Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pay the Rent or Face Arrest
Abusive Impacts of Arkansas's Draconian Evictions Law
February 5, 2013
This 44-page report tells the stories of Arkansas tenants who were dragged into criminal court for transgressions that would not be a crime in any other US state.
Arkansas is the only US state where tenants can end up as convicted criminals because they did not pay their rent on time. The state’s unique “failure to vacate” law sees tenants charged as criminals purely on their landlords’ say-so, without any independent investigation by prosecutors. Tenants who run afoul of the law face fines—sometimes in excess of the rent they could not pay to begin with—as well as possible jail time, and can be saddled with a criminal record. On top of all that, the law is written in a way that tramples on tenants’ due process rights, punishing those who do not plead guilty with harsher sentences. One woman was berated in open court by a district judge, who compared her to a bank robber.


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