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Case Name Reynolds v. Judicial Correction Services CJ-AL-0010
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-00161 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On March 12, 2015, three residents of Clanton, Alabama, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiffs sued the Judicial Correction Services, Inc. ("JCS") and the City of Clanton. The ... read more >
On March 12, 2015, three residents of Clanton, Alabama, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. Represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiffs sued the Judicial Correction Services, Inc. ("JCS") and the City of Clanton. The plaintiffs filed their complaint pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1964(c) (RICO). They alleged that Clanton and JCS had entered into a contract where individuals who were unable to pay fines or court costs resulting from an arrest for a traffic violation or misdemeanor must enter "pay-only probation." Pay-only probation required these individuals to make regular payments to JCS and regularly report to a JCS employee in order to avoid being arrested again. The plaintiffs claimed that this effectively created a racketeering enterprise that extorted money from impoverished individuals under threat of jail and misused the criminal justice system for profit. As such, the plaintiffs requested declaratory and injunctive relief, voiding the contract between Clanton and JCS, as well as monetary damages. The case was assigned to Judge Myron Thompson.

The plaintiffs struggled to pay the monthly fees under the direct and indirect threats of incarceration by JCS employees. In order to pay, the plaintiffs skipped meals, stopped paying their other bills, and took out high-interest predatory loans.

On March 30, 2015, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint and also moved for class certification and a preliminary injunction. On April 21, 2015, both JCS and the City of Clanton moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction. The court denied this motion on April 28, 2015.

On June 16, 2015, the plaintiffs moved to dismiss the City of Clanton as a defendant, noting in an attached exhibit that the plaintiffs had reached a settlement agreement with Clanton. The agreement stipulated that Clanton had terminated its contract with JCS and that those with JCS pay-only probation would instead report directly to the Clanton Municipal Court. The agreement was set to be effective for five years. The settlement agreement required that if the City of Clanton enter into a contract with any probation-related or money-collection-related services within five years of June 16, 2015, the City must provide notice to the plaintiff's counsel. The plaintiffs waived any claim for costs or fees including attorney's fees in the settlement. On June 19, 2015, Judge Thompson entered a judgment dismissing the City of Clanton and denying the City's motion to dismiss as moot. The case against JCS continued. The plaintiffs also moved to withdraw their motion for a preliminary injunction and class certification, which the court granted on July 7, 2015.

On August 19, 2016, the plaintiffs filed notice that the parties had reached a settlement agreement in principle. The court stayed further proceedings on August 24, 2016, as the parties finalized their settlement agreement. In a status report filed on December 7, 2016, the parties indicated they had finalized a settlement agreement, which was awaiting approval by the Bankruptcy Court where a plaintiff currently had proceedings. The status report indicated the parties would file a stipulation of dismissal once the Bankruptcy Court approved the settlement.

In Bankruptcy Court, Judge Dwight H. Williams, Jr. approved a settlement agreement on December 8, 2016. The terms of the settlement agreement with JCS were confidential. Back in Civil District Court, on December 13, 2016, the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal. The court dismissed the case with prejudice the next day, December 14, 2016.

Following this suit, JCS was no longer being contracted by the state of Alabama. One hundred and fifteen other U.S. cities stopped contracting with JCS as well after the foreign company was identified as a predatory and illegal business.

The settlement was ongoing and set to expire in June 2020. As of April 7 2021, there had been no additional activity and the case is presumably closed.

John He - 10/19/2015
Virginia Weeks - 02/04/2018
Emma Himes - 06/01/2020

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief request withdrawn/mooted
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Discharge & termination plans
Over/Unlawful Detention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq.
Defendant(s) City of Clanton
Judicial Correction Services, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Three residents of Clanton, Alabama who were subject to "pay-only probation" administered by Judicial Correction Services, Inc.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Mooted before ruling
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2015 - 2020
Filed 03/12/2015
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
M.D. Ala.
CJ-AL-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
M.D. Ala.
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-AL-0010-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
M.D. Ala.
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 11]
CJ-AL-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. Ala.
Judgment [ECF# 55]
CJ-AL-0010-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Coody, Charles S. (M.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
Thompson, Myron Herbert (N.D. Ala., M.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0010-0004 | CJ-AL-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brooke, Samuel (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0010-0001 | CJ-AL-0010-0002 | CJ-AL-0010-9000
Restrepo, Valentina (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0010-0002 | CJ-AL-0010-9000
Short, Caren E. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Wang, Ivy (Alabama) show/hide docs
Zampierin, Sara (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0010-0002 | CJ-AL-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, Lewis Conrad IV (Alabama) show/hide docs
Espy, Chase T (Alabama) show/hide docs
Jackson, Michael Leon (Alabama) show/hide docs
Kinney, Richard Warren (Alabama) show/hide docs
Logsdon, Larry Stephen (Alabama) show/hide docs
Porter, James Wallace II (Alabama) show/hide docs
Tankersley, Will Hill (Alabama) show/hide docs
Winborn, Wesley Kyle (Alabama) show/hide docs

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