Innocent man billed $4,000 for jail stay

David Jones was arrested in October 13 2013 and held in jail for 14 months before the charges against him were dismissed. He was promptly billed $4,000 for his incarceration, and the state of Kentucky argues his innocence is no defense.

His attorney, Gregory Belzley, argued this violates his constitutional rights saying Jones was not guilty of a crime.

"You recognize the distinction in this case raised by the fundamental principle of the presumption of innocence. Defendants argue to you that this is punitive. This is punitive because he's innocent," Belzley said.

The attorney for Clark County, Jeffrey Mando, said the jail doesn't decide who is booked or who is guilty, but it needs money to continue housing inmates.

One weird trick to punish and profit from people you know you can't convict: keep them in jail as long as possible, racking up the bill. Who knows: it may even convince them to make a plea deal!

This practice rhymes with civil forfeiture, whereby police confiscate property and money without charging anyone with a crime. This creates an incentive to profit from unsupportable allegations of criminal activity, knowing that recovering the assets in court would be so expensive for the victim that it's cheaper to let the cops take it. In this respect, police take more money and property from Americans than burglars do.