Complaint filed against judge for jailing people who can't afford fines

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Some lawyers are opening a new front in objections to jailing Mississippians who can't pay court fines, filing formal complaints about judges.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the MacArthur Justice Center Wednesday announced they're suing the city of Corinth in federal court for improperly jailing people who can't afford to pay fines.

Such lawsuits have been filed in multiple Mississippi jurisdictions, although opponents hoped the practice would stop after the state Supreme Court issued statewide rules this summer directing judges to determine a person's ability to pay.

The lawyers handling the suit say they're also filing a complaint with the state Judicial Performance Commission against Corinth Municipal Judge John C. Ross for violating the new rules. That means the state Supreme Court could be asked to sanction Ross.