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  1. #1
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    Jan 2020
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    Default Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Tennessee and US constitution.
    I was arrested for 5 misdemeanor traffic infractions. Suspended license, tags, insurance etc.. The maximum allow limit is $1,000 per misdemeanor, bringing total to $5,000 max. 3 of the charges only carry a $50 fine. My bail was set at $50,000, which is 10x the legal limit. TN code also says that people charged on misdemeanors are to be released instead of arrested. I spent 7 days in jail until finally released on pretrial probation. I signed under duress. My question is: Should I sue the court, city, or should I sue them as individuals in federal court?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2006
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    16,391

    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    Quote Quoting Edward333
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    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Tennessee and US constitution.
    I was arrested for 5 misdemeanor traffic infractions. Suspended license, tags, insurance etc.. The maximum allow limit is $1,000 per misdemeanor, bringing total to $5,000 max. 3 of the charges only carry a $50 fine. My bail was set at $50,000, which is 10x the legal limit. TN code also says that people charged on misdemeanors are to be released instead of arrested. I spent 7 days in jail until finally released on pretrial probation. I signed under duress. My question is: Should I sue the court, city, or should I sue them as individuals in federal court?
    You only named three infractions. What were the other two?

  3. #3
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    Jan 2020
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    106

    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    Improper tag and resisting arrest. My appointed lawyer watched the video and agreed that they was no resistance.

    It doesn't really matter what the charges are if all are misdemeanors and they exceeded the legal allowed amount for bail. The question still stands.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2013
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    18,172

    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    Quote Quoting Edward333
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    TN code also says that people charged on misdemeanors are to be released instead of arrested.
    Cite the code, please.

    There could be an exception for multiple offenses. Prior convictions might also be an issue.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    8,149

    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    Quote Quoting Edward333
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    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Tennessee and US constitution.
    I was arrested for 5 misdemeanor traffic infractions. Suspended license, tags, insurance etc.. The maximum allow limit is $1,000 per misdemeanor, bringing total to $5,000 max. 3 of the charges only carry a $50 fine. My bail was set at $50,000, which is 10x the legal limit. TN code also says that people charged on misdemeanors are to be released instead of arrested. I spent 7 days in jail until finally released on pretrial probation. I signed under duress. My question is: Should I sue the court, city, or should I sue them as individuals in federal court?
    Judges are absolutely immune from suit for the decisions they make on the bench so you won't get anywhere suing the judge individually. If the court is part of the state court system (e.g. Tennessee criminal court) you'd sue the state. If the court is a city or county court (e.g. General Sessions, Juvenile and Municipal Courts) you likely would need to sue the city or county that provides for that court rather than the state. Consult a local civil litigation attorney who handles civil rights claims for help in getting it right.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    The only reference I see to a $1000 limit is if the bail is set by a clerk. Since you reference suing a judge, it would appear a clerk didn't set your bail so the limit doesn't apply.
    I am the Mouse Man

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    106

    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    TN Code § 55-10-207 (2019)

    (a) As used in this section, “traffic citation” means a written citation or an electronic citation prepared by a law enforcement officer on paper or on an electronic data device with the intent the citation shall be filed, electronically or otherwise, with a court having jurisdiction over the alleged offense.

    (b)

    (1) Whenever a person is arrested for a violation of any provision of chapter 8, 9, 10 or 50 of this title or § 55-12-139, or chapter 52, part 2 of this title, punishable as a misdemeanor, and the person is not required to be taken before a magistrate or judge as provided in § 55-10-203, the arresting officer shall issue a traffic citation to the person in lieu of arrest, continued custody and the taking of the arrested person before a magistrate, except as provided in subsection (h).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    Ok. What does that have to do with any of the responses you have received?
    I am the Mouse Man

  9. #9
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    Jan 2020
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    106

    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    TN Code § 40-11-105 (2019)

    (a)

    (1) When the defendant has been arrested or held to answer for any bailable offense, the defendant is entitled to be admitted to bail by the committing magistrate, by any judge of the circuit or criminal court, or by the clerk of any circuit or criminal court; provided, that if admitted to bail by the clerk of any circuit or criminal court, the defendant has a right to petition the judge of the circuit or criminal court if the defendant feels that the bail set is excessive, and shall be given notice of this fact by the clerk.

    (2) The clerk of any circuit or criminal court may only admit the defendant to bail when the judge is not present in the court and the clerk reasonably believes that the judge will not be present within three (3) hours after the defendant has been committed to the county or city jail, following arrest.

    (b) Except as provided in subsection (c), in no event may a clerk set the amount of bail in excess of:

    (1) One thousand dollars ($1,000) if the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor;

    I believe it also applies to the judge. Excessive is excessive, especially for minor traffic offences. $10,000 per for expired tags, and no insurance when they only carry a $50 fine each.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Excessive Bail-Lawsuit

    Quote Quoting Edward333
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    I believe it also applies to the judge. Excessive is excessive, especially for minor traffic offences. $10,000 per for expired tags, and no insurance when they only carry a $50 fine each.
    You would believe wrong. It specifically says the clerk when the judge isn't available. I'm guessing there is something else going on that made the judge set your bail so high but there's no way for us to know that.
    I am the Mouse Man

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