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Ray v. Judicial Corrections Services Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

September 26, 2019

GINA KAY RAY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
JUDICIAL CORRECTION SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          R. DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the court on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification. (Doc. # 707). The Motion has been fully briefed. (Docs. # 708, 709, 714, 715 and 719). After careful review, and for the reasons discussed below, the court concludes the Motion is due to be denied.

         I. Background

         The named Plaintiffs in this action were ticketed for various traffic offenses and sentenced to probation by the City of Childersburg Municipal Court because they did not pay the fines or court costs imposed by the Municipal Court on the date of their sentencings. Individuals who were unable to immediately pay all fines and costs imposed by the court were placed on probation under the supervision of Judicial Correction Services (“JCS” or “Defendant”). (Doc. # 305 at ¶¶ 97-98). While on probation, Plaintiffs were required to pay an additional $35 to $45 a month to JCS (on top of their fines and court costs). Plaintiffs assert that “[t]his [was] routinely done with no investigation into the indigency of the individual or the reasons for their inability to pay the fine and costs.” (Id. at ¶ 22). Plaintiffs further allege that these practices violated their constitutional rights. (Doc. # 305 at ¶ 14).

         A. JCS Operations

         JCS marketed its private probation services to cities and towns throughout Alabama and, in doing so, presented them as “offender paid” services. (Doc. # 392-11 at 192-93). JCS did not charge a City or Municipal Court for its services, but instead collected a “$35.00 per month flat fee” and an additional “[o]ne time probationer set-up fee of $10.00” from “probationers.” (Doc. # 392-16 at 6). Once JCS started charging its monthly fees, a person on probation could not end her sentence by simply paying off the amount of the original debt. (Doc. 195-1 at 109-10).

         Childersburg began contracting with JCS in 2005. (Doc. # 421-7 at 2). The contract provided that JCS would collect fines, restitution, and court costs on behalf of a Municipal Court. (Doc. # 392-16 at 4). JCS’s standard contract required JCS to perform supervision for “all probated cases sentenced by the [Municipal] Court, ” including indigent probationers. (Id.). However, JCS agreed not to charge its standard probation fees to indigent probationers or to probationers who paid their fines and court costs within a week of their sentencing hearing. (Id. at 4). The contract required JCS to maintain case files “with the terms and conditions of probation, reporting dates, field contacts as they occur and . . . the amounts and dates of monies collected.” (Id.).

         JCS’s policies and procedures were set forth in three main sources: (1) the JCS contract; (2) the JCS Probation Tracker software program, which was used to manage probation cases; and (3) the JCS Training Manual. JCS employees were trained using the JCS Training Manual, a copy was kept at every office, and every employee had access to Probation Tracker. (Doc. # 392-11 at 65-66, 77, 107-108). The JCS Training Manual provides a flow chart for “Working a Typical Case, ” and describes how to perform tasks in Probation Tracker, including the use of various codes to indicate each probationer’s status and associated actions taken by JCS. (Doc. # 392-11 at 65-66, 77, 107-108).

         Once a city contracted with JCS, JCS provided form Probation Orders. (Docs. # 392-11 at 170-72; 195-1 at 232). The pre-printed form orders included the standard “conditions of probation, ” and were filled out by JCS employees. (Doc. # 708-2 at 27). The form Order contained a single line printed at the bottom of the page stating, “I have counsel or have waived my right to counsel for all proceedings to this date and have received a copy of this ORDER.” (Doc. # 708-2 at 27). The form contains no explanation regarding the right to counsel. (Id.).

         Probation Tracker also contains a case file for each person on probation, and each file has a page where JCS employees can chronicle collection efforts and information gathered. Documents generated by the Municipal Court were generally scanned into Probation Tracker and linked to the individual’s case file. (Docs. # 392-11 at 170-72; 195-1 at 232). JCS’s records indicate a large number of people sentenced to JCS probation by the Childersburg Municipal Court were collecting SSI or unemployed. (Docs. # 708-1 at ¶ 59; 708-7 at 801-805). Nonetheless, the record contains evidence that neither JCS nor the Childersburg Municipal Court had a practice of inquiring into whether people had the ability to pay the court debt or fees at any point. (Docs. # 392-11 at 161; 195-1 at 232).

         When probationers could not make a scheduled payment, JCS threatened to have them arrested. (Docs. # 195-1 at 304; 641-46 at 131). And when they could only make a partial payment, JCS often allocated as much of the payment (or, in some instances, even more) to its own fees as it did to the court’s fine, thereby prolonging the amount of time it took for debtors to satisfy their underlying debts to the city. (Docs. # 697 at 73-75, 88, 104; 697-7 at 1; 697-1).

         If a debtor repeatedly failed to make payments, JCS generated a petition for revocation, which requested the Municipal Court to revoke the debtor’s probation and issue an arrest warrant. (Docs. # 697-11 at 46; 626 at 15-16, 66, 80). Neither JCS nor the Childersburg Municipal Court informed probationers that they could only lawfully be jailed if they willfully refused to pay even though they were able to pay. (Doc. # 195-1 at 134; 708-2 at 76).

         When arrested, probationers who could not make payments were jailed overnight, and some were detained for days or even weeks until a payment was made on their behalf. (Doc. # Docs. 697-7 at 1; 697-1 at 1). JCS submitted payments to the Municipal Courts each month, but it was JCS which determined how the probationers’ payments were allocated between court fines and JCS’s fees. (Doc. # 194-1 at 288). A significant portion of the payments made to secure release of probationers from jail was allocated by JCS for its fees, not just for court fines. (Id.).

         JCS did not inform the Municipal Courts the total amount collected from probationers or how much the company kept for itself in fees. (Id. at 69-70, 180-94). Cities typically did not monitor or audit JCS’s activities and often did not keep records as to who was assigned to JCS, let alone how long each person had been on JCS probation. (Id.; Doc. # 195-1 at 92-93). As a result of these and other factors, individuals on probation occasionally ended up paying more than the amount of their original court debt. (Docs. # 194-1 at 69-70, 180-94).

         Under Alabama law, a municipal court may not sentence a defendant to a term of probation that exceeds two years. Ala. Code § 12-14-13(a). JCS frequently extended probationers’ sentences beyond the two-year statutory limit. (Docs. # 187-3, 183-4, 708-11 at 11-12). They did this in a number of ways, including extending the sentence 24 months from the reinstatement date when marking a person’s probation sentence as reinstated, even if the person had served time toward those probation sentences; extending sentences for existing charges by 24 months when the municipal court issued probation orders in a different case; placing probation sentences on hold and then starting them long after the sentence date; and entering a longer sentence in Probation Tracker than the sentence ordered by the Municipal Court. (Doc. # 626 at 12-13, 63-64). JCS’s Training Manual provided instructions to modify the term of probation, and this included extension of the probation. (Doc. # 708-3 at 44). JCS’s Training Manual specifically addresses the subject of continuing to collect fees from debtors after their probation terms ended. (Id.).

         The Training Manual also has a section related to procedures that “will be followed when a defendant has more than one case.” (Doc. # 708-3 at 43). Those procedures specify that:

If a defendant has more than one case in the same court, the second and subsequent cases are to be placed on hold. Once the first case is paid in full, the second case is to be made active the day the first case is paid in full. The probation date on the admin. screen will be changed to the date the first case is paid in full. [] Once the second case is paid in full, the above is to be followed for the third case, and so on.

(Doc. # 708-3 at 43). However, the Manual’s Ethical & Professional Behavior Do’s and Don’ts section explicitly provides that a JCS employee must not “[m]odify a court sentence without approval from that court.” (Doc. # 708-3 at 81).

         Plaintiffs assert that JCS records show that over 20, 000 people in the state of Alabama, including three of the four named Plaintiffs, were kept on probation for longer than two years for one probation sentence. (Docs. # 708-1 at ¶¶ 38-39, 708-11 at 27, 33-450).

         B. Probation of Plaintiffs Timothy and Kristy Fugatt

         Childersburg police issued Kristy Fugatt two traffic tickets in November 2010 for driving with an expired tag and an expired license. (Doc. # 392-66 at 14-15). Kristy Fugatt renewed her license (Doc. # 392-6 at 105), and the Municipal Court only assessed court costs for each ticket, (Doc. # 392-66 at 14-15). When Kristy Fugatt informed the Municipal Judge that she could not pay the full amount charged, he directed her to an intake area in order to “talk to JCS.” (Doc. # 392-6 at 105-07). Kristy Fugatt signed a form stating that she would pay a certain amount. (Id. at 108-09). She was placed on probation under JCS’s supervision. (See Doc. # 392-18 at 9) (stating that Kristy Fugatt had been sentenced to 24 months’ probation in January 2011).

         Timothy Fugatt received a traffic ticket in December 2010 for driving with an expired vehicle tag. (Doc. # 392-66 at 11). He was not convicted of the traffic offense but was ordered to pay court costs. (Id.). Timothy Fugatt testified that he had attempted to inform the Municipal Judge about his child’s terminal illness during the hearing, but he did not get an opportunity to speak to the judge due to the rapid pace of the proceedings. (Doc. # 392-7 at 74). Similar to his wife, the Municipal Court also sentenced Timothy Fugatt to 24 months’ probation under JCS’s supervision. (Doc. # 392-19 at 7).

         In early 2011, JCS scheduled weekly probation appointments for both the Fugatts. (See Docs. # 537-24 at 7-8; 537-25 at 10-11). Timothy Fugatt told a JCS employee in January 2011 that his child was terminally ill and that he could not make a payment to JCS until he had received a tax refund. (Doc. # 537-25 at 9). In April, May, and June 2011, the Fugatts did not appear at 11 of the 12 probation appointments scheduled by JCS. (See Docs. # 537-24 at 7-8; 537-25 at 10-11). The parties dispute whether JCS employees mailed failure to report letters or delinquency letters to the Fugatts. Timothy Fugatt testified that he did not remember whether he received the letters. (Doc. # 537-19 at 108-09). Probation Tracker records reveal that JCS employees sometimes noted in Probation Tracker when they mailed some of the letters to the Fugatts. (See Doc. # 537-24 at 6). At other times, JCS employees placed a failure to report letter in the Probation Tracker record without any notation or indication that the letter had been mailed to the probationer. (See id.)

         JCS prepared revocation petitions for Kristy and Timothy Fugatt on June 28, 2011. (Docs. # 537-1 at 2; 537-2 at 2). Timothy Fugatt’s revocation petition explained that he had failed to report to JCS for 16 scheduled appointments and had failed to pay $223 as ordered. (Doc. # 537-1 at 2). The revocation petition explained that a payment of $223 would close his case. (Id.). It warned him that a warrant would be issued if he failed to appear at the Municipal Court on August 11, 2011. (Id.). Kristy Fugatt’s revocation petition averred that she had missed 17 scheduled appointments and had failed to pay $371. (Doc. # 537-2 at 2). It explained that a payment of $371 would close her case and that a warrant would be issued if she failed to appear at the probation revocation hearing scheduled for August 11. (Id.). Timothy Fugatt testified that they likely would not have received copies of the revocation petitions because their house had been foreclosed upon. (Doc. # 537-19 at 111).

         The Municipal Court held revocation hearings for Kristy and Timothy Fugatt on August 11, 2011, but neither of them appeared at the hearings. (Docs. # 537-24 at 5-6; 537-25 at 7). The Municipal Court issued arrest warrants for both in August 2011. (Id.). Both warrants stated that the Fugatts had been convicted of failure to obey a court order (“FTOCO”). (Docs. # 537-33 at 2; 537-34 at 2). Timothy Fugatt’s warrant required him to pay $540 as a cash bond in order to be released. (Doc. # 537-33 at 2). Kristy Fugatt’s warrant required her to pay a cash bond of $688. (Doc. # 537-34 at 2).

         A Childersburg police officer arrested the Fugatts on February 26, 2012. (Docs. # 537-36 at 2-3, 537-38 at 2-3, 402-27 at 3, 402-28 at 3). They were taken to the police station and placed in a holding cell. (Docs. # 402-27 at 3; 402-28 at 3). They were released the same day after they had paid $900 for a cash bond. (Id.).

         In May 2012, the Municipal Court reinstated the Fugatts’ probation sentences. (Docs. # 537-24 at 5, 537-25 at 7). On April 26, 2012, the Municipal Court issued Timothy Fugatt a new Probation Order regarding the FTOCO offense. (Doc. # 537-3 at 2). This probation sentence ended on April 26, 2014. (Id.). Although the Municipal Court actually issued a new probation order for a different offense, JCS’s records state that the court reinstated Timothy Fugatt’s probation for the expired tag offense adjudicated in January 2011. (Doc. # 537-24 at 5). JCS also recalculated the probation date for that offense - from January 2011 to May 1, 2014.[1] (Id.). Similarly, the Municipal Court also reinitiated Kristy Fugatt’s earlier probation sentence and added a $317 warrant fee. (Doc. # 537-4 at 2). Moreover, the Municipal Court fined Kristy Fugatt $168 for a speeding offense. (Id.). The record does not indicate whether she received the speeding ticket for which she was fined. JCS placed Kristy Fugatt’s May 2012 probation sentence on hold. (Doc. # 537-41 at 2). In August 2012, JCS prepared revocation petitions and draft notices to show cause against Kristy and Timothy Fugatt. (See Docs. # 537-24 at 4; 537-25 at 5). Timothy Fugatt called JCS on August 28, 2012 and confirmed that he had received the paperwork that was mailed to him. (Doc. # 537-24 at 4). A JCS employee told him that he could report to JCS on August 31 or September 7, but he did not show up to JCS’s office on either of those dates. (See id.).

         The Municipal Court cancelled revocation hearings concerning the Fugatts on September 13, 2012. (Docs. # 537-24 at 4; 537-25 at 5). According to Kidd’s notes in Probation Tracker, Timothy Fugatt called her and demanded a new court date because he believed the revocation hearings were set for 1:30 P.M. (Doc. # 537-24 at 4). He spoke with a Municipal Court employee before calling JCS, but the employee told him that JCS was responsible for deciding whether to set a new court date. (Id.). Kidd generated new revocation petitions and notices to show cause and mailed them to the Fugatts on September 19. (See Docs. # 537-24 at 4; 537-25 at 5).

         The Fugatts appeared before the Municipal Court on October 11, 2012. (See Doc. # 537-24 at 4). They explained their financial situation to Judge Ward, who commented from the bench that they were “using [their] son as an excuse not to pay for [their] fines.” (Doc. # 537-23 at 234). They filled out a hardship form to explain their financial situation, and JCS agreed to “waive the fees after [the Fugatts] paid $200.” (Id. at 235). JCS also agreed that the Fugatts could report to a probation officer in Sylacauga, Alabama because they were being required “to drive to Childersburg every four days even if [they] couldn’t pay anything.” (Id. at 236). But, Timothy Fugatt called Kidd on October 31, 2012 and informed her that he could not make the payment because he had to pay approximately $1500 for other bills. (Doc. # 537-24 at 3). Kidd contacted a Municipal Court magistrate about the issue, and the Municipal Court mailed subpoenas for the Fugatts to appear on November 7. (Docs. # 537-24 at 3; 537-25 at 4-5). After they failed to appear in court at that hearing, the Municipal Court issued warrants for the Fugatts. (Docs. # 537-24 at 3; 537-25 at 4).

         Timothy Fugatt appeared at the Municipal Court in December 2012 and agreed to pay $100 towards the amounts his wife and he owed. (Doc. # 537-24 at 3). He told the court that he would pay the fines off with a tax refund. (Id.). The Municipal Court then reinstated the Fugatts’ probation sentences in January 2013. (Docs. # 537-24 at 3; 537-25 at 4). JCS placed Kristy Fugatt’s probation sentence on unsupervised status in January 2013, after JCS and the Municipal Court had been informed of the present lawsuit. (Doc. # 537-25 at 4). It placed Timothy Fugatt’s probation sentence on hold in February 2013 after consulting with a magistrate at the Municipal Court. (Doc. # 537-24 at 3). Ultimately, the Municipal Court terminated the Fugatts’ probation sentences on November 1, 2014, which was during the pendency of this action. (See Doc. # 537-25 at 4).

         C. Probation of Plaintiff Deunate Jews

         Plaintiff Jews was charged with harassment in 2008. (See Doc. # 392-27 at 2). The Municipal Court dismissed the harassment charge against Jews in January 2009, subject to two conditions: that Jews (1) pay court costs to the Municipal Court and (2) avoid contact with the complainant. (Id.). During a deposition, Jews claimed that he had contested the Municipal Court’s authority to impose court costs against him when the criminal charge against him had been dismissed. (Doc. # 524-5 at 50). Judge Ward responded that he would “lock [Jews] up” unless he signed a probation order. (Id. at 50-51). Jews did not ask Judge Ward any more questions because he believed that the judge would imprison him if he “said any little thing.” (Id. at 51). Jews was unable to pay the assessed court costs on the date of the hearing. (Id. at 52).

         After signing a probation order, Jews advised a JCS employee that he would not report to JCS’s probation office because the Municipal Court had forced him to sign the probation order. (Id. at 56). He informed the JCS employee that he would not pay the imposed court costs because his case had been dismissed. (Id. at 59). Moreover, he provided JCS the address for his uncle’s residence, rather than his own address. (Id. at 60). He submitted this address to JCS because he did not plan to pay what the Municipal Court had directed him to pay. (Id. at 60-61). Consequently, Jews did not actually receive a letter that JCS sent to him on January 27, 2009. (Id. at 59-60).

         The Municipal Court held a revocation hearing in Jews’s case on February 12, 2009, but Jews did not appear at the hearing.[2] (Doc. # 524-22 at 6). The Municipal Court’s magistrate issued a capias warrant against Jews on February 17, 2009 for failure to obey a court order. (Doc. # 392-35 at 2). The warrant directed Jews to pay a bond of $487 to be released. (Id.). Jews was arrested in September 2009. (Doc. # 392-36 at 3). In October 2009, the Municipal Court reinstated Jews’s probation sentence and charged him a $317 warrant fee.[3] (Doc. # 524-22 at 6). The court’s probation order sentenced Jews to probation for FTOCO. (Doc. # 524-6 at 2). Jews was released from the Talladega County Jail on October 22, 2009. (Doc. # 382-11 at 65).

         JCS petitioned the Municipal Court to revoke Jews’s probation again in December 2009. (Doc. # 524-22 at 5). The Municipal Court held a revocation hearing in January 2010, and Jews did not appear at the hearing. (Id.). A magistrate issued another capias warrant against Jews based on a conviction for FTOCO. (Doc. # 392-45 at 2). This arrest warrant increased his bond amount to $935. (Id.). City police arrested Jews on August 18, 2010. (Doc. # 392-46 at 2). On September 9, 2010, the Municipal Court fined Jews $317 for the failure-to-obey offense and reinstated his probation. (Doc. # 392-38 at 2). A City employee, Misty Hepp, authorized Jews’s release from the Talladega County Jail on September 9. (Doc. # 382-11 at 67).

         In November 2010, JCS filed another revocation petition against Jews. (Doc. # 524-22 at 5). Jews did not appear at the Municipal Court’s December 2010 revocation hearing in his case. (Id.). The Municipal Court issued another capias warrant against Jews based on his conviction for FTOCO, and he was thereafter arrested on January 10, 2011. (Doc. # 392-50 at 2-3). Hepp again authorized Jews’s release from jail on January 14, 2011, after a $500 bond had been paid on his behalf. (Doc. # 392-51 at 2). The Municipal Court reinstated Jews’s probation sentence in March 2011 and charged him a $317 warrant fee. (Doc. # 524-22 at 5).

         In May 2011, JCS again petitioned the Municipal Court to revoke Jews’s probation. (Doc. # 392-54 at 2). The revocation petition asserted that Jews owed $773 to close his case. (Id.). A JCS employee and Judge Ward signed the petition, but the City’s prosecutor did not sign it. (Id.). Yet again, Jews did not appear at a revocation hearing in June 2011. (Doc. # 524-22 at 4). On June 10, 2011, the Municipal Court’s magistrate issued another warrant against Jews based on a conviction for FTOCO. (Doc. # 392-56 at 2). This warrant required Jews to pay $1, 090 in bail to be released. (Id.). A City police officer arrested Jews in February 2012 after detaining him to check for outstanding warrants. (Doc. # 392-57 at 2-3). Jews fled from the officer and was detained for resisting arrest and FTOCO. (Id.).

         According to Jews’s Probation Tracker records, during a March 2012 hearing, the Municipal Court reinstated Jews’s probation. (Doc. # 524-22 at 4). The court issued another probation order for the resisting arrest charge and FTOCO charge. (Doc. # 392-58 at 2). This order recounted fines of $717 for resisting arrest and $1, 090 for FTOCO. (Id.). And, it placed Jews on probation until March 8, 2014. (Id.). The City’s police department released Jews from jail on March 8, 2012. (Doc. # 382-12 at 13). In May 2012, JCS recalculated Jews’s probation expiration date for the 2009 probation order stemming from the harassment charges. (Doc. # 524-22 at 4). It stated that his probation on that charge actually was due to end on March 9, 2014. (Id.).

         In June 2012, JCS requested that the Municipal Court revoke Jews’s probation. (Doc. # 524-22 at 3). The revocation petition was not signed by a JCS employee, and the order scheduling a hearing was not signed by the Municipal Court’s judge. (Doc. # 392-59 at 2). The Municipal Court held a revocation hearing in August 2012; again, Jews did not attend that hearing. (Doc. # 524-22 at 3). According to JCS’s probation records, the probation sentence entered warrant status on August 10, 2012. (Id. at 2). The Municipal Court ultimately terminated Jews’s probation sentence in December 2014, which was during the pendency of this action. (Doc. # 382 at 114).

         In 2015, Jews was sentenced to four years in prison for making a terroristic threat, after having been convicted of another felony in 2014. (Doc. # 431-19).

         D. Probation of Plaintiff Gina Kay Ray

         In June 2010, a City officer ticketed Ray for driving with a suspended license and without proof of insurance. (Doc. # 423-4 at 2). Ray pled guilty to both charges during a Municipal Court hearing on August 12, 2010. (Id. at 3). Ray testified that a public defender attended the hearing, but she (Ray) did not believe that an attorney would assist her with a traffic ticket. (Doc. # 471-7 at 38-39). Ray does not believe that Judge Ward identified the public defender during the hearing. (Id. at 39). Judge Ward imposed a three-day suspended imprisonment term for each conviction, along with a 24-month probationary sentence. (Doc. # 423-4 at 3). Ray could not recall whether Judge Ward mentioned the suspended imprisonment term during the hearing. (Doc. # 471-7 at 43-44). Judge Ward fined Ray $400 for each traffic offense, imposed $198 in court costs for the suspended license offense, and imposed $148 in court costs for the no insurance offense. (Doc. # 423-4 at 3).

         According to JCS’s probation records, JCS prepared a revocation petition against Ray on September 20, 2010.[4] (Doc. # 423-11 at 8). The revocation petition contained in the record was not signed by the probation officer or the Municipal Court’s judge. (See Doc. # 423-8 at 2). The Municipal Court held a revocation hearing on October 14, 2010, which Ray attended. (Doc. # 423-11 at 8). JCS issued another revocation petition on December 30, 2010, based on Ray’s failure to attend probation sessions, pay assessed court fines and fees, and pay probation fees. (Doc. # 423-14 at 2). The Municipal Court held a revocation hearing for Ray on January 13, 2011, but she failed to appear. (Doc. # 423-11 at 7). Consequently, on January 18, 2011, the Municipal Court’s magistrate issued a capias warrant premised upon a FTOCO conviction. (Doc. # 423-15 at 2). The warrant provided for a bond of $1, 353. (Id.).

         Ray was arrested on January 19, 2011. (See Doc. # 455-5). She remained in the Talladega County Jail until February 10, 2011. (See id.). The Municipal Court reinstated Ray’s probation on February 10, 2011, and imposed a $317 warrant fee. (Doc. # 423-17 at 2). In June 2011, a City officer ticketed Ray for driving with an expired tag and a revoked license. (Doc. # 423-31 at 2). Ray pled guilty to both offenses in July 2011. (Id. at 3). The Municipal Court imposed 5-day suspended imprisonment sentences, 24 months of probation, fines totaling $500, and court costs totaling $346 for the two convictions. (Id.). In August 2011, Ray was again charged with driving with a revoked license and an expired tag. (Doc. # 423-28 at 2). As with her earlier tickets, the Municipal Court imposed a 5-day suspended imprisonment sentence for the expired-tag offense, 24 months of probation for the expired-tag offense, fines totaling $500, and court costs totaling $346. (Id. at 3).

         On January 4, 2012, a JCS employee found that Ray had violated her probation because she owed the City $1, 008 in fines and costs and JCS $433 in fees. (Doc. # 423-11 at 4). The Municipal Court held a revocation hearing on February 9, 2012. (Id.). Ray did not attend. (Id.). Thus, the Municipal Court’s magistrate issued a capias warrant against Ray for FTOCO. (Doc. # 423-23 at 2). The warrant provided a bail amount of $3, 173. (Id.). On April 21, 2012, City police officers detained Ray because they suspected that she had an active warrant. (Doc. # 423-24 at 2-3). She fled from the officers in her car until she was blocked in by traffic. (Id. at 3). The officers issued her tickets for driving with an expired tag, driving with a revoked license, and attempted escape. (Doc. # 423-27 at 2, 4).

         Ray was held in jail from April 21, 2012 to May 1, 2012 on the charge of FTOCO. (Doc. # 455-7). On April 26, 2012, the Municipal Court reinstated Ray’s probation and imposed a $317 warrant fee. (Doc. # 423-25 at 2). The court’s probation order stated that Ray owed $3, 173 in costs. (Id.). The court ruled that Ray could not be released from jail until $300 had been paid on her behalf. (Id.). Ray was released from jail on May 1, 2012 after someone paid the $300. (Doc. # 471-7 at 149).

         In June 2012, Ray pled guilty to driving with an expired tag, driving with a revoked license, and attempting to escape. (Doc. # 423-27 at 3, 5). The Municipal Court sentenced Ray to a 5-day suspended incarceration sentence, along with 24 months’ probation, for each conviction. (Id.). It fined her $400 for driving with a revoked license, $400 for attempting to flee, and $100 for driving with an expired tag. (Id.). It also imposed a total of $444.00 in court costs against Ray. (Id.).

         JCS again requested that the Municipal Court revoke Ray’s probation in August 2012 due to the outstanding fines and fees she owed to JCS and the City. (Doc. # 423-11 at 3). The Municipal Court held a revocation hearing in September 2012 and issued a warrant against Ray after she had failed to appear at the hearing. (Id.). Ray’s probation sentence was terminated by court order on November 1, 2014. (Doc. # 422 at 11).

         E. The Different Municipal Courts at Issue in this Action

         JCS provided services to a number of different municipal courts, and its managers worked in multiple municipal courts. (Docs. # 431-1 at ¶ 22, 431-2 at ¶ 28 431-3, 431-4 at ¶ 12, 30). The procedures and preferences of those courts varied. For instance, some courts accepted payments directly. Others did not. (Docs. # 431-1 at ¶ 50, 431-4 at ¶ 21). Courts also covered different topics at their hearings. (Doc. # 431-1 at ¶ 46). At the initial appearance, Judge Hutchinson of Geraldine, Alabama required probationers to return to the courtroom after filling out probation paperwork to ensure they understood the requirements of probation. (Doc. # 431-4 at ¶ 12). Other courts were not as helpful or compliant. Of course, a court’s procedures and preferences necessarily overrode any provisions of the JCS Training Manual. (Id.).

         Indigence cannot reliably be determined from Probation Tracker. (Doc. # 431-1 at ¶ 61, 431-2 at ¶ 33, 431-4 at ¶ 40). At some revocation hearings, some courts covered the reasons for non-payment. (Doc. # 431-4 at ¶ 12). April Mims provided declaration testimony that, the Albertville, Alabama Municipal Court performed indigency evaluations and utilized a community service program for probationers unable to pay fines. (Docs. # 431-3, 431-1 at ¶ 66). Between 2009 and 2015, many probationers in Albertville performed community service instead of paying fines. (Id.). There is evidence that other courts did not properly consider indigency. (Docs. # 708-13 – 708-16).

         Probation Tracker was designed as a tool for JCS, but it does not contain all of the information pertinent to an individual’s probation. (Docs. # 431-2 at ¶ 20, 431-4 at ¶ 29). Several cities did not use the Probation Tracker “Jail” status code. (Doc. # 431-1 at ¶ 22). In fact, JCS was not normally notified if a probationer was jailed. (Docs. # 431-1 at ¶ 22, 431-2 at ¶ 16). If JCS was notified, it was sporadic and when it occurred it was often communicated by family members; therefore, incarcerations could not be accurately tracked in that system. (Docs. # 431-1 at ¶¶ 22, 57, 431-2 at ¶¶ 16, 23, 431-4 at ¶¶ 25, 31). When the code was used, it was most often the case that a probationer was jailed on an offense unrelated to his or her probation with JCS. (Docs. # 431-2 at ¶ 16, 431-4 at ¶ 25). When a probationer was jailed for non-compliance, some courts gave probationers credit of $15-30 per day against fines for jail time served. (Doc. # 431-4 at ¶¶ 14, 53). Other courts did not give any financial credit. (Id.). Nor was JCS reliably informed when warrants were issued. (Docs. # 431-1 at ¶ 34, 431-4 at ¶ 20).

         The Municipal Courts also took different approaches to setting hearings. For example, in Childersburg, Alabama, a probationer only came before the judge if his or her individual circumstances warranted court review. By contrast, in Columbiana, the Columbiana Municipal Court immediately scheduled a compliance hearing for each probationer to occur ...


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