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Judge blocks license suspensions of poor due to unpaid fines

December 15, 2017

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A federal judge is blocking the state of Michigan from suspending driver’s licenses of people who say they can’t afford to pay traffic fines.

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction, writing that there’s “a strong likelihood” that those who sued will show that the law violates the right to due process.

Secretary of state spokesman Fred Woodhams says in an email the office is reviewing the judge’s opinion and believes Michigan’s traffic safety laws “are equally applied to all drivers.”

The lawsuit filed by Equal Justice Under Law, a civil rights group, accuses the secretary of state of running a “wealth-based” scheme in which people too poor to pay fines are having licenses suspended. Arguments are expected later on whether to permanently block the practice.

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