March 24, 2016
The Lawyers’s Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, East Bay Community Law Center, Western Center on Law & Poverty, A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project, and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children published, “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California.” The report outlines how state laws and procedures have a disproportionate impact on low-income and communities of color in California.
The report discusses how California courts lay out billions in traffic fines and has suspended more than four million drivers’ licenses for fines that go unpaid; which has trapped many into an endless cycle of poverty.
“What used to be a hundred dollar violation in California now costs nearly five hundred dollars, and the costs climb into the thousands when people miss deadlines to pay fees they can’t afford,” Claire Johnson Raba attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid.
To dismantle the endless cycle of oppression the legal coalition sent a letter to the Superior Court of San Mateo County. The letter invites the court to implement a system that takes into consideration people’s ability to pay and to adjust payment plans according to a person’s financial standing. If the court chooses to ignore to comply with the recommendations, the coalition will take legal action.
More information on “Not Just a Ferguson Problem: How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California.”
Organizations mentioned/involved: Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), Western Center on Law & Poverty (WCLP), A New Way of Life (Los Angeles), Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal)