Pendleton stops jailing people for court debt

City attorney Nancy Kerns said city court officials recently adopted new policies that ban the use of jail time for fines arising from minor violations.

Posted: Jun 16, 2019 5:00 AM

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) - The eastern Oregon city of Pendleton has stopped jailing people unable to pay fines following the settlement of a federal lawsuit contending city officials were running a debtors' prison.

The East Oregonian reports in a story on Saturday that city attorney Nancy Kerns said city court officials recently adopted new policies that ban the use of jail time for fines arising from minor violations.

Anglea Minthorn spent nearly two months in jail in 2017 for owing about $1,000.

She sued in early 2018, contending the city was violating the U.S. Constitution by incarcerating a debtor unable to pay the debt.

A settlement was reached in April, with the city paying Minthorn $130,000.

Kerns declined to comment about the case.

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