Community service not offered in all state courts

OlympiaMay 6, 2014 

I’m writing about the article on April 24, “Olympia attorney lends a hand to help low-income reclaim driver’s licenses.” I noticed an important omission. The story says “Today, the collection agencies are off Baker’s back.” Unfortunately, that’s not altogether true.

Two different judges, sitting in two seperate court jurisdictions, ruled in two opposite ways. One pulled my tickets back from collections and allowed me to do community service. The other refused, and that decision is currently on appeal.

Meanwhile, the second collections agency is now threatening further legal action, with additional fees tacked on. I’m on 100 percent disability, living on Social Security, so getting a job to pay the fines isn’t an option. That’s why my attorney filed in the first place, and why we’re appealing.

A larger issue is that community service is not even offered by all courts in the state. Even when it is, terms and conditions vary, depending on jurisdiction and on which office oversees fulfillment of the sentence.

Some drivers can pay a stiff fine without putting a dent in their budget. But many of us cannot. Consistency in offering the option of community service would help those living on fixed incomes.

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