BayLegal and Partners Send Letter Demanding Sacramento County Superior Court End Unconstitutional Civil Assessment Fees

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BayLegal, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF), the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, and Legal Services of Northern California submitted a letter demanding that the Sacramento County Superior Court end $300 civil assessments. These civil assessments are fines for missing a payment deadline or court appearance for an infraction ticket and are often six times higher than the original fine. LCCRSF’s press release describes how these fines violate people’s constitutional rights because they deny fair hearing and do not account for people’s ability to pay, worsening existing inequalities:

“… civil assessments exacerbate poverty and racial inequality by subjecting those least able to pay their fines or appear in court to unnecessary and inordinately harsh punishment. Police issue citations to Black and Latinx people disproportionately and civil assessments exacerbate the disparity. Unhoused and unstably housed people, youth in foster care, and domestic violence survivors also face significant barriers to appearing in court or paying for a citation on time and are more susceptible to civil assessments.”

Read LCCRSF’s full press release here.