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'More specific' declaration against jailing indigents sought

5 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Saturday, March 02 2019 Mar 2, 2019 March 02, 2019 12:23 PM March 02, 2019 in News
Source: Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Civil rights attorneys want a federal judge to send a clearer, stronger message to state judges in New Orleans: People facing jail for court debts must get a fair chance to show whether they are able to pay.
  
It's the latest wrinkle in an ongoing 2015 lawsuit that accused New Orleans criminal courts of running what amounts to a "debtor's prison."  
U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance declared last year that it's unconstitutional for New Orleans judges to jail people without inquiring about their ability to pay court debts.
  
Civil rights groups cite a recent case in which a woman was jailed without sufficient chance to demonstrate her financial limits. They've asked Vance to issue a more specific ruling, calling for "meaningful" inquiries with advance notice to defendants.

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