“Charged a Fee for Getting Arrested, Whether Guilty or Not”

How clever of the Times to sneak this story in between the Big Eat days of Christmas and New Year’s. Because it’s nauseating, almost too much to bear. So consider it a healthy purge of your innards.

Here’s a taste (keeping with the food analogy) of what you’re about to learn from Adam Liptak’s piece.

WASHINGTON — Corey Statham had $46 in his pockets when he was arrested in Ramsey County, Minn., and charged with disorderly conduct. He was released two days later, and the charges were dismissed.

But the county kept $25 of Mr. Statham’s money as a “booking fee.” It returned the remaining $21 on a debit card subject to an array of fees. In the end, it cost Mr. Statham $7.25 to withdraw what was left of his money.

The Supreme Court will soon consider whether to hear Mr. Statham’s challenge to Ramsey County’s fund-raising efforts, which are part of a national trend to extract fees and fines from people who find themselves enmeshed in the criminal justice system.

And here’s the link to Sarah Stillman’s penetrating, brilliant New York article, “Taken,” on this dreadful, criminal and Orwellian business of civil forfeiture.

I’m glad this case is going to SCOTUS. Maybe we can expect a sane decision from the remaining eight–a decision that will stop this municipal crime from happening around the country.

Maybe then municipalities will find it necessary to recall that, before Reagan, the way they should be funding their services is…taxes! On taxpayers.

How radical! How mod!

The Supreme Court will weigh hearing a challenge to a Minnesota county’s policy of charging “booking fees” — a growing trend in strapped municipalities.

Source: Charged a Fee for Getting Arrested, Whether Guilty or Not – The New York Times

UPDATE 5:49 pm. Just picked this note up from SCOTUSBlog:

In The New York Times, Adam Liptak looks at Mickelson v. County of Ramsey, a pending cert petition challenging a Colorado county’s imposition of “booking fees” on people who are arrested, even if no charges are ever filed, noting that an “unusual coalition of civil rights organizations, criminal defense lawyers and conservative and libertarian groups have challenged these sorts of policies, saying they confiscate private property without constitutional protections and lock poor people into a cycle of crimes, debts and jail.”

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