(NaturalNews) Bureaucrats from the city of Chicago are scraping for ways to raise extra money to cope with burdensome deficits. Villages within city limits are strapped for cash. The projected deficit for the city of Chicago in 2014 is $339 million.
Solving budget deficits by empowering police with new fundraising methods
According to the Chicago Tribune, if Mayor Emmanuel can't find a way to close the $339 million budget gap, deficits may spike to $1 billion by 2015. With Chicago government leading the nation in irresponsible behavior, it's no surprise that they are turning to desperate measures to keep the money flowing in.
One village in Chicago enacted a plan to charge innocent people "arrest fees." This new fee of $30 is to be levied against all arrestees. This welcomes a police culture that insists on arresting more innocents to fulfill monthly quotas. Officers will be empowered with new fundraising methods. Officers will find more excuses to put cuffs on people to bring in more money for the village or city. This will cause an increase in false arrest schemes, which happen more often now than ever. Police are capable of planting false paraphernalia to intimidate and arrest innocents, hustling money from them.
Class action lawsuit challenging "arrest fees"
The arrest fee was upheld in early 2014 by a panel of judges, but a recent class action lawsuit filed by Jerry Markadonatos against the village of Woodridge challenges this idea.
Jerry states that the $30 arrest fee can be imposed regardless of probable cause, violating arrestees' due process rights.
The class action lawsuit brought discussion of the "arrest fee" back to the table. In recent oral arguments, Richard Posner, the 7th Circuit's Judge said it was "ridiculous" to charge a person simply for being arrested.
Judge Diane Wood stood up and said that innocent people could be charged.
Judges stray off course and talk about the affordability of the arrest fee
Some panel members disregarded principle altogether, straying completely off course, arguing whether or not the fee was affordable.
Judge Ann Williams asked, "Would people be entitled to a hearing at $300? Thirty dollars could be a lot of money to someone out of work."
Defense attorney Paul Rettberg retorted, "That might be a little different. In terms of society today, $30 is a very small amount."
One judge couldn't believe that the discussion was even taking place; more than once, the judge asked "why we're here," which provoked laughter in the courtroom.
Plaintiff's attorney sets the record straight
The plaintiff's attorney, James Burnham, made it clear when he said, "there's a fundamental right to be free from arbitrary governmental action as it relates to property."
Judge Frank Easterbrook looked at Burnham and said he was "making a mockery" of Supreme Court precedent, stating that a substantive due process is violated only when a fundamental right is violated.
But Judge Posner backed up the plaintiff's attorney, stating, "There's no basis for charging a person to be arrested. Arrest is not a privilege. Paying for being arrested is ridiculous."
Posner also sympathized with the ordinance and described the "arrest fee" as being similar to a bail or bond fee. "What's frustrating to me is that neither side is discussing the bond aspect. If it applies only to bond, what's the big deal? Can't a fee be charged for bail or bond? It's a service," said Posner.
Judge Diane Sykes asked the plaintiff's attorney (Burnham) why a town could "impose a fee for impounding a dog or cat" given that "lots of fees are imposed without hearings."
Burnham responded and got straight to the point: "You choose to have a dog. Arrest is unique in that the government can arrest you at any time. A fee cannot be imposed for the naked fact of arrest."