Post-Ferguson Reform Continues To Focus On Courts, Traffic

A new report released by a coalition of legal aid groups in California is the latest documentation of how local governments’ quest for traffic-ticket funds has skewed the judicial landscape. The Los Angeles Times notes that the report “… comes a month after the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division issued its report on Ferguson, Mo., which criticized similar practices for their disparate effect on low-income and largely minority populations.”

The report says that “… traffic-court fines layered with escalating fees and penalties have led to driver’s license suspensions for 4.2 million Californians — or one in six drivers — pushing many low-income people deeper into poverty…”

“As in Ferguson,” the California report noted, “these policies disproportionately impact people of color, beginning with who gets pulled over in the first place.” Reformers are calling for, among other things, an end to license suspensions for unpaid tickets and a reduction in fees and penalties.

Read the LAT story here.