ACLU-NH: Indigent Mother Jailed ‘Illegally’ For Failing to Pay Court Fine

What happens when a 22-year-old single mother of two toddlers who can’t afford to pay a court fine fails to complete 62 hours of community service instead? For Alejandra Corro, it meant being sentenced to serve nine days in Valley Street Jail in Manchester by Judge Thomas E. Bamberger in the 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division, on March 4, 2014. That was after Public Defender Ryan Guptil told Bamberger that Corro had completed only 20 hours of the 62 hours of community service because of a significant fire in her home that forced her to move six weeks earlier.  (Click on story to hear court hearing audio.)

“How did that stop her from doing the community service?” Bamberger asked, according to a court transcript of the hearing. Corro wasn’t alone, according to an ACLU-NH’s report released Wednesday (Sept.