Traffic ‘Debtors Prison’ Decried As California Courts Struggle

The San Diego Reader has a story up about how Orange County created a revenue-generating operation from traffic fines, collecting “bail” up front to both discourage challenges and assure court attendance. As with other areas around the nation, the traffic court has become a focal point in both terms of race and ability to pay.

Ken Harrison’s story in the Reader quotes Bill Niles, president of the California Traffic School Association, saying, “This was unconstitutional. Nobody should have to pay the fine before seeing a judge. People have had their cars taken away and their driver’s licenses suspended just because they couldn’t pay the fines. It was like debtors’ prison.”

Read the story here.