Since 2015, the most vulnerable residents of Newark, Arkansas have fallen prey to a ruthless scheme that is evicting them from their homes. During a time where these families deserve a warm sanctuary in which to gather, many are facing eviction and mounting debt.
As of January 2018, over 1.4 million Texans had suspended licenses for failure to pay additional surcharges on a ticket for a driving infraction. Equal Justice Under Law has filed a lawsuit against Governor Greg Abbot and Texas’ Department of Public Safety to end this program once and for all and help affected Texans escape a cycle of poverty.
Between 2011 and 2016, Pennsylvania suspended the licenses of over 149,000 individuals as an additional punishment for non-driving-related drug convictions. Now, nine months after EJUL filed a class action lawsuit against the counterproductive practice, Pennsylvania has abolished it.
Criminal hearings are supposed to be free and public, but in Dallas, Texas — where thousands of individuals remain locked up because they cannot afford bail — bail hearings are held in secrecy behind closed doors.
On October 3, 2018, Executive Director Phil Telfeyan appeared before a panel of judges from the Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals to argue that the district court properly enjoined Michigan’s Secretary of State from automatically suspending the licenses of Michigan residents who cannot afford to pay their court fines and fees.
Complaints from Equal Justice Under Law have prompted investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice into racial discrimination in bail systems across the country. This month, EJUL formally requested that OJP address extreme pretrial racial disparities in Prince George’s County.
"That contract has spiraled out of control into a scheme of extortion," Telfeyan said. "What's happening is people are being assigned by the county to LCA and LCA is threatening to jail folks if they can't afford to pay."