Thaddeus first contacted the Lawyers’ Committee Second Chance Legal Clinic in early March 2015 to resolve problems that led to his driver’s license suspension. He owed $10,844.50 on tickets and civil assessments (a fine for missing a traffic court date). Thaddeus also had a ticket for failing to have proper fare on public transportation. Although he had appeared at the traffic court window at the San Francisco Superior Court to inquire about his obligations, he was given no direction. An attorney from the Lawyers’ Committee Second Chance Legal Clinic then accompanied Thaddeus to the court, and helped him to schedule a court hearing date on his outstanding ticket. At the court hearing, the Lawyers’ Committee attorney appeared on his behalf, and the judge dismissed his ticket and fines related to lack of bus fare.
Following that success, the Lawyers’ Committee Second Chance Legal Clinic assisted Thaddeus with the San Francisco Petition for Release from License Hold, a work-around pilot program that addresses the problem at the back end for a narrow segment of the affected population. Thaddeus is employed as an in-home care worker for a gentleman and his 90-year-old mother, and needs a driver’s license to be able to grocery shop and take the clients to and from appointments. It took persistence and determination for Thaddeus to receive the payment plan agreement needed as part of the petition. Thaddeus filed proof of his agreement to pay his full debt, along with a letter from his employer with the court. His license was reinstated on April 7, 2015.
To read more about the problem of license suspension in California, and how we can fix this problem, read our report, “Not Just a Ferguson Problem – How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California.”