After Sandy Martinez got a ticket from Lantana, Florida, for parking her car with its wheels slightly outside her driveway and on the grass in her yard, she didn’t know that she was being fined a whopping $250 per day by the town. Weeks later, when she learned about the fines, the bill had accrued to an eye-watering $101,750, and she realized that a harmless code violation had brought her to the brink of financial ruin. In today’s episode, we talk about how and why cities rely on fines and fees for revenue, the ways these systems are deeply problematic, and what courts can do to enforce constitutional protections for all Americans.
Download the transcript here. This transcript was originally generated via AI, but lightly edited by an IJer. Please excuse the occasional typo.