This is another sign of hope...of change...read more on npr.org, read all or listen
Here are excerpts:
The issue with the Municipal Court in Ferguson was that it was being
used to generate money for the city by charging people for all sorts of
minor offenses, from driving with a broken headlight or letting the
grass grow too long in the front yard. And when poor people couldn't or
didn't pay the fines which were usually hundreds of dollars, the money
they owed went up. And if they still didn't pay, a warrant was issued
for their arrest.
Judge Donald McCullin, a retired St.
Louis County Circuit Court judge who, in June, became the new municipal
court judge in Ferguson said, "What we'd like to do is alleviate the fear of people
coming to court because some people fear coming to court because they
fear they're going to be arrested and also to give people a fresh start....We have withdrawn close to 10,000 warrants."
That means people who haven't paid up past fines are not
at risk - at least for now - of being arrested and taken to jail. But
they still need to come to court and ask that their fines be lowered and
pay them or ask for community service instead or to prove that they
have no money and that the fines should be dismissed.
Thomas Harvey is an attorney at ArchCity Defenders, which
represents the poor and homeless. He's filed a federal lawsuit against
Ferguson over these warrants. He praises what the court did yesterday
but says it doesn't go far enough.
...read more on npr.org, read all or listen
see more signs of hope, a previous post
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