ACLU-NH Lawyers, Judges Mull Changes To Stop Jailing People Who Can’t Pay Court Fines

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Gilles Bissonnette, ACLU-NH legal director

ACLU-NH lawyers who released “Debtors’ Prisons in New Hampshire” Wednesday met today with top circuit court judges to focus on how to make sure no one goes to jail for being too poor to pay their court fines.

Edwin W. Kelly, administrative judge of the Circuit Courts, disagrees with the ACLU-NH’s conclusion that judges routinely jail people who can’t afford to pay their court fines. Kelly said he doesn’t think the issue is a “systemic problem.”

But Kelly said it is important to work with the ACLU-NH to do “everything to protect the rights of people. I believe in any bureaucracy there is room for improvement.”

Kelly met with Gilles Bissonnette, ACLU-NH’s legal director, and Albert W. Scherr, chairman of ACLU-NH’s board of directors and law professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

They specifically addressed possible changes to court protocols and a change to a court rule that would “make it clear that no defendant can be ordered to jail for nonpayment without counsel or written waiver of counsel,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he is working with Bissonnette and Scherr to develop training for the 60 circuit court judges in early 2016.

Bissonnette said in an email: “(Albert W.) Buzz Scherr and I did meet with Judges Kelly and (David) King today. It was a very productive discussion.

“We look forward to continuing this collaboration to work towards a resolution to this issue,” Bissonnette said.

The ACLU-NH report was the result of a yearlong investigation. It estimated 148 people were jailed without a proper hearing in 2013 for failing to pay court fines.

The practice cost taxpayers an estimated $166,870 for about $75,850 in unpaid fines that were ultimately never collected, the report said.

In a news release Wednesday, Bissonnette said: “These practices are legally prohibited, morally questionable, and financially unsound. Nevertheless, they appear to be alive and well in New Hampshire.”

One thought on “ACLU-NH Lawyers, Judges Mull Changes To Stop Jailing People Who Can’t Pay Court Fines

  1. Kelly is now the subject for an investigation for impeachment, for his systemic abuses. They do routinely jail people who are unlawfully attorned into corporate DEAD entities, all while perpetrating routine Social Security fraud via extortion and coercion and enticement to slavery/press-ganging. They’re voracious appetite for TITLE IV-D funding abuses is how the NH B.A.R.Association, a unified Crown Temple B.A.R.-Inns of the Court-City of London agency, is siphoning the people’s Social Security money into their own pockets.

    Kelly and his Administrative, non-judicial courts, and their Attorners are the most violent, and threatening continuing criminal enterprise threatening the people, which is why the Redress of Grievances process was re-awakened.

    Kelly is a felon, and he is the most abusive member of his foreign agency. The B.A.R. is under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and they’re tricking people into giving them consent to their land piracy. Everything they do is fraud. They’re outed. Their time has come to an end. It’s now time to foreclose upon the B.A.R.

    They’re not judges, and those are not courts. They’re impersonating “government” officials. They’re all agents under the I.M.F. If you’ve been wronged by them, please contact me at so I can show you how to engage these terrorists in Admiralty, without UNITED STATES. David

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