Settlement Reached for South Georgians Wrongfully Detained, Jailed

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-23 06:36:01-04

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WTXL)--A settlement is reached with the City of Bainbridge in a lawsuit claiming people, who could not afford to make payments in cases before two municipal courts in south Georgia, were wrongfully detained and jailed.

This is according to the Southern Center for Human Rights. The lawsuit was filed back in April.

It says one of the plaintiffs, Vera Cheeks went to the the Bainbridge Municipal Court and pleaded guilty to running a stop sign. She could not pay her $135 traffic ticket, so she was put on probation and required to pay supervision fees until that fine was paid.

The lawsuit goes on to say that when Cheeks met with a private probation officer moments later, she was told to pay $50 immediately or else she would go to jail.

The suit says she did not have money, so she was detained at the courthouse. Her fiancé then pawned items including her engagement ring.  She's receiving $15,000 as part of the settlement.

The court is now required to change many of its policies and procedures.

Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby says they are glad to have the matter settled, and the city was previously unaware of the situation before the lawsuit.

He says the city is committed to moving forward in an efficient and legally correct manner.

In the meantime, the litigation between the plaintiffs and the City of Pelham and Red Hills Community probation, LLC. has not yet been resolved.