Partner J. Alexander Lawrence, along with the Arkansas ACLU and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, successfully reached a settlement with Sherwood District Court over its alleged “hot check” practice of incarcerating misdemeanor offenders for failing to pay court fines without taking into account the defendants’ ability to make payment.
“Our clients are very happy to see the court’s practices stop. This was never about money. The goal was to get changes in the court, and that’s what we got,” he said in the Bloomberg BNA article “Arkansas ‘Debtors’ Prison’ Case Settles With New Court Procedures.” “The act of filing the case itself shined a light on the problem.” This case may send a message to “other courts around the country preying on poor people, knowing that they may be next.”
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