Thursday, July 14, 2016

Happy Bastille Day

Aire De Jeux
French Ronald McDonald- Paris 2009

Cahiers de doléances of the Third Estate Article 65:
The fees received by all officers of justice shall be fixed at. a moderate rate and clearly understood; and judges who extort fees in excess of the fixed rates shall be condemned to pay a fine of four times the amount they have received.

Such are the bans of a constitution founded upon the eternal principles of justice and reason, which alone ought to regulate henceforward the government of the realm. Once they are adopted, all false pretensions, all burdensome privileges, all abuses of all kinds will be seen to disappear. Already a considerable number of bailliages have expressed their desires concerning the reforms and abolitions to, be effected in all branches of the administration; the necessity for these drastic changes has been so evident that it is sufficient merely, to indicate them.
Gretna, Louisiana 2016
Louisiana is avid in collecting money from a great variety of criminal fines. There are traffic fines, of course, but there are also fines for not paying the fines, fines for missing court, payments for getting convicted, and payments for probation. If you are convicted you pay the cost of court and if you are lucky enough to avoid jail, you pay, as Graham Bosworth, a New Orleans lawyer and Jefferson County public defender puts it, “for the privilege of being supervised.” In Jefferson Parish, you even pay a $45 fee that goes to fund public defenders.

In this tedious process of collections, Jefferson Parish, the county that surrounds Gretna, is a pacesetter. In 2014, the state put out a report urging its court system to be more vigorous in collecting fees, pointing to the parish’s 24th judicial circuit court as a model, thanks to an increase in collections of 1,100% in 14 years. Unpaid fees yield more penalties, which yield the threat of more jail. The fees create ever more incentive for the state to issue more penalties to support its courts. “The criminal justice system exists mainly to make society safer, and it has lost sight of that goal,” Bosworth says. “Instead it has become a system that exists largely to fund itself.”
Les Cahiers Article 66:
The deputies of the prevolte and vicomte of Paris shall be instructed to unite themselves with the deputies of other provinces, in order to join with them in securing, as soon as able, the following abolitions:

Of the taille; Of the gabelle; Of the aides; Of the corvee; Of the ferme of tobacco; Of the registry-duties; Of the free-hold tax; Of the taxes on leather; Of the government stamp upon iron; Of the stamps upon gold and Silver; Of the interprovincial customs duties; Of the taxes upon fairs and markets

Finally, of all taxes that are burdensome and oppressive, whether on account of their nature or of the expense of collection, or because they have been paid almost wholly by agriculturists and by the poorer classes. They shall be replaced with other taxes, less complicated and easier of collection, which shall fall alike upon all classes and orders of the state without exception.
Tonight, the mayor of New Orleans is hosting a community budget meeting where he will field questions about such items as increased parking meter fees and parking fines, exorbitant fees on use of public parks,  the practice of funding public defense through court fees,  and a tax on the airspace above a sidewalk.

(Apocryphal) quote from Zhou Enlai 
During Richard Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972, the Chinese premier, Zhou Enlai, was asked about the impact of the French Revolution. Speaking of an event that took place nearly two centuries previously, Zhou famously commented that it was 'too early to say'. 

No comments: