Any legal system must avoid penalizing people for being poor. But many municipal courts struggle with defendants who blow off their hearings and fees.
A black mayor of another small Missouri town defended his own town’s traffic and court fees to The New York Times in March: “Everyone’s saying, ‘Oh, no, that city’s just taking advantage of the poor.’ When did the poor get the right to commit crimes?”
Under the disparate-impact analysis of racism, however, being poor and black can work as a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Officer Michael Slager’s execution-style murder of Walter Scott in North Charleston, SC, this month appears to be a horrific act of police brutality.
But it’s being bootstrapped to argue against child-support enforcement in the case of poor, often minority, deadbeat dads.