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Government and Politics

Ohio Supreme Court issues "bench card" against debtors' prison
The high court and the American Civil Liberties Union worked together to create a plan to end debtors' prisons in Ohio

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor issued the new "bench card" with instructions on how to avoid sending people who aren't financially able to pay their court fines to debtors' prison.
Courtesy of Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court sent a stern warning Wednesday to all Ohio judges not to wrongly punish people who are unable to pay court fines.

Maureen O’Connor issued a new “bench card” with instructions on how to avoid sending people to debtors’ prison when they’re in financial straits.   The high court worked with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio to create a plan to end debtors’ prisons in the state. ACLU of Ohio’s Mike Brickner says the “bench card” is the first of its kind in the country.

LISTEN: Mike Bricker on the new "bench card"

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“I think what’s really wonderful and unique about what the Ohio Supreme Court did is they issued something for all the courts and I think will be making a much broader push on all of the municipal courts," Brickner says. "But unfortunately it’s not a perfect silver bullet because we still have these mayor’s courts that I think that we in Ohio are going to have to address.”

Brickner says mayor’s courts are different than municipal courts because they have no sitting judge and the Ohio Supreme Court has little jurisdiction over them.
Listener Comments:

It a great step forward towards bringing equality to all in the judicial system if only more was done for the indigent especially as it relates To Pro Se representation in pleas, complaints and agurements in a court of law and more accountability for court appointed counsels

Posted by: Rhonda L. Hills (United States) on February 6, 2014 3:02AM
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