Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods, the East Bay Community Law Center, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and other groups told the board that the fees should be eliminated because they create a long-term financial burden for low-income people who already served time for their crimes but then have problems turning their lives around.
Listen to Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Brandon Greene and Noe Gudiño discuss the impacts of administrative criminal justice fees and fines on formerly incarcerated individuals as they try to move on with their lives after serving time.
The supervisors ultimately moved all three forward when attorneys from the East Bay Community Law Center argued that ability-to-pay assessments were often inconsistent. Brandon Greene, a staff attorney for the center, said the measure is the culmination of two years of public records requests and meetings with county officials.
Among the groups that are urging Alameda County to eliminate the court fees are the East Bay Community Law Center, a Berkeley-based legal services provider that represents low-income people, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a non-profit group based in Oakland.
The East Bay Community Law Center said today that it is seeking to convince Alameda County officials to eliminate administrative fees for people who are convicted of crimes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: East Bay Community Law Center attorneys, law students, and community partners advance legislation to end criminal justice fees in Alameda County
Tomorrow, the Alameda County Probation Department, Public Defenders Office, and the Sheriff’s Office will testify in front of the Public Protection Committee to urge the adoption of legislation that will eliminate criminal justice administration fees in Alameda County. The East Bay Community Law Center, a legal services provider serving low-income residents in Alameda County, along with the Policy Advocacy Clinic of U.C. Berkeley Law School, Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and the Urban Strategies Council, have been actively advocating for the elimination of these fees.
But in a state ravaged by wildfires, where firefighters’ overtime costs are soaring and backup from Australia had to be called in to help fight the Carr Fire near Redding, advocates for the formerly incarcerated like Vinuta Naik, a staff attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center, have a hard time understanding why firefighting agencies are turning away formerly incarcerated people with hands-on experience.
The East Bay Community Law Center, or EBCLC, announced Monday that the Alameda County Superior Court will use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “extremely low-income” standard to determine eligibility for applicants seeking reduced traffic infraction fines under the court’s Ability to Pay, or ATP, program.
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.