'Mayor's court' Taken To Federal Court In Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A civil rights group has filed a federal lawsuit over fees and fines collected by a Louisiana city court.

The MacArthur Justice Center's lawsuit says the mayor's court in the suburban New Orleans city of Gretna generated more than 13 percent of Gretna's general fund revenue for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The center says the revenue is an incentive for arrests and prosecutions of minor crimes. It claims arrests for non-violent misdemeanors increased by 60 percent in Gretna from 2000 to 2014.

The lawsuit claims that's a conflict of interest. And it alleges the court's policies unconstitutionally victimize those least able to pay.

In an email, Gretna's attorney said the city "categorically denied" any allegations of conflicts of interest or constitutional violations.

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