The Treatment Evaluation Screening Center (TASC) and Maricopa County Lawyer Bill Montgomery are being taken legal action against by Civil Rights Corps, a non-profit company committed to challenging systemic oppression in the American legal system, following a year-long examination. The recently-filed lawsuit declares that TASC and Montgomery have a relationship that is created to make cash rather than assist those convicted of drug use or belongings.
The lawsuit asks the Arizona U.S. District Court to license the case as a class action lawsuit and demands that damages be paid to those that have been damaged by the duo’s policy, Phoenix New Times reports.
Dami Animashaun, lead counsel for Civil liberty Corps, said, “The cannabis diversion program operated by TASC, Inc. and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office represents our two-tiered legal system at its worst. Wealthy people buy their way off diversion quickly, while poor people run the risk of being expelled from the program and prosecuted for a felony exclusively due to the fact that they can not afford to pay.”
When somebody is detained for drug belongings, a letter from the Maricopa County Lawyer’s Office is sent out notifying the offender that they might be prosecuted and serve prison time. The letter is even sent to those that are first-time offenders.
A single person mentioned in the claim, Taja Collier, was jailed with an amount of cannabis in her bag that was so small it wasn’t even weighed. She received a letter using her 2 options: entrance into TASC or the potential of being faced with a felony for cannabis possession– which could have returned a sentence of as much as 2 years in prison.
She struggled to gather the $150 charge to enter the TASC program, and continued to struggle to pay the $15 fee per drug test. She worked part-time as she was an university student prior to the arrest and ended up donating plasma to make her payments. Her TASC case supervisor was made aware of the monetary problem, however “never ever informed her that she might look for a minimized cost.”
Due to monetary trouble, Collier became homeless and failed out of TASC. Felony charges were filed against her.
As much as 80% of TASC participants pay as much as $1,300 for the program. The Maricopa County Lawyer’s Workplace (MCAO) receives $650 for each person that completes the program. The charge netted the MCAO over $1 million for fiscal year June 2015 through July 2016.
The funds received from the program’s individuals can be used to assist those that cannot pay, however it appears that the MCAO and TASC don’t use that alternative for “anybody, no matter monetary scenario.”
Minimized charges appear to be offered just to those that have near no earnings.
Picture: Tom Tingle/The Republic
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