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Michigan v. Bailey (Amicus Brief)

The Brennan Center filed an amicus brief in Michigan v. Bailey arguing that incarcerating an individual for their inability to pay criminal justice debt contributes to mass incarceration and may be unconstitutional under Michigan law.

Published: August 26, 2013

The Bren­nan Center for Justice, along with the ACLU of Michigan, the Michigan State Plan­ning Body and McDer­mott Will & Emery LLP, filed an amicus brief in the case of Michigan v. Bailey appeal­ing a lower court decision that incar­cer­ated defend­ant Joseph Bailey for his inab­il­ity to pay court-ordered crim­inal justice fees. The prac­tice of impos­ing hefty legal fees and fines on poor people has lead to a 21st century debt­ors’ pris­ons.

The Bren­nan Center’s brief high­lights troub­ling senten­cing prac­tices in Michigan which have contrib­uted to the expens­ive incar­cer­a­tion of many indi­gent men and women across the state. The brief urges the Michigan Court of Appeals to clarify the appro­pri­ate ‘abil­ity to pay’ determ­in­a­tion criteria for lower courts, in order to prevent contin­ued viol­a­tions of indi­gent defend­ants’ consti­tu­tional rights.

Michigan v. Bailey Amicus Brief