Ending Debtors’ Prisons in Texas
The Clinic is co-counseling with the Texas Fair Defense Project (TFDJ) and Susman Godfrey LLP to represent Austin-area residents who face jail time for petty misdemeanors, solely because they lack the ability to pay. We represent two plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit challenging the Austin Municipal Court’s policies and practices of failing to determine ability to pay, and jailing without appointment of counsel, among other claims. Plaintiffs allege that these policies violate the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. We are also working with advocates on state-wide strategies to reduce and eliminate debtors’ prison practices elsewhere in Texas.