The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office and the 15th Judicial District Court are facing a federal class-action lawsuit over the treatment of poor people who cannot afford to post bond.

The plaintiff is listed as Edward Little, who according to civil rights attorney Charlie Gerstein, is in prison because he cannot afford  to post a few hundred dollars for bond.

The defendants in the suit include Thomas Frederick, Commissioner of Louisiana’s 15th Judicial District; Chief Judge Kristian Earles of the 15th JDC; and Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber.

“These men and women certainly don’t have the ability to earn money and provide for their families while in jail, and those lucky enough to have jobs before arrest often lose them because they can’t show up for work,” said Eric Foley, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center.  “It’s unfair, unwise and unconstitutional.”

The 16-pages of the court documents include he following statement from the attorneys who filed the complaint:

Because Mr. Little is impoverished, Defendant Sheriff Mark Garber continues to confine him in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center. If he could pay the amount of money required by Commissioner Frederick, Sheriff Garber would release him immediately. He cannot produce that money, and so he will remain in jail.

Sheriff Garber issued the following response Tuesday afternoon regarding the lawsuit:

 On Tuesday June 6th, 2017, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office was advised that a law suit has been filed against it by an offender named Edward Little. The details of this complaint are being forwarded to our attorneys for review, therefore, no additional details can be provided at this time.

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