Jeff Selbin Celebrates a Win for Debt-Free Justice with Idaho Supreme Court Ruling

Jeff Selbin (’89), Clinical Professor, Founder and Director of the Policy Advocacy Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law, was quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch regarding an Idaho Supreme Court ruling banning arrest warrants for people who fall behind paying court fees. Jeff and the UC Berkeley Policy Advocacy Clinic joined the ACLU, the Fines and Fees Justice Center, and other national nonprofits, along with Yale scholar and former Fellow Brian Highsmith in filing an amicus brief arguing that arresting people for failure to pay fines and fees creates separate and unequal forms of justice (“Another State Court Unanimously Agrees with Missouri: Close Debtors Prisons,” July 16). “While not legally binding outside of Idaho, it’s a shot across the bow in states where courts routinely jail people for failure to pay fines and fees without establishing their ability to pay. This is what the U.S. Constitution already requires — the holding in Bearden vs. Georgia from 1983 — but it’s especially meaningful coming in a unanimous decision from a conservative supreme court in a red state.”