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At a recent court hearing in Alabama, a judge ordered more than 100 indigent offenders with outstanding fees and fines to either donate blood or go to jail, giving new meaning to that old adage about “paying with a pound of flesh.”

According to The New York Times, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed an ethics complaint against Judge Marvin Wiggins for what it called an unconstitutional “violation of bodily integrity.”

“It’s just wrong for them to utilize people who are in the court system and essentially extort blood out of you because you owe traffic tickets, misdemeanors, felonies, whatever you’re there for,” said Carl Crocker, who was present at the court the day in question.

Judge Marvin Wiggins: Give Blood Or Go To Jail

The judge’s actions are yet another example of municipalities attempting to garner money and resources from the poor. Towns like Ferguson, Missouri, have been criticized for bankrolling budgets by imposing inordinate fines on citizens for minor infractions and threatening them with jail time if they do not have the funds to pay. However, to impose a system where the poor’s bodily agency is taken away by the government, subjecting them to invasive procedures for no other reason than their financial situation, represents a new low.

SouthLife, the mobile blood bank that worked in conjunction with the Court, said that the employee who set up the operation had acted improperly, and that it represented a violation of company policy. Most of the donated blood collected from the Court had been quarantined and discarded because it represented “potentially an unacceptable incentive for a volunteer donor.”

 

Source

Judge To Poor Offenders: Give Me Your Blood Or Go To Jail

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