Dispute ends over Detroit-area judge's pay-or-stay sentences

Mar 9, 2016

A suburban Detroit judge accused of sending poor people to jail if they couldn't immediately pay fines has agreed to end pay-or-stay sentences after a challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union.

An attorney for Eastpointe Judge Carl Gerds III signed the agreement, which was approved Tuesday by a Macomb County judge.

The ACLU of Michigan says there's no dispute that sending someone to jail without checking their ability to pay is unconstitutional.

Nonetheless, it still has occurred in courts around the state.

The Michigan Supreme Court is considering a rule to strengthen the ban.

Gerds' attorney has said the judge may have made mistakes but now accepts payment plans.

The ACLU represented a woman who feared going to jail for failing to have her dogs licensed.