DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) — About a month ago Gabriel Adeyeye told reporter Ashley Thompson that he saw flashing blue lights in his rear-view mirror.
“I mistakenly didn’t see the median, which was low to the ground,” he said.
Adeyeye said he ran over the median trying to make a left turn. He got a ticket and couldn’t pay the full amount at his court appearance on Monday.
“They put you on probation whenever you can’t pay your entire fine so that essentially adds more fees, probation fees and other things if you don’t pay it in the amount of time they want you to,” he said.
Those fines and fees are what’s keeping the city of Doraville afloat according to the Institute for Justice.
“Our best look was at their audit for five years and it averaged about 24 percent of their yearly revenue was fines and fees,” said attorney Joshua House.
House believes it’s unconstitutional for a city to rely so heavily on those fines and fees, so the Institute for Justice is suing Doraville.
“In Doraville, the problem is that the police and the prosecutor and municipal court all have this responsibility for providing income for the city or else the city goes bankrupt,” House said.
Last year Doraville budgeted about 2.5 million dollars for fines and forfeitures. Chamblee, a neighboring city three times the size, budgeted about 2.2 million.
House said the Institute for Justice is asking a judge to demand Doraville stop predicting what it will take in in fines in the city’s annual budget. He hopes other cities will follow suit if a judge rules in their favor.