America’s criminal justice system targets the poor, who face an outsized risk of being fined, arrested and incarcerated for even minor offenses.
Once ensnared by the criminal justice system, people who cannot afford to pay for their freedom remain trapped behind bars, separated from family, jobs and communities.
We represent those directly harmed by these discriminatory practices and go to court to demand accountability and reform.
City of Pearl Youth Court
Unlawful Fees and Fines
After contacting the MacArthur Justice Center, Mississippi Director Cliff Johnson conducted an investigation. We learned that Judge Shirley had imposed countless similar orders, cruelly conditioning custody or visitation rights on monetary payments that parents sometimes were unable to make. On October 26, 2017, the Pearl Board of Alderman accepted MacArthur’s demands that the Pearl Youth...
Caliste v. Cantrell
The MacArthur Justice Center is pursuing a federal class action lawsuit against Orleans Magistrate Judge Harry E. Cantrell challenging his practice of setting high bail amounts without any consideration of the person’s ability to pay or alternative no-cost conditions of release. Judge Cantrell also insists on using commercial bond companies (rather than cash), which require a non-reimbursable fee, a portion of which goes to the court’s General Fund – revenue Cantrell and other judges’ control.