CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS – JUDGE TAKING THE LAW INTO HIS OWN HANDS
Richard A. Diment, a Georgia judge, was recently caught on video taking his courtroom duties to a whole new level. The video exposed the judge threatening to jail people if they didn’t immediately pay their traffic violations. However, the US Supreme Court has previously held that people cannot be jailed for failure to make a payment, if they are unable to pay. According to several Georgia natives, this is a common practice in Georgia. Nevertheless, the situation has never been addressed before. Now, due to this video footage being uploaded to YouTube, light is finally being shed on the situation.
It is understandable that violating the law will lead to repercussions, but should you be jailed for not having a certain income? If the person is in jail how are they suppose to get the money to make the payment? Obviously there has to be a distinction made between willingness to pay and actual poverty, but clearly no one cared to make sure that determination was ever made. Judge Diment told one woman, who had already spent a month in jail, that she had to remain in jail till she was able to make a $500 payment. He even denied a mans request to convert his debt to community service, knowing the man couldn’t pay the fine, but instead instructing him to find a “better job.” The judge can also be seen telling defendants that if they cannot pay, their friends and family must pay for them.
So how did this judge get away with this for so long? Who is supposed to monitor these overzealous judges? Judges are supposed to be impartial and respect the law. This judge not only refused to advise defendants of their right to counsel, but administrated the law at the expense of basic fairness.
If you feel like your rights have been violated in any way, contact our office at 718-275-5900 or email Here4U @ CohensLawFirm . com for your free consultation!