Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR)

LCCR works to advance, protect and promote the legal rights of communities of color, and low-income persons, immigrants, and refugees through programs in racial justice, immigrant justice, and community empowerment.
Link to organization

Primary geographic focus: California
Organization type(s): Provider
Acronym or short name: LCCR

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, founded in 1968, works to advance, protect and promote the legal rights of communities of color, and low-income persons, immigrants, and refugees. Assisted by hundreds of pro bono attorneys, LCCR provides free legal assistance and representation to individuals on civil legal matters through direct services, impact litigation and policy advocacy.

LCCR has programs in racial justice, immigrant justice, and community impact and economic justice, all of which involve direct services and impact work.

LCCR believes equal access to justice depends on access to quality legal services, neither race nor immigration status should affect a person’s success or failure, economic empowerment is key to the civil rights movement, injustice must be rooted out, and the true needs of the community must be central to any litigation or advocacy agenda.


News Story

How people of color are being targeted for traffic violations—and huge fines—in California

June 21, 2016
Too often, these traffic courts are being used to prop up troubled state and local budgets on the backs of poor minorities who get caught up in the system.

News Story

California judge who mocked blind man emblematic of failed traffic court system

Sam Levin
October 20, 2016
Judge Taylor Culver is accused of ‘willful misconduct’ by the state’s commission on judicial performance, providing a rare window into how police agencies and courts use traffic courts to target low-income people.

News Story

California pressed to stop collecting students’ citizenship data

Jill Tucker
San Francisco Chronicle
March 27, 2017
Civil rights groups asked California’s attorney general Monday to investigate dozens of school districts across the state that require parents to provide children’s sensitive information such as when they entered the country.

News Story

Report: Minorities Feel Sting of Costly CA Traffic Fines and Fees

Crime Report
May 4, 2017
A new study released today by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area says Californians pay some of the highest fines and fees in the country for traffic infractions and that minorities are acutely affected.

News Story

How A Traffic Fine Can Lead To Jail Time In California

Leah Donnella
National Public Radio (NPR)
May 4, 2017
According to a new report from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, traffic fines in California have an outsize effect on low-income drivers and people of color.

News Story

California’s high traffic fines unfairly punish the poor -activists

Dan Whitcomb
Reuters News Service
May 5, 2017
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area said in a new report that the $490 fine for a red light ticket in California was three times the national average.

News Story

Pricey Traffic Tickets Might Be Costing California $140 Million in Revenue

Kelsey E. Thomas
May 5, 2017
California uses its steep fines as a revenue source.

News Story

Traffic Ticket-to-Prison Pipeline: New Report Reveals Racial Bias In California’s Traffic Court System

Tanasia Kenney
Atlanta Black Star
May 7, 2017
California’s traffic fines are some of the steepest in the country, and a new report shows that the state’s current policies for those unable to pay are disproportionately affecting Blacks and Latinos.

News Story

Unfair at Any Speed: How Traffic Stops Punish California’s Poor

Seth Sandronsky
Capital and Main (CA)
May 10, 2017
Low-income drivers in over-policed black and Latino communities are in harm’s way of such punitive traffic fees and fines — and are at risk of losing their licenses, vehicles and jobs.


California Today: Tackling Some ‘Ridiculously High’ Traffic Fines

Thomas Fuller
New York Times (NYT)
May 15, 2017
A bill in the State Legislature would make California the first state to assess traffic fines by income level: The poorer you are, the less you would pay.

News Story

California court to halt license suspensions of poor drivers

Associated Press (AP)
August 8, 2017
Solano County Superior Court will notify traffic defendants of their right to be heard regarding their ability to pay, the coalition said, and the notices will explain their right to ask for a lower fine, a payment plan, or community service.


California Has a System That Punishes the Poor Through Traffic Violations—Civil Rights Groups Are Starting to Change That

Adam Hudson
September 14, 2017
Solano County traffic violators will get a chance to challenge the unreasonably high fees that send them into debt.

News Story

Towing Reform: New Bill Seeks to Repeal ‘Poverty Tows’

Marisol Medina-Cadena
KQED Radio (NPR) (Northern California)
March 19, 2019
For many Californians, having a car towed is not only a costly inconvenience but can mean losing access to a job, education, medical care or even shelter, according to a new report by a coalition of civil rights attorneys.


Podrían eliminar remolque de autos en San Francisco

Telemundo (NBC 48) (San Francisco)
March 26, 2019
Telemundo takes a look at a recent report on the disparate racial impact of car towing in California. (Spanish)

News Story

Report: Minorities, Poor Residents More Likely to Have Their Driver’s License Suspended

Mike Maciag
April 14, 2016
A new study highlighting racial and socioeconomic disparities in license suspensions is the latest call for states to make reforms.

News Story

Mapping California’s Racial Bias in Sentencing Traffic Violations

Tanvi Misra
April 13, 2016
A new report and interactive map show that poor and minority offenders bear the brunt of fines and sentences for minor offenses in the state.

News Story

California Disproportionately Punishes Poor, Minority Drivers, Report Finds

Claudia Koerner
April 11, 2016
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which provides civil legal aid, wants only unsafe drivers to lose their licenses — not people who are unable to pay traffic tickets or court fees.

News Story

The steep cost of driving while black in California

Tanzina Vega
CNN Money
April 11, 2016
Driving while black in California can be expensive, especially if you are poor.

News Story

A disproportionate share of blacks and Latinos lose their driver’s licenses because of unpaid tickets, study finds

Maura Dolan
Los Angeles Times (LA Times)
April 11, 2016
The report, by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, examined U.S. Census Bureau data, records from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and information from 15 police and sheriff's departments in the state.

News Story

Black drivers in California arrested more often for unpaid tickets

Curtis Skinner
Reuters News Service
April 11, 2016
The findings come amid a national conversation around racial discrimination in policing sparked in the summer of 2014 over high-profile police killings of unarmed black men.

News Story

Traffic Courts Are Driving Inequality in California

Rebecca McCray
April 11, 2016
A disproportionate share of fees, fines, and license suspensions fall on blacks and Latinos.

News Story

State chief justice says unpaid traffic fines should get day in court

Maura Dolan, Lee Romney
Los Angeles Times (LA Times)
May 21, 2015
Many California counties require paying traffic fines in full before a court hearing. California's chief justice calls for an emergency rule to prevent courts from requiring drivers to pay traffic tickets before they can go to court to contest them.

News Story

With Driver’s License Suspensions, a Cycle of Debt

Shaila Dewan
New York Times (NYT)
April 14, 2015
States have begun suspending drivers’ licenses for unsatisfied debts stemming from any criminal case, from misdemeanors like marijuana possession to felonies in which court costs can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.

News Story

Disparity Is Seen in California Driver’s License Suspensions

Timothy Williams
New York Times (NYT)
April 8, 2015
Drivers in California who are unable to pay traffic fines are frequently having their licenses suspended - a policy that has had a disproportionate impact on poor and working-class people, according to a study released Wednesday.

News Story

How a minor ticket can cost you your driver’s license

Aimee Picchi
CBS Moneywatch
April 8, 2015
A catch-22, suspended driver's licenses, is tripping up millions of Americans who happen to be too poor to pay increasingly expensive traffic fines and other minor tickets.

News Story

How Driving While Poor Became A Crime In California

Carimah Townes
April 8, 2015
A new report shines a light on how driver's license suspensions hurt the poor.

Audio , Interview , News Story

Traffic Fines Disproportionately Hurt California’s Poor

Micheal Krasny
KQED Radio (NPR) (Northern California)
April 8, 2015
Forum on NPR discuss a new report by legal aid and civil rights groups, which found traffic courts and fees disproportionately impact the state's most vulnerable populations. (Length: 51:43)

News Story

Driver’s license suspensions push poor deeper into poverty, report says

Lee Romney
Los Angeles Times (LA Times)
April 8, 2015
Unpaid traffic court penalties are leading to driver's license suspensions for many of California's poor trapping then in a cycle of debt.

This page last modified: Tue, May 3, 2016 -- 3:00 pm ET