Furthermore, collection agencies are not bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which protects consumers from various forms of threat and harassment, because court debts are considered “involuntary.” As a result of this loophole, said Miguel Soto, an attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, “We’ve had clients tell us that the [debt collector] they’re dealing with is threatening them with violence, imprisonment, or, in some occasions, deportation.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making fine reduction more accessible to low-income residents.
Monday, June 25, 2018: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: The Superior Court of Alameda County has revised its criteria for low-income applicants seeking a fine reduction for traffic infractions, making the Court’s fine reduction program more accessible to low-income residents.
The clinic is run by the Center’s Clean Slate Practice, which focuses on “the decriminalization of poverty,” according to Brandon Greene, one of its lead attorneys. Some of Greene’s colleagues do post-conviction work, helping to seal arrest records, reduce probation, and help people who’ve been denied employment because of criminal backgrounds. But Greene’s clients are facing a particular set of issues: court-ordered debt related to things like traffic violations and parking tickets.
“A lot of (prison) programs actually train people how to do these jobs, how to have a career in this, without telling them they’ll be banned from getting the license,” said Jael Myrick, a Richmond city councilman and program coordinator of the Clean Slate Program at the East Bay Community Law Center, which is sponsoring the bills. “That’s the issue we’re trying to fix.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Alameda County Superior Court Recalls More Than 83,000 DMV Driver License Holds, Paving the Way to Economic Security and Opportunity for Residents
November 28, 2017: Alameda County Superior Court has recalled over 83,000 DMV Failure to Pay (FTP) driver license holds to comply with newly enacted legislation Assembly Bill 103.
Alameda County Superior Court Reverses License Suspensions for Nearly 54,000 Drivers Who Couldn’t Afford to Pay Traffic Fines
Phan worked with staff attorney Theresa Zhen for months before he was finally able to get his license back, just before the passage of AB 103. “None of these things happen in a vacuum,” Zhen said. “It takes a movement of lawyers, community groups, and people who are brave enough to tell their story.”
SAN FRANCISCO—California Governor Edmund G. Brown signed Senate Bill 393 on October 11, the Consumer Arrest Record Equity (C.A.R.E.) Act, to seal arrest records and halt barriers to employment and housing for individuals arrested, but never convicted of a crime. The CARE Act, which was signed into law by the governor, was authored by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and was sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. The law goes into effect January 1, 2018.
Coalition Hails Governor For Signing Historic Juvenile Justice Reform Bill, And Calls For An Immediate End To All Juvenile Fee Assessments And Collections
SACRAMENTO—Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 190, a major, bipartisan juvenile justice reform bill that will improve youth rehabilitation and increase public safety. Effective January 1, 2018, SB 190 ends the harmful, unlawful and costly practice of charging administrative fees to families with youth in the juvenile system.
Around the country, juvenile defense lawyers and law students have begun to challenge this billing system, arguing that it is akin to taxing parents for their child’s loss of liberty.[…]In California, grassroots activists teamed up with lawyers at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley to bar the imposition of the fees in several counties.
“Our clients are routinely denied jobs and licenses based on non-conviction arrests,” said Sarah Crowley, Director of the Clean Slate Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center. “This bill’s expanded sealing remedy will help ensure that people are not penalized for criminal justice contacts that have no bearing on their ability or character.”