Lawsuit: Bail 'scheme' keeps poor people jailed for months

AP News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2017 11:50 AM

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A federal lawsuit claims court officials in a Louisiana community often keep poor people jailed for months for no reason other than they can't afford bail.

Civil rights lawyers sued the sheriff who oversees the Lafayette Parish's jail, a state judge and another court official responsible for setting bail amounts for people arrested in Lafayette, Vermilion and Acadia parishes. The suit accuses them of running a "wealth-based detention scheme" that violates the civil rights of impoverished people.

Attorneys from the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center filed the class action Monday on behalf of a man arrested Saturday on a theft charge. The suit says Edward Little doesn't have the $375 necessary to secure his release.

The three defendants didn't immediately respond to calls seeking comment.