University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Mitchell v. City of Montgomery CJ-AL-0007
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-00186 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization Equal Justice Under Law
Case Summary
On March 8th, 2014, several citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, who had been imprisoned for failing to pay traffic fines, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. §1983, against the City of Montgomery, Alabama. The plaintiffs, represented by Equal ... read more >
On March 8th, 2014, several citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, who had been imprisoned for failing to pay traffic fines, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. §1983, against the City of Montgomery, Alabama. The plaintiffs, represented by Equal Justice Under Law and private counsel, asked the court for a declaratory judgment that the plaintiffs' rights were violated, compensation for the damages caused by the city's conduct, and attorneys' fees. The plaintiffs alleged they did not have the ability to pay for the traffic tickets and that the City should not have imprisoned them for failing to pay the traffic tickets when they did not attempt to determine whether the plaintiffs had an ability to pay.

On May 1, 2014, the District Court (Judge Mark E. Fuller) granted a motion for a preliminary injunction. The injunction enjoins the city from attempting to collect monies owed to the city associated with traffic tickets by the plaintiffs. The city is also required to submit a comprehensive plan on how they will determine an individual's ability to pay for traffic fines. The last action in this case, on August 21, 2014, was the District Court (Judge Myron H. Thompson) extending the injunction until the court orders a change.

Steve Vnuk - 09/25/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Courts
Placement in detention facilities
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Montgomery
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were jailed for an inability to pay traffic tickets.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Equal Justice Under Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:14-cv-00186-MEF-CSC (M.D. Ala.) 09/17/2014
CJ-AL-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/18/2014
CJ-AL-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Prelimary Injunction Order 05/01/2014 (M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Coody, Charles S. (M.D. Ala.) [Magistrate]
CJ-AL-0007-9000
Fuller, Mark E. (M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0007-0002 | CJ-AL-0007-9000
Thompson, Myron Herbert (N.D. Ala., M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0007-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
CJ-AL-0007-9000
McGuire, Joseph Mitchell (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0007-9000
Swerdlin, Matthew (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0007-0001 | CJ-AL-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Holliday, Shannon L. (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0007-9000
Segall, Robert D. (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0007-9000
Smithee, Stephanie L (Alabama)
CJ-AL-0007-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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