Law enforcement for profit roundup

  • Kentucky: “The day before the deal was offered, prosecutors also indicted Card’s wife, mother and father. If Card gave up the cash, the written plea offer said, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office would drop their charges, too.” [Jacob Ryan, WFPL] Same state, different case: “Conviction Or Not, Seized Cash Is ‘Cost of Doing Business’ In Louisville” [Jacob Ryan, Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting]
  • Judge in New York: “Suffolk County may not charge $80 to resolve a $50 red light camera ticket.” [The Newspaper]
  • “Civil Forfeiture Disenfranchises the Poor” [Cato Daily Podcast with South Carolina lawmaker Alan Clemmons and Caleb Brown] “Class-Action Lawsuit Challenges Detroit’s Asset Forfeiture Racket” [C.J. Ciaramella, Reason]
  • “Father and adult daughter sue feds over confiscated life savings” [Theresa Braine, New York Daily News]
  • “Free to Drive: States punish poverty by suspending millions of driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees” How about reserving license suspensions for instances of actual unsafety? [advocacy site with maps and more; related, Tachana Marc, Florida Policy Institute; New York state advocacy site]
  • “Missouri Cops Used Federal Loophole To Seize $2.6 Million From Drivers Who They Never Charged With Crimes” [Zuri Davis]


  • There is no justification for charging the family members of an accused and saying the charges will be dropped if the first person pleads guilty/forfeits money. Either those family members did something wrong and need to be punished, or they didn’t. Whether the first person pleads guilty/forfeits cash has nothing to do with it.

    This is extortion. This should be illegal. The prosecutor should be facing prison.

  • I checked out the “Free to Drive” site. I looked at what it said for my state; it was in red and said “The state does still suspend, revoke, and/or not allow driver’s license renewal for failure to pay fines and fees.”

    I then looked at the citation for statutory authority. It listed a statute saying a license could be suspended for nonpayment of fines and fees – IF the charge was related to the violator’s operation of a motor vehicle. Also, the person will be placed on an installment plan which takes their income into account, if they can’t pay due to poverty.

    I don’t see anything wrong with that. If you get caught speeding and you’re in poverty, what exactly are we supposed to do to deter you from doing it again? We can fine you (with a payment plan), imprison you, or suspend your license. Which would you prefer?

  • Illinois has started charging a fee if you want to challenge a traffic ticket. No fee if you pay the fine. Extortion.

    • cc–

      I respectfully disagree. It is like plea-bargaining, (but if the motorist who appeals wins his case, he should get his filing fee back.)

      • I’m going to have to disagree Hugo. We keep hearing that identification for voting discriminates against minorities. One of the reasons given is that the cost of an ID is excessive. Now we have a fee to challenge a traffic ticket, wouldn’t that discriminate against people who can’t afford the fee? Following the voter ID logic wouldn’t that be primarily minorities? Wouldn’t that deny them a chance for justice?

        In some areas of Illinois the majority of traffic violations would be committed by minorities. Wouldn’t that make the fee racist?

        Just playing devil’s advocate.