By Robbie Couch
When he was convicted of three drug charges in Washington state and sentenced to prison, he owed $1,800 in court fees — $600 for each charge. Shaw told HuffPost Live on Wednesday that the judge had stated those charges could be paid after he became a free man once again.
Upon his release from prison 14 years later, however, that number had skyrocketed to $21,000 — about a 1,066 percent increase. Shaw had been told during his 10th year behind bars that while he was serving the rules had changed — those charges had been collecting interest at Washington’s staggering rate of 12 percent.
“When I go to apply for a job, when I go to try to get a vehicle, or when I try to do anything where I need to run credit, they see I owe $21,000, and that makes it hard,” Shaw said, also noting he frequently has to choose between basic everyday purchases, like food and gas, or paying off his legal financial obligations (LFOs).
By Stephen A. Crockett, Jr.
Rene Lima-Marin robbed two video stores 15 years ago, when he was just 19. He walked into the stores with an unloaded rifle and demanded money. He admitted to the crime and was sentenced to what he and his lawyer believed was a 16-year-sentence. After 10 years of serving time, Lima-Marin was set free. He got married, fathered two children and purchased a home. He swore he would never do anything to jeopardize the new life he had created.
Then, earlier this year, the life he had built came crumbling down when a judge, citing a clerical error, sent him back to prison to finish a 98-year sentence.