David Waters, The Commercial Appeal
For a few days last week, reason ruled the criminal justice system. Sanity prevailed. The law of unintended consequences was overturned.
A federal judge ruled that Tennessee’s practice of revoking someone’s driver’s license for unpaid court costs and traffic fines was unconstitutional — and counterproductive.
The 2012 law was intended to help county clerks collect unpaid debts. Instead, it became a form of debtors’ prison.
Nearly 150,000 Tennesseans had their driver’s licenses revoked. Some knew, but many didn’t. Many kept driving. County court dockets were jammed with new cases of people being prosecuted for driving with revoked licenses.