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Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 3:11pm

Suit Says DeKalb Court Practices Unjustly Target The Poor

A federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta accuses DeKalb County of unfairly targeting the poor with court fine collection practices.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit Thursday on behalf of a DeKalb County man it says was jailed after he was unable to pay more than $800 in fines and fees stemming from a traffic ticket within 30 days of sentencing.

County spokesman Burke Brennan said he couldn't comment on pending litigation.

The ACLU argues the county is violating the 14th Amendment by locking people up for failure to pay court fines without first considering whether the person is able to pay, efforts made to get money and alternatives to incarceration.

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and seeks damages.