HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » American courts should no...

Fri Jun 8, 2018, 09:43 PM

American courts should not be turned into revenue machines

In 2016, Hilda Brucker, a resident of Doraville, Georgia, was convicted of violating the Doraville city code. She was fined $100 and sentenced to six months of probation. Her crime? Her driveway had cracks in it. Her neighbor, Jeffrey Thornton, was fined $1,000 for the condition of the woodpile on his property.

Doraville doesn’t just cite its own residents. Janice Craig and Byron Billingsley don’t live in Doraville but frequently drive through the town to get to work or appointments. Both were fined for minor traffic violations. Indeed, according to a 2014 Atlanta Journal Constitution article, Doraville made more on traffic tickets than any other city in Georgia. Overall, the city generates over 20 percent of its budget from fines and fees.

Brucker, Thornton, Craig and Billingsley sued Doraville in federal court last week, represented by the Institute for Justice. Their case argues that Doraville’s practice of relying on revenue from fines and fees is unconstitutional because the city’s prosecutors, police, and judges have an incentive to cite, convict and fine people. Using fines and fees to balance a city’s budget turns the criminal justice system, which is meant to protect public safety, into a tax collection system.

Other cities and towns should take note, including many in New York. According to data cited by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, of the 100 cities in the United States that budget the most revenue from fines, Doraville ranks sixth. One New York village, North Hills ranks second, Cedarhurst is seventh, and Great Neck Plaza is eleventh. All rely on fines for a greater percentage of their budget than did Ferguson, Missouri, the city made infamous for its abusive fines practices.

Of the top 100 municipalities ranked in terms of revenues from fines, six are on Long Island. In North Hills, for example, where the median income is $131,677, the city obtains an astonishing 25 percent of its revenue from fines. North Hills Mayor, Marvin Natiss, brags on the city’s website that “our Village tax remains the lowest of the 64 Villages in Nassau County.” Those low taxes are made possible by the city’s reliance on fines for revenue.

Other Long Island villages also raise significant revenue from fines. In Nassau County, Hempstead Village receives over $2.1 million from fines. Lynbrook receives almost $1.8 million, and Freeport receives nearly $1.5 million. Courts in Rockville Center and Mineola are each hearing tens of thousands of cases each year and generating over $1 million each in revenue. In Suffolk County, Southampton receives $1.9 million from fines and fees, and East Hampton $1.7 million.

http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/391449-american-courts-should-not-be-turned-into-revenue-machines

4 replies, 852 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply American courts should not be turned into revenue machines (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Jun 2018 OP
EarthFirst Jun 2018 #1
The Genealogist Jun 2018 #2
appalachiablue Jun 2018 #3
Mosby Jun 2018 #4

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2018, 09:49 PM

1. Just wait until these locales learn of civil asset forfeiture...

They’ll boost their margins by 300%.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2018, 10:49 PM

2. These stories always remind me of a town up north of me

The town had an infamous speed trap, and collected a whopping 85% of their revenue from it. The state later passed a law that said no more than 45% of revenue could come from speeding tickets. It broke the town, and later the residents voted to disolve the town.

My opinion is that municipalities that do these things aren't interested in justice at all, and it is an abuse of the justice system to behave this way.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2018, 12:20 AM

3. Appreciate the post and the dependence on fines needs to be stopped.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sat Jun 9, 2018, 05:20 PM

4. American courts should not be turned into....

That horse left the barn decades ago.

People should start paying these bullshit fines using wheelbarrows of pennies. Let's see how profitable it is then.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread