[Ed. – So why should anyone else have to pay traffic penalties? Why should anyone else continue to submit to such a corrupt, unequal system at all? Here’s a thought: lower the fines and penalties. And if traffic offenders have to literally pay money just to get a hearing, change that! A situation like that is unjust for everyone — not just the poor.]
Calling California’s traffic court system a “hellhole of desperation” for the poor, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing an amnesty program for residents who can’t afford to pay off spiraling fines and penalties that have resulted in 4.8 million driver’s license suspensions since 2006.
The push by the Democratic governor spotlights concern among lawmakers and court administrators that California’s justice system is profiting off minorities and low-income residents. It’s a civil rights issue that has prompted discussions between the Brown administration and the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the governor’s spokesman, Evan Westrup. …
Traffic fines have been skyrocketing in California and courts have grown reliant on fees as a result of budget cuts during the recession.
Twenty years ago, the fine for running a red light was $103. Today, it costs as much as $490 as the state has established add-on fees to support everything from court construction to emergency medical air transportation. The cost can jump to over $800 once a person fails to pay or misses a traffic court appearance.
Civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have found that some traffic courts routinely deny people a hearing unless they pay the amount owed up front. The debt also has to be paid off in order for their licenses to be reinstated.