US Court Arguments Set Over 'Debtor's Prison' Allegations

Oct 11, 2017

A federal judge is set to hear arguments in a 2015 lawsuit in which New Orleans judges are accused of running what amounts to a "debtor's prison." 

 State criminal district court judges in New Orleans are asking U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance to throw out the lawsuit, which was filed by plaintiffs who say they were unconstitutionally jailed for owing court debts. 

 Among the judges' arguments for dismissal: They say they have taken steps to address the complaints, and that the court debts owed by the original defendants have been resolved. 

 The plaintiffs, represented by civil rights attorneys, are pressing on for a declaration that the court's practices are unconstitutional. 

 Vance was to hear arguments Wednesday in New Orleans.