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Arkansas city’s hot-check court called debtor prison

August 24, 2016

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The hot-check division of Sherwood District Court and presiding Judge Milas Hale III have for years violated the civil rights of the poorest residents in Pulaski County through a “never-ending spiral of repetitive court proceedings and ever-increasing debt,” alleges a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Poor defendants say they face modern-day debtors’ prison

August 23, 2016

CBS News

Since writing a check for $28.93 five years ago that was returned for insufficient funds, Nikki Petree has been arrested seven times, served 25 days in jail and paid $640 to the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, and the local county court. And her legal problems continue: The 40-year-old mother is currently incarcerated because she is unable to pay what has ballooned into $2,656.93 in court costs, fines and fees.

Civil Rights Lawyers File Suit Against Alleged ‘Hot Check’ Court That Entraps Poor People

August 23, 2016


Earlier today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU of Arkansas, and law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, filed a class action civil rights suit that accuses a Sherwood, Arkansas, courthouse of jailing residents for their inability to pay fines and fees associated with low-level offenses or misdemeanors. The suit also names Pulaski County and Arkansas judge, Milas Hale, III.

Civil rights groups accuse Arkansas city of running ‘debtors prison’

August 23, 2016


Civil rights groups filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday accusing a small Arkansas city of running what they said amounted to a modern day debtors prison where a local court imposed inordinate fees on the poor and jailed them if they did not pay.

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