14 August 2004

No More Jail for Debt

Federal Judge J. Daniel Breen said that arrests for not paying court fines or civil judgements "violate the 13th Amendment ban on slavery and involuntary servitude." At least in Tennessee.

That's an amazing decision. If applicable to Virginia (figure the odds) it would have all sorts of implications. No more show causes for failure to pay fines. Maybe all the stores who cash questionable checks would have to stop using the courts as their collection agencies. It might even call into question the gazillion convictions each year for driving suspended after Virginia has taken people's licenses for not paying their fines within 15 days.

To dream the impossible dream . . .

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