Sofia Nelson Works to End 'Pay or Stay' for Civil Infractions

Skadden fellow Sofia Nelson of the ACLU was quoted in an Al Jazeera America article about the organization's efforts to stop a judge in Eastpointe, Michigan, from issuing jail sentences when residents cannot pay fines for minor offenses ("ACLU Files Motion to Stop Judge From Jailing People for Unpaid Fines," Nov. 2). Sofia said that in 2013 and 2014, Eastpointe collected around 11 percent of its operating budget through fines and fees. "It is certainly fundamentally unfair to fund city operations on the backs of those least able to afford it by aggressively collecting fines from people living in over-policed neighborhoods — people who are disproportionately poor and of color," Sofia wrote in July, when the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request related to this issue.