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Summary Judgment Denied in Challenge to Booking Fee Program

By Brandon Sample

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan denied a summary judgment motion filed by the City of Fife, Washington in a challenge it its booking fee program.

Rafael Gonzalez was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. At the time of his arrest Gonzalez had $47 in his wallet. When Gonzalez was released the next day, jail officials had taken his $47 and applied it toward a $100 booking fee assessed for his arrest. Since jail officials took all the money Gonzalez had, Gonzalez was forced to beg for money to cover his bus fare to get home. The charges against Gonzalez were later dismissed.

Gonzalez sued the city of Fife, alleging that its administration of the booking fee program violated his right to procedural due process. The city moved for summary judgment. The court denied the motion. According to the court, genuine issues of material fact remained in dispute regarding whether the city afforded sufficient procedural safeguards to protest against the “erroneous deprivation” of funds from persons subject to the booking fee program. See: Gonzalez v. City of Fife, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 46956 (W.D. Wa. 2008).

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Related legal case

Gonzalez v. City of Fife