Aug 122012
 

 

How many times does the city of Naperville have to get hauled into court by Naperville residents and told by the court to ‘shape up and get their act together’. This time it happened in a U.S. District Court in Chicago with regard to settling a federal class-action lawsuit over the jail intake booking fees assessed of people arrested and charged with crimes.

It all started to go wrong in June of 2009 when the Naperville city council enacted an ordinance mandating payment of a $50 administrative fee for ‘the processing of bail or bond of an individual in any legal process, civil or criminal, or on any bookable arrest”. The Naperville city council celebrated and dollars started rolling into the city coffers to the tune of $27,000 for 3 months in 2009, and another $72,000 during 2010. It was another ‘cash cow’ for the city until one Naperville resident was booked, paid his $50 to Naperville, went to court, was found not guilty, asked for a refund of the $50 and was told there was no reimbursement policy. Hence, the birth of another federal class-action lawsuit against the city of Naperville, and again a U.S. District Court had to ‘grab Naperville city officials by the ear and take them behind the tool shed’ and set them straight.

The Naperville city council had no procedural safeguards in place to guarantee that a citizen’s property would be returned if he or she was not charged, not prosecuted, or was acquitted. No one on the city council gave this any thought, and apparently nor did the city attorney or the city manager. It’s as if they all jumped into one electric-powered vehicle, and floored the accelerator to 15mph before realizing there are no brakes and no seat belts.

If a lawyer is looking for job security, he or she might want to apply to the City of Naperville because the Naperville city council is still out of control by passing ordinances without thinking of consequences. The legal department is apparently not properly advising the council, and when you think about it, why should they. The more often the city of Naperville is a defendant in court, the more job security the legal department has.

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