Constitutional Law

Sutherland Partner Sues D.C. Over Arrest and $35 'Post & Forfeit' Fee, Seeks $1.2M and Class Status

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A partner of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan has filed a federal lawsuit against the District of Columbia and two police officers.

White collar criminal defense partner Hamilton “Phil” Fox III contends he was not accorded his constitutional right of defending himself in court after being arrested for disorderly conduct over a parking dispute and was instead required to pay a $35 “post and forfeit” fee to resolve the matter, reports the Blog of Legal Times.

He says he was “standing,” in a running car, waiting for his wife to emerge from a pharmacy, rather than “parking” when he was politely told by the officer to “move on” and that there was no probable cause to arrest him for “loud and boisterous” disorderly conduct.

Taken to a police station, he was presented with the sole option of paying a $35 “post and forfeit” fee, which he did, fearing that he would otherwise be jailed, Fox says in his District of Columbia complaint (PDF).

Fox seeks $1.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages in the suit, as well as oversight of the District’s “post and release” program and a court order requiring the police to offer arrestees the option of a citation that will allow them to defend themselves in court.

He is represented by solo practitioner William Claiborne, who says Fox’s arrest record has been expunged.

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