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Every Sheriff in Oklahoma Faces Lawsuit - KOAM TV 7

Every Sheriff in Oklahoma Faces Lawsuit

Updated:

The plaintiff's attorney's call what happened to their client a "violation of equal protection." Their client is currently in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Court documents say he was cleared to be released, but is still behind bars due to his warrant for failure to pay court costs.
They're filing a lawsuit against, the Oklahoma Sheriff's Association, all of the sheriff's in the state and a private collections company Aberdeen Enterprizes. Aberdeen Enterprize's director, Rob Shofner says, "Aberdeen is following the state statutes as passed by the Oklahoma legislature and also follows the guidelines set by the judges of each county"

One of the plaintiff's attorneys, Dan Smolen says, "The court is already aware that they're poor. Okay? and so, when they're released, their court costs and fines are transferred to Aberdeen. They're automatically given a 30 percent mark up on the existing court costs that they cant pay because of the fact that they're indigent."

The plaintiff's attorney says that being in and out of jail makes it hard to hold a job and pay their fines.
 
"It really starts a cycle where individuals who are already poor can't ever break free from that cycle. And they're being routinely incarcerated because of it."

Plaintiff's are still being added to the case as more Oklahomans step forward.

 The plaintiffs seek compensation for damages they suffered due to the allegedly "unconstitutional and unlawful conduct" of the defendants.

We reached out to the sheriff's departments in our viewing areas, but we received no response.

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