November 15, 2023
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Fines & Fees in NY. It's Not Just Ferguson.

After a police officer killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, a Department of Justice investigation revealed that the police department there had engaged in racially discriminatory, aggressive policing practices driven in part by its reliance on fines and fees for revenue. Research since then has revealed that the problem goes far beyond Ferguson. Across the country and New York State, the pursuit and collection of fines and fees by law enforcement and the judiciary is often racially biased, imposed disproportionately on the poorest and most vulnerable communities, destructive for families, grossly inefficient as a solution to budget needs, and a powerful source of injustice. Lauren Jones, Legal & Policy Director of the National Center for Access to Justice, will lead this important public conversation about the harsh consequences of fines and fees, the campaign for change in New York State (including the End Predatory Court Fees Act), and the organized efforts that are  dedicated to reversing these destructive policies in New York and across the nation.


Lauren Jones, Legal and Policy Director, National Center for Access to Justice


Zach Ahmad, Senior Policy Counsel, New York Civil Liberties Union

Antonya Jeffrey, New York State Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center

Andre Ward, Associate Vice President of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy, The Fortune Society

Claudia Wilner, Director of Litigation and Advocacy, National Center for Law and Economic Justice

Recent Articles

Rikers and Mental Illness

Join us on September 13th at 6:30 pm as NCAJ's Legal & Policy Director Lauren Jones leads this panel of NYC leaders in this timely and critical conversation...

In NY Times Op Ed, NCAJ asks "What's Wrong with Getting a Little Free Legal Advice"

NCAJ Executive Director David Udell and Fordham Law Prof. Bruce Green describe in their New York Times Op Ed why the First Amendment protects the freedom of a reverend in the South Bronx to talk with community residents about the basic problems of everyday life including by advising them on how to complete court forms provided by the New York Courts for use by lay people.

New Findings on Fines & Fees Policies, Released Today by the National Center for Access to Justice, Rank the States & Provide a 50-State Policy Reform Agenda

In 2016, a court in Lexington County, South Carolina ordered Twanda Marshinda Brown, a single mother who worked at Burger King, to pay $2,300 for two traffic offenses. Although she told the court she could only afford to pay $50 each month, the judge ordered her to pay $100 in monthly installments. Ms. Brown managed to make the payments for five months but she fell behind when her son was hospitalized and several checks from her employer bounced. The sheriff’s office ...

NCAJ Files Amicus Brief to Protect Access to Justice for Indigent People in Prison

On June 25 the National Center for Access to Justice filed a brief as lead amicus (“friend of the court”) in Rosa v. Doe in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On behalf of nine organizations, the amicus brief urges the Circuit Court to guide its federal district courts on how to ensure that people in state prison are not forced by substantial federal court filing fees to choose between pursuing justice in court and covering their “necessary expenses” including their expenditures for family members.