Lufkin man protests municipal court fines

Lufkin man protests municipal court fines

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin man believes the Lufkin Municipal Court is not being fair in the way they are making him pay his fines.

Daniel Gipson said he has tried to pay off multiple traffic violations through various ways but has not been allowed to do them.

"I'm on a payment plan, but by the time I end up paying it off, it will be three years," Gipson said.

According to a public records request sent to the municipal court, Gipson has five violations pending that equal out to $2,162.

Gipson said he also asked to "layout" or spend time in jail to take care of the fines but was told no.

"I asked if I could lay them out, and [Judge April Early] said, 'No I want your money," Gipson said.

Judge Early was out of town Monday, but she told KTRE over the phone that she never told Gipson that and that she has offered multiple plans of payment to him.

Earley said Gipson has even been offered community service as well. It is a statement that Gipson disagrees with.

Earley said the jail method is not always an option.

"Jail is not always an option," Earley said. " We are not here to send people to jail because you cannot pay. The jail also will sometimes not let us put people there to pay the fine because of capacity issues they are having."

Gipson said he has gained support in the community. Monday morning, Gipson stood outside the courthouse protesting with a clipboard that had the signatures of almost 500 people. The petition claims Gipson is asking for the court to make the procedures less burdensome on the citizens and more cost effective for the tax payer.

Cradie Wortham was with Gipson in protest.

"I'm in the same position he is in," Wortham said. "They wont let me lay them out. I'm on disability and dialysis so I don't have the money to pay them off."

Gipson said this is not a racial issue but an economic issue.

"The people in there; I don't think they have a problem paying their light bill, paying their rent or putting food on the table, but there is a lot of us that do," Gipson said.

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