Judge considering order on jailing offenders who can't pay

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Posted at 3:29 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 16:29:47-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge is deliberating whether to order a Tennessee county to stop jailing some people simply because they can't afford bail.

The issue is part of a lawsuit accusing Giles County and for-profit probation companies of using the threat of jail and extended probation to squeeze money out of indigent misdemeanor offenders.

A hearing in Nashville on Thursday had a narrower focus. U.S. District Judge William Campbell Jr. is considering the case of misdemeanor offenders who are arrested for probation violations and given a predetermined bail that doesn't take into account their ability to pay.

Plaintiffs say those who can't pay sometimes sit in jail for weeks.

Cassandra Crane represents Giles County. She argued the sheriff has a duty to execute all warrants.

Campbell said he would rule soon.