- On Thursday, the Justice Department and the city of Ferguson, Missouri, jointly filed an agreement resolving the United States’ pending lawsuit against Ferguson. The court-enforceable decree, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, aims to remedy the unconstitutional law enforcement conduct that the Justice Department found during its civil pattern-or-practice investigation into the Ferguson law enforcement system.
- Under the agreement, Ferguson will implement reforms to bring about constitutional and effective policing, promote officer and public safety, ensure fundamental fairness and equal treatment regardless of race in the municipal court and foster greater trust between police officers and the communities they serve.
Fines and Fees Guidance
- The Justice Department announced a package of resources to assist state and local efforts to reform harmful and unlawful practices in certain jurisdictions related to the assessment and enforcement of fines and fees. The resources are meant to support the ongoing work of state judges, court administrators, policymakers and advocates in ensuring equal justice for all people, regardless of financial circumstance.
- The package, which was sent to state chief justices and state court administrators throughout the country, included a Dear Colleague Letter from the Civil Rights Division and the Office for Access to Justice to provide greater clarity to state and local courts regarding their legal obligations with respect to the enforcement of court fines and fees.
- The announcement follows a seminal two-day convening held by the Justice Department and the White House in Washington, D.C., in December 2015. Judges, court administrators, researchers, advocates, prosecutors, defense attorneys and impacted individuals came together to discuss challenges surrounding fines and fees.
- The Justice Department filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the owners and operators of several West Virginia homes and apartments, alleging that female tenants in residential rental properties owned and managed by Gary and Tina Walden have been subjected to egregious sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
- A former captain at the Decatur County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for willfully withholding evidence favorable to a criminal defendant and for writing a false report to cover up another law enforcement officer’s use of force against a civilian. Two former deputies at the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office were also sentenced to 15 months in prison for making false statements to help cover up the use of force.
Updated December 28, 2016