Cleared Man Battles Bill for 14-Month Jail Stay

Kentucky Supreme Court to decide on $4K tab
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2021 7:05 PM CDT
Cleared Man Battles Bill for 14-Month Jail Stay
Observers watch monitors outside the Kentucky Supreme Court chambers in Frankfort in 2018.   (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

A Kentucky factory worker had spent 14 months in jail when he was able to make bail, a few months before the case against him was dropped. As often happens when someone checks out of accommodations, he was presented a bill by Clark County Detention Center: $4,008. That started a legal battle that has reached the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Messenger-Inquirer reports. "The government can’t punish people unless and until they are found guilty of the crimes they are alleged to have committed," lawyers for David Allen Jones wrote in their briefs for the court. "Yet Kentucky counties have for years routinely kept the money they confiscate from persons on admission to their jails."

The jail also put $256 that was confiscated when Jones was arrested toward the bill. The jail said it's all permitted by state law, per WKYT, to offset the cost of housing and feeding inmates. The bill includes a $35 booking fee, $10 for each day of his confinement, $5 for hygiene supplies when he arrived, and $2.69 for replacing the hygiene supplies. So far, not many rulings have gone Jones' way. "The Constitution does not guarantee that only the guilty will be arrested," a US District judge wrote in a ruling on another lawsuit he filed two years ago. There's nothing in the constitution or statues that says a person determined to be innocent is entitled to a refund, the country's lawyers have argued. It's not clear when the state Supreme Court will rule. (More Kentucky stories.)

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