On July 14, 2014, the ACLU-NH secured the release of an indigent man named Richard Vaughan.
Mr. Vaughn was jailed on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 in Littleton Circuit Court for failing to pay a $895 fine — a fine he simply had no ability to pay because he is poor. Under the Circuit Court’s order, he was scheduled to be jailed one day for each $50 of the fine, meaning that he would be jailed for 18 days (until July 26). When he was jailed, he was not represented by counsel.
As explained in the ACLU-NH’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Mr. Vaughan is not on government assistance, has no money, and is simply struggling to get by. He has been out of work since May and has been looking for work ever since. He has worked his whole life, is a hard worker, and has made substantial progress in his job search (including securing an interview the day before he was jailed). As we argued, this progress would only be impeded by compelling him to spend over two weeks in jail. Moreover, jailing him would waste county resources, as Mr. Vaughan is clearly not a threat to society.
On July 14, 2014, the Grafton County Superior Court released Mr. Vaughan for the reasons stated in the Petition.