Feb 17, 2014 9:26 AM by Bethany Rhodes

Jail for fines? Colo. lawmaker wants to end policy

DENVER (AP) - A Colorado lawmaker concerned about poor people being jailed for failing to pay court fines is trying to pass legislation to address the issue.

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.

Thornton Rep. Joe Salazar and the ACLU say it's unconstitutional to jail people who are too poor to pay a fine.

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.


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