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Class action lawsuit filed against Michigan Secretary of State over suspending licenses

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A class action lawsuit was filed Friday against the Michigan Secretary of State which claims the state suspended driver’s licenses of people who had safe driving records but couldn’t afford to pay traffic fines or court fees. 

The suit was filed by Equal Justice Under Law, a national civil rights organization, against Ruth Johnson, the Secretary of State.

The two named plaintiffs in the suit are Andrian Fowler and Kitia Harris, residents of Detroit and mothers of young children, each stopped for routine traffic violations and unable to afford the fines. Both mother’s live below the poverty line and the state suspended their driver’s licenses.

“Losing a driver’s license is an extraordinary punishment that goes far beyond a fine,” said Phil Telfeyan, found and executive director of Equal Justice Under Law. “It is an attack on a person’s independence, pride, and character. As a nation, we encourage our citizens to be self-sufficient. To take away someone’s ability to drive simply because they are too poor to pay a fine is unfair, unjust, and un-American. This lawsuit is the beginning of the process to end the state’s unjust system and restore driving rights to tens of thousands of residents.”

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