Louisiana Judges’ Power Over Court Debts Unconstitutional

Aug. 23, 2019, 8:58 PM

“The temptation is too great” to give judges on a Louisiana court authority over how court fines they impose are spent, the Fifth Circuit affirmed Aug. 23.

The Orleans Parish Criminal District Court’s policy violates the due process rights of criminal defendants who are charged the fines, Judge James E. Graves Jr. wrote for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

As a result of the trial court’s ruling that the policy is unconstitutional, the judges recalled all active fines and wrote off about $1 million in court debts.

Several criminal defendants filed a civil rights class action...

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