Law enforcement for profit roundup

  • In Mississippi, a “mother has been forbidden from any contact with her newborn for 14 of the 18 months the child has been alive” because of unpaid misdemeanor fines [Radley Balko, WLBT/MSNewsNow; judge has now resigned, but similar practices reported to be common] Is Biloxi going to do better? [ABA Journal]
  • “They … didn’t give it back”: outrageous tales of asset forfeiture from Alabama [Connor Sheets,]
  • Efforts afoot in Lansing to write down nearly $595 million in unpaid Michigan drivers’ fees [Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business] Warren, Mich., residents invited to turn in neighbors on suspicion, win bounties from forfeiture funds [Scott Shackford]
  • Ethical red flags: maker of heroin-cessation compound “marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials.” [Jake Harper, NPR]
  • In Craighead County, Arkansas, private probation firms sue judges who cut them out of the process [Andrew Cohen, The Marshall Project]
  • From Ohio “mayor’s courts” to asset forfeiture, prosecution for profit imperils due process [Jacob Sullum]


  • Re: Judge in Mississippi—the problem, of course, is that he will never be punished for his misconduct. He won’t go to prison or anything like that.

  • “It’s really hard to fight the system. If it was a private citizen who stole your things, you could go get your things, or in the olden days you could get your shotgun and pay the thief a visit and say, ‘give me my stuff back.’ But you can’t do that in this case because it’s the police.”

    Let that sink in.

  • is the probation company in Arkasas suing only for the breach of its existing contracts with probationers or is it claiming that the judges are obligated to continue to assign probationers to it? The former has some plausibility, the latter much less.

    • If I’m reading the article from The Marshall Project correctly, both.

    • Not sure that even the former has plausibility. The company has no right to the use of the criminal enforcement machinery.

  • Private probation firm in Craighead County, Arkansas–

    Their Federal lawsuit against the reform judges asserts a “property” interest in the peonage of the poor. I thought that sort of “property” was banned by the Thirteenth Amendment.

    The Federal judge should throw this suit out on Eighth (“excessive fines”), Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. But I would like him to encourage
    “The Justice Network” to sue the politicians and judges who signed this deal *personally* for “fraud”– taking TJN’s money for a blatantly unConstitutional “consideration.” Soak them for damages, punitive damages, and accumulated “costs.” Let these cruel and evil men spend the rest of their own lives rotating between homeless shelters and debtors’ prison.