photography by Jonas Wang
Challenging Tennessee's Suspension of Driver's Licenses for Unpaid Traffic Tickets
Civil Rights Corps' latest case, Robinson, et al. v. Purkey, et al., challenges Tennessee’s suspension of more than a quarter of a million driver’s licenses of people because they were too poor to pay traffic tickets. These suspensions occur without basic constitutional protections and have prevented countless indigent Tennesseans from accessing jobs, health care, child care, and other fundamental aspects of daily life. The suspensions also raise profound racial justice concerns – African-American drivers are four times more likely to lose their licenses for nonpayment of traffic tickets than white drivers.
Now, we have asked the court to order the Defendants to reinstate their driver’s licenses immediately – and to halt the policies and practices that deprive thousands of poor Tennesseans of their driver’s licenses solely because of their poverty. We bring this case alongside the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), Just City, and the law firm Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz.