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.