ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Associate Municipal Court Judge says he's proud of how Albany handles fines, and says the system should never be used as a way to generate revenue.
Recently a Department of Justice report found police and judges in Ferguson were using unfair practices, targeting folks as a source of revenue, rather than focusing on public safety.
Municipal Court Judge Ralph Scoccimaro says Albany has never done that.
"The city has never has never intimated, either expressly or implicitly that we are to generate certain fines or certain bottom lines or anything of that sort,"says Associate Municipal Court Judge Ralph Scoccimaro.
Scoccimaro says he's proud to work in Albany and that police here are fair.
"So we can be harsh, but we can be very very compassionate," says Scoccimaro.
He says he works to be fair, while still enforcing the law, often by reducing fines.
"We are not going to destroy anyone financially, We always consider a person's financial background while we considered state mandated fines that must be imposed, that's certainly something I must do, like a DUI, or certain other offenses, but in other cases where there is discretion," he says.
And when it comes to young people, municipal judges often give second chances to help them grow into productive citizens.
"We make certain that first offense is not going to mark that individual for the rest of his life. That's important to us. And also not to give them a bitter taste in their mouth about public officials especially the court," says Scoccimaro.
Judge Scoccimaro says he's given fines as low as ten dollars, and as high as 1500