EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA - FEDERAL
Alana Cain et al v. City of new Orleans et al
Federal Ct - Eastern District of Louisiana at New Orleans
- Indigent people who cannot afford to pay illegal fees and court costs sue the very judges and court officials who impose the costs, then jail and harass them for non-payment. (The so-called "Unlawful Debtor's Prison" case)
6 named plaintiffs bring a civil class action suit against the City of New Orleans, The New Orleans Criminal District Court and all 13 of its state judges, and several others to put an end here to the allegedly unconstitutional system of setting bonds, penalties, fines and fees in the criminal courts. The suit is a class action for the benefit of the yet unnamed but potentially scores of others suffering the same wrongs as the named plaintiffs - all of whom are impoverished and unable to pay the escalating fees and so-called "court costs." And all of whom have been punished with unlawful fees and costs, and jailed for non-payment, as a method of the court system funding itself. (Charging the defendants who are supposed to be rendering justice with instead imposing illegal monetary punishments in order to pay their own salaries and benefits.) The suit asks a Federal court judge to declare that the defendants' scheme is illegal, to prohibit them from continuing it, to pay monetary damages to the victims, and to pay the legal costs for bringing and trying this complex and nationally significant lawsuit.