Politics

Feb 25, 2014 3:34 PM by David Randall

First hearing on bill addressing jail for fines

DENVER (AP) - Colorado lawmakers will debate a bill that tries to address concerns over poor people being jailed for failing to pay court fines.

The proposal was prompted by research from the American Civil Liberties Union that found it is common for municipal courts to issue warrants for failure to pay. It's a practice the ACLU says is unconstitutional.

The bill would direct municipal courts to inform defendants that they have a right to show evidence of their inability to pay a fine.

The Colorado Municipal League opposes the bill. The group says it goes too far by putting the burden on courts to prove someone is willfully disobeying an order.

The House Judiciary Committee will hear the proposal Tuesday afternoon.

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