Cities Caught Extracting Millions From Residents Through Fines and Fees Traps

In Episode 30 of Deep Dive, we talked about how fines for harmless property code violations could snowball into six-figure debt. All too often, municipalities set up these “taxation by citation” schemes to bolster city budgets—not protect public health and safety. Schemes like this are rife with due process problems, and in today’s episode, we discuss the way Kafka-esqe code enforcement systems in many cities make it very easy to incur ever increasing amounts of fines and fees—while erecting barriers that make it very difficult to challenge them. We’ll also talk about what the Constitution means when it guarantees due process and IJ’s legal strategy for tackling abusive fines and fees regimes.

Recent Episodes

January 05, 2022

When Can Your Past Bar You From a Job—And When Should It?

In Virginia, any one of 176 so-called barrier crimes can disqualify a person from work in certain occupations for life—no matter how old the conviction, how unrelated it is to the work the person desires to do, or how little it reflects the person’s fitness today. These laws kept IJ client Rudy Carey from fulfilling work as a substance abuse counselor for people he is uniquely fit to help. In today’s show, we talk about what happened to Rudy and how he is fighting against collateral consequences laws that are irrational and unjust.

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