unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared not toward addressing public safety, but rather toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents.”

...officers ...were violating citizens’ civil rights in part because their policing tactics were meant to generate revenue.

...some towns there derived derive 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from the petty fines and fees collected by their municipal courts.