Group says metro Atlanta is guilty of giving traffic tickets to pad bank accounts

FILE PHOTO: A 3-year-old boy died Saturday after being left in a hot car in Texas, police said.  

ATLANTA — A new study claims three metro area cities are handing out more traffic tickets to pad their bank accounts.

A recent study shows the town of Clarkston collected as much as one-fourth of its annual revenue from tickets and citations from 2012 to 2016.

The public interest law firm called Institute for Justice calls this a violation.

The other two cities listed are in Clayton County: Morrow collected 17 percent and Riverdale collected 14 percent of their revenue from what the report calls "minor traffic infractions or aesthetic code violations."

"It's unconstitutional because that incentive drives municipal court personnel and law enforcement," said a spokesperson for Institute for Justice.

IJ attorneys said they filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Doraville over multiple citations issued to a homeowner for her cracked driveway.

That case is still working its way through the courts.


In statement to our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Morrow city manager said they don't think of enforcement as a source of revenue, and the chief of police said it's only a means to correct dangerous behavior.

In Clarkston, the city manager said revenue from tickets and fines has dropped each of the last four years, from 20 percent in 2016 to around 8 1/2 percent projected this year.
In a statement they said they're working to issue fewer citations.

"We have been focusing on more verbal and written warnings and working with folks to correct behavior and abate problems," officials with the city of Clarkston said in a statement.