ACLU says Michigan judge's 'pay or stay' in jail policy is illegal


By: Ed White/Associated Press

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DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area judge known for sending poor people to jail if they can’t pay fines has been stopped from sentencing a woman who didn’t get licenses for her dogs.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan says Eastpointe Judge Carl Gerds has an illegal policy of “pay or stay” in jail. A Macomb County judge intervened this week and ordered a timeout in the case of Donna Anderson.

Anderson fears she’ll be sent to jail if she doesn’t immediately pay $455. Her sentencing had been set for Wednesday.

It’s not the first time that a Circuit Court judge has stepped in.

The ACLU lists other cases in which Gerds ordered poor people to pay fines or go to jail. Email seeking comment was sent to the judge.