imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Paying More for Being Poor — Bias and Disparity in California’s Traffic Court System

by LCCR repost idVer:0876f4a8dfa6b2549a52fcf406b Tuesday, May. 16, 2017 at 10:39 AM

California's traffic fines and fees are some of the highest in the country, and new data shows that current California policies disproportionately impact people of color. Two bills before the California Legislature (SB 185 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB185 and AB 412 http://cts.vresp.com/c/?LegalServicesforPris/6211c91da4/TEST/7c77ea8fd3/bill_id=201720180AB412 ) would address many of the disparities.

http://sf.indymedia.org/newsitems/2017/05/15/18799437.php

Paying More for Being Poor — Bias and Disparity in California’s Traffic Court System
by LCCR
Monday May 15th, 2017

From Ferguson to Fresno, millions of individuals and families across the country are being unfairly punished for being too poor to pay traffic and infraction tickets for minor violations such as jaywalking or expired registration tags. And the price they most often pay, driver license suspension, releases a cascade of problems that drive them deeper into the clutches of poverty, frequently lead to incarceration, and prevent them from participating in and contributing to their communities.

A new study released by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Paying More for Being Poor: Bias and Disparity in California’s Traffic Court System, https://lccr.com/wp-content/uploads/LCCR-Report-Paying-More-for-Being-Poor-May-2017-5.4.17.pdf shows that Californians pay some of the highest fines and fees in the country – more than three times the national average for running a red light. The high fines and fees create hardships for many middle-class Californians, but they can be devastating to Californians with lower incomes. And new Bay Area data reveals that African-Americans are four to sixteen times more likely to be booked into county jail on a charge related to inability to pay a citation.

California has the opportunity to create permanent reforms to this inequitable system. In Governor Jerry Brown’s budget, he proposes to put an end to suspending driver licenses http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2017-18/pdf/BudgetSummary/PublicSafety.pdf just because someone cannot afford to pay. And two bills before the California Legislature (SB 185 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB185 and AB 412 http://cts.vresp.com/c/?LegalServicesforPris/6211c91da4/TEST/7c77ea8fd3/bill_id=201720180AB412 ) would address many of the disparities documented in Paying More for Being Poor.

California's traffic fines and fees are some of the highest in the country, and new data shows that current California policies disproportionately impact people of color. This report looks at the most recent information available on California's current traffic court system, evaluates its impact on communities of color, examines the statewide fiscal impacts of these policies and practices, and offers some recommendations for how California could improve its traffic court system to become a national model for change.

Californians who cannot afford to pay a fine for a traffic citation face harsher consequences than those who can: some Californians mail in a payment, while those who cannot pay experience license suspension, arrest, jail,wage garnishment, towing of their vehicles, and job loss—for the same minor offenses. In 2015, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reported that over 4 million driver licenses had been suspended in recent years for failure to pay or appear on a citation—affecting about one in six California drivers. In April 2017, a DMV point-in-time count showed that 588,939 Californians had lost their licenses because they could not pay or appear in court. To address this significant toll on Californians, Governor Jerry Brown signed an 18-month California Traffic Tickets / Infractions Amnesty Program that reduced fines on pre-2013 traffic tickets by 80% for indigent applicants and allowed people to get on payment plans to get their licenses back.1The program allowed nearly 200,000 people to regain their driver licenses. That program ended in April 2017.

California now faces the question of what to do next. With the expiration of the amnesty program, there is no longer a pathway by which people who cannot afford topay fines may pursue license reinstatement. Californians lose the ability to drive legally as a punishment for being unable to pay a fine without any statewide system to make the punishment fit a person's ability to pay or to return a license if the person can make small payments. California has the opportunity to create permanent reforms to this inequitable system. In this report, we present data about the scope of the problem with license suspensions and traffic courts in California and offer some recommendations for policy solutions. We focused our research in the nine Bay Area counties and created fiscal analyses for statewide policy. Findings of note include:

• California traffic fines andfees are some of highest in country. Although the base fines for California Vehicle Code violations may be lower or comparable to many other states', the add-on fees—and particularly the $300 late penalty—make California one of the states with the steepest fines.

• 78% of Californians need a driver license to work or to get to work, which means California's current policy of suspending licenses for non-payment is putting at risk the ability of many California families to support themselves.

• In Bay Area counties, license suspension for failure to pay or appear is exacerbating the racial bias already present in traffic stops. As data show, people of color are more likely to be subjected to traffic stops. Once stopped, people of color are also more likely to be booked on arrests related to failure to appear or failure to pay. The available county-level data shows that African-American people in particular are four to sixteen times more likely to be booked on arrests related to failure to pay an infraction ticket.

• Even though traffic court is the most common point of contact with the court system—60% of all court filings statewide are traffic or infraction citations—it is very difficult for someone who cannot afford to pay the full amount to resolve a ticket. None of the nine Bay Area counties surveyed had information about alternative options for low-incomepeople on their websites, available by phone, or in person at the court clerk's office.

• If California changes its policy and stops suspending licenses for failure to pay, economists estimate that the state would generate $70-140 million in additional tax revenue from people who would be able to work, or make more income, if they had a license. Additional related fiscal benefits to the state could include more sales tax revenue and reduced need for public benefits programs.

• If California adopts a statewide standard under which people are assessed fines that are within their ability to pay, new research shows that the state may actually collect more money, and from greater numbers of people, on delinquent fines. For example, the California Traffic Tickets / Infractions Amnesty Program collected over three times more delinquent debt per case ($151 per amnesty case) than other criminal court-ordered delinquent debt collections ($45 per case).

Based on the findings in this report, California could increase equity in the consequences for minor infractions, as well as improve traffic safety, by:

(1) Stopping the suspension of driver licenses for failure to pay a citation;

(2) Creating a statewide ability to pay standard to ensure proportionate fines;

(3) Providing greater access to ability to pay information, including easily accessible forms on which to submit a request, notices, and web-based information; and

(4) Making it unlawful to arrest or jail someone for failure to pay an infraction.

As a follow-up to the findings in this report, we plan to release a toolkit of sample forms and procedures for California courts. California could be a leader in the implementation of policies that are beginning to be adopted across the country. Cities like Biloxi, Mississippi, and Jennings, Texas, have required their courts to determine ability to pay before punishing people for minor offenses. Massachusetts has enacted legislation to end automatic license suspension for non-driving offenses2, and Maine's Legislature is considering a similar bill.3

In 2016, the United States Department of Justice issued a letter clarifying that courts have an affirmative obligation to "ensure fair and accurate assessments of defendants' ability to pay,"and in November 2016 again urged basic respect for the principle that people should not be punished—that is, not arrested, jailed, or given a suspended license—just because they cannot afford to pay.4 California has not—yet—reached that goal.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area works to advance, protect, and promote the legal rights of communities of color, and low-income persons, immigrants, and refugees.

https://www.lccr.com/programs/paying-poor-bias-disparity-californias-traffic-court-system/%C2%A0
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Local News

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

Last of California's nuclear power plants is on its way out J30 3:44PM

Patrisse Khan-Cullors explains why Black Lives Matter J26 7:02PM

Women's March L.A., 2018 J24 4:39PM

The case for US government sanctions on Israel J23 5:36PM

 Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 4 J22 9:07PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 3 J22 8:24PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 2 J22 7:36PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 1 J22 7:14PM

Women's Political Representation & Electoral Reform J21 12:43PM

Trial Starts for Woman with Erb’s Palsy Punched in Face Repeatedly by LAPD Officers J10 1:38PM

Dear District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Prosecute Killer Cops, Signed: Your Constituents J09 10:09PM

Great solidarity action today J06 10:22PM

Chris Ballew beat up by Pasadena police J05 5:01PM

Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey explains how the LAPD's Board of Rights hearings work J05 3:40PM

An Ex-Cop Talks About Police Shootings J05 3:39PM

Do Nukes Kill? J02 4:40PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Protest at Reem's Oakland F19 11:53AM

Sauve-qui-peut du gâchis F18 12:09AM

Talon de fer F17 1:50AM

The Shortwave Report 02/16/18 Listen Globally! F15 4:24PM

The judiciary could force America to solve the homeless crisis F15 9:56AM

The torrefied pellet plant will not be built on the Limousin mountain! F15 6:19AM

Endf Russophobia! Time for a New Detente Policy F15 4:27AM

Paraphysique du catastrophisme F14 11:22PM

Fbi & fmj are on a roll of domestic criminality F14 10:08PM

Baltimore police union balks at policy requiring officers to pay some legal damages themse F14 6:19PM

Researching Islamic Terrorism in Europe. F14 5:08PM

Asian American Stereotypes in Media F14 2:33PM

La diversité clonée F14 1:59AM

Forever Fierce Day F13 3:18AM

A l'époque du spectaculaire concentré et diffus ( Hommage à feu Michel Noury ) F12 10:34PM

Zombie Capitalism F12 4:07AM

L'empathie amputée F11 3:42PM

Paraphysique de l'argent F11 1:59AM

gerrymandering by republicans F09 8:41PM

New Law Provides Disaster Relief and Medicaid Funds for Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands F09 8:10AM

The Shortwave Report 02/09/18 Listen Globally! F08 4:08PM

Inamissible inanité F08 3:12PM

Baltimore Cops Kept Toy Guns to Plant Just in Case They Shot an Unarmed Person F08 12:50AM

Part 5: Honduras Coup Repeat Update: 16-31 January 201 F07 3:56PM

Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands Disaster Relief Hangs on Senate ‎Negotiations F07 7:56AM

Le fascisme du monde F06 11:24PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” with Voice Artist Rob Paulsen, Sun. Mar. 4th in Lake County F06 12:29PM

A Year of Trump and Right-wing Populism F05 4:30AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy