|November 12, 2009||Talladega Judicial Services, Unconstitutionally Robbing the Poor?|
I have spent 25 years living in Talladega. I have recently moved because of the corruption. Each week I will Post a new blog to expose the things that have been brought to my attention. I will post only facts no speculation!
TOPIC 1: City probation for traffic violations
As our country economy worsen and unemployment is at record highs, the city of Talladega continues to charge citizens that can not afford to immediately pay off fines for minor traffic violations a $35 monthly probation fee. The average speeding ticket is around $150. If the fine is not paid at the time of the court appearance the plaintiff is then put on probation (Is this American, your punishment depends on how much money you have?). A $35 fee then occurs, raising the new balance to $185. If this individual can only afford to pay $50 a month by the time he pays the $150 fine, he will have accumulated $340 in fees. The $150 fines has now become $500. (In essence it converts to an interest rate of 24% for speeding or no turn signal)
This system also perpetually puts an unemployed person on probation. If the plaintiff can only pay $35 a month he will be on probation forever! This is particularly upsetting because the maximum amount of probation time for a felony conviction is 5 years, regardless of the amount due on the fines. Probation and amount owed are independent of each other. If the plaintiff owes 100% of his fines on the probation EOS (End of Sentence) date, he's probation is still completed.
In felony cases probation fees and fines are paid at different places and the plaintiff has a choice of which he chooses to pay. At the Talladega Judicial Center the choice is made for the plaintiff.
At a time when unemployment is out of control and drug use is rampant in our community, the oppression of the poor is not the answer. This fee is basically a tax or interest on the poor and unemployed. To put someone on probation immediately for a traffic violation is absurd. The probation should not occur until at least one scheduled payment has been missed.
P.S. Need help with further investigation, please send any info.
It was recently brought to my attention that the probation officer (which is suppose to be state certified, but is not in Talladega) that collects the most money in a given time period wins some kind of price. To my understanding it was some kind of trip. This is not verified, I am simply asking the community to help investigates this. This is our tax dollars at waste! This money conned from the poor could go to better use!!