Due Process in a Fee-Driven State

26 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2020 Last revised: 21 Sep 2020

See all articles by Penny White

Penny White

University of Tennessee College of Law

Glenn Harlan Reynolds

University of Tennessee College of Law

Date Written: September 14, 2020

Abstract

Inspired by the Justice Department's report on criminal law enforcement and the use of courts as a revenue-generation machine in Ferguson, Missouri, we address the widespread problem of policing for profit in light of two classic Supreme Court cases on due process, and two very recent Court of Appeals cases that focus specifically on the due process implications of a justice system dependent for funding on those people it "serves." we argue that when everyone participating in the justice system is aware that the system itself depends on sufficient revenue from fines, fees, and forfeitures, that very dependency is a conflict of interest sufficient to violate due process rights. In this short article, we will look briefly at the history and law of judicial independence, after which we will describe the extent to which the modern judicial system – and, indeed, the entire law enforcement apparatus – depends upon extracting money from a steady stream of individuals who appear before it creating an untenable vested interest in charging and collecting and resulting in a fundamentally unfair system. We then offer a number of solutions, and find Supreme Court support for our approach in a surprising place.

Suggested Citation

White, Penny and Reynolds, Glenn Harlan, Due Process in a Fee-Driven State (September 14, 2020). University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 399, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3692107 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3692107

Penny White

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

Glenn Harlan Reynolds (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996-1810
United States
865-974-6744 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,415
Abstract Views
4,302
rank
14,479
PlumX Metrics