The City of Mobile has amended its Municipal Court code to bring it up to date and allow all people to work off their fines. There was one citizen who spoke against the amendment, saying it was unconstitutional. However, officials with the City said the changes are simple, technical and necessary.
Ordinance 38-030 was approved unanimously Monday after discussions over the changes for three weeks. The Municipal Court requested the changes after noticing flaws.
The change of the “Working out judgment” section of the code removes the words “unless indigent” in the section that allows people to work off fines, fees or penalties. The existing code had an error, excluding those considered indigent from working off fines.
The change of the “Appeal bond” section brings the court into line with the state by making the appearance bond for a defendant not to exceed $1,000 instead of the previous $500 limit.
Reggie Hill, a citizen in attendance, said he was against the changes and asked the council to send the ordinance to a committee.
“This infringes on our US Constitutional rights,” Hill said. “Keep in mind that the law requires an annual report from the Mobile Municipal Court. We have not received that since 2009. Also, keep in mind there are judges that are finding citizens guilty of laws that do not exist.”
Hill did not explain how the ordinance infringes on the rights of citizens.
The amendment took effect upon approval.
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